San Diego Comic Con 2015 was just a couple weeks back so I should be writing up that haulage but I got so much stuff I really need some more time to sift through it all which makes this is the perfect opportunity to go back and finish up my haulage from SDCC 2014. This batch is one of those classic Rustin situations, wherein I couldn’t get to a big box of Haul last year so I put it on the “when I get the time” list and now… well, here we are a year out.
CS Studio – Grimm Fairy Tales: Alice in Wonderland
Clay Moore was such a big part of the toy collecting in the late ’90s early 2000s and I’m just so jazzed to see him get back in to it. While I’m generally really annoyed by the “sexy chick” take on anything there is a very specific, very unique style to Clay’s style that has always drawn me in, and Alice here definitely has it! She comes from the same Zenescope comic as the exclusive Minimates and even comes packaged with a copy of her comic’s first issue! Much like Moore’s iconic Witchblade figures Alice is a single, solid sculpt with swivel joints at the shoulders and V-crotch swivel cut into it. It’s an antiquated approach by today’s standards, sure, but (1) the sculpt is so sleek it works here and (b) I like it out of nostalgia for that era of toys. Also, like the old figures, this one is fully painted! She has rich coloring, including metallic blue for her dress, and looks great. When this figure was first released the previous year there was a con exclusive variant in red, rather than blue, which was tempting but at twice the price as this one I couldn’t decide between iconic blue and limited red, but I’m very happy to have gotten the blue this year! She also comes with a croquet mallet, a “drink me” bottle, a little white rabbit and a toadstool base – with very sculptor-ly grass harkening back to Moore’s amazing Buffy bases! I really like this figure. It hits all of my C.S. Moore nostalgia buttons and I really hope he’s able to keep releasing figures!
DST – The Munsters: Hotrod Grandpa
I was kind of surprised that the first series of Munsters figures did well enough to warrant a second series, but after seeing the incredible staircase build-a-base I knew I was all in! Hotrod Grandpa is surprisingly neat and unique with his big, white, olde-timey overcoat! He’s got an all-new head with a floppy driving cap sculpted on. He comes with an alternate left hand holding a cigar, much like the first figure, and a removable pair of goggles which fit a little loosely over the cap and eyes. There is a small section of street as a base, though bizarrely it has no foot-peg so it’s just for show. Herman and Lily also come with the same base and, almost as annoying as the lack of foot-peg, despite having jagged edges they do not interconnect in any way… plus all three of these bases were warped in the package. Grandpa also comes packed with the two side walls for the staircase.
DST – The Munsters: Hotrod Herman
Herman appears to be the same as the first release but with a new soft PVC belt and coat piece (complete with the wobbly hips making posing a bit annoying). It would have been neat if they’d sculpted up a new head with one of Ed Gwynne’s other iconic expressions, but it’s not a deal breaker. Herman comes with the street base, a removable cap and removable goggles. The goggles are cast in clear which is neat, but the black paint on them is a little sloppy. They’re a little tough to get on over the wider top of his head and, oddly, seem to only fit with band going under the ears. He also comes packed with Spot’s head, fire spouts, stand, the interior base of the stairs and the flip-up portion of stairs.
DST – The Munsters: Raceway Lily
Lily is definitely the toughest sell of this series since there is seemingly nothing different to her. In reality she gets a new mid-torso and chest with a different neckline. She also comes with a neat parasol, complete with tassels attached via loose balljoints so they kinda hang naturally (though their wells are a bit too thick and deep for there to be a very effective range of motion) but very annoyingly her grip is too wide and the handle too narrow for her to effectively hold the thing. She’s neat, and I really, really appreciate the effort in making her new and different, but sadly she just doesn’t seem different enough, but she does come with the railings for the build-a-staircase so you gotta get her anyway.
DST – The Munsters: Uncle Gilbert
To be honest I’d never even heard of this character until folks started suggesting him for Series 2 but any chance to get a Creature from the Black Lagoon makes me happy! I also figured he was a good way to save some tooling costs by sharing parts with the Revenge of the Creature from the Black Lagoon figure, and while it seems to have the same hands and feet the head appears to be unique. The flat, dark green coloring also seems kind of weird and “cheap” but it does remind me of a lot of the Creature merchandise from that era, so that is kind of neat and probably fairly accurate to the costume. He comes with a piece of the same floorboard base as Series One and a removable hat, plus the top and bottom parts of the stairs (which is a little annoying since he was a Previews exclusive and you can’t complete the stairs without him).
DST – The Munsters: Build-a-Figure Stairs
This thing is just so damn awesome!!! I didn’t think anyone could really top a build-a-base after DST’s SG-1 Stargate, but then they did this!!! The thing assembles pretty well, though I did have a lot of trouble getting the top piece in place (it’s supposed to sink down and after about 15 minutes of pressing with different pressures I finally just fist-hammered it out of frustration and that got it). I really expected Spot to be on some kind of hinge joint so he could lean back when you close the stairs, but he’s just on a solid, triangular peg so to close the stairs you have to remove the fire and close his jaw (the peg/stand connects to the bottom jaw so the upper jaw/head is hinged [and is heavy, solid plastic]). It’s a bummer that Spot can’t stay upright without the base, since that’s a key structural component of the stairs, as I’d love to close the lid and display the Munsters on it and him to the side, so maybe I’ll have to make a separate stand. The sculpt of staircase is amazing and full of excellent wood-graining due to Jean St.Jean actually making it out of balsa wood and then molding that. The steps are a little shallow for the figures’ feet but they can still stand on them, which would be the coolest way to display them! Now I really need to hunt down the Eddie/Marilyn two-pack! I really can rave enough about these stairs – I get how they might seem boring, but they turned out so awesome and are such a great, iconic, display piece for the The Munsters!
Eaglemoss – Batmobiles: Batman ’66
A couple of booths were closing these out so I just couldn’t keep away any longer. I’m drawn chiefly to the live action Batmobiles and this one seemed a must-have to go with the growing Adam West Batman collection I have going on. I love that the cars, screwed on to the plastic base, come with little diorama elements but those are pretty fragile as exemplified by the broken radar dish with this one. Otherwise, the sculpt and paint on the Batmobile is fantastic! Each batmobile comes with a removable plastic case that fits over the base and which holds a lenticular backdrop for the car, in this case the ’66 Batcave.
Eaglemoss – Batmobiles: Batman ’89
This is the Batmobile design ever so it’s definitely a must-have! Its lenticular backdrop shows the exploding Acme Chemical Plant from the film hence the diorama parts are two oil drums, and there is even a sticker on the base with some shading to indicate the light from the fire. Also exceptionally cool, this Batmobile comes with a Batman standing in front of it! Alas, mine snapped off of the base while trying to slide the case back on in a way that kept the backdrop in place. It’s that damn backdrop that is, to me, the biggest problem with the series – it’s not taped or glued to the case, there is nothing on the base to hold it in place without the case and it’s just on flimsy paper so it can’t even be propped up. Basically, if you want the backdrop you have to use the case, and if you take the case off it’s a big hassle to get it back on while keeping the backdrop in place. Still though, as a collectible, the car turned out excellently!
Eaglemoss – Batmobiles: Batman the Animated Series
I grew up on Batman: the Animated Series so I have a strong attachment to it’s Batmobile despite it being a little bland. I was surprised to see that the canopy appeared to be a separate piece so with a little knife-work I discovered it’s removable with a fully sculpted and painted interior – nice! It’s diorama piece is a solitary lamppost, which is kind of odd and disappointing. Each Batmobile also comes with a magazine, like all Eaglemoss releases, though it has fewer pages than with the other lines it does include a fold-out, four page blueprint for its related Batmobile in addition to relevant text and images of the car. It really is a cool line, and were I a big fan or regular reader of the comic I’d probably be all over it. As is, I think all I need now is the Batman Beyond car to feel fulfilled.
Eaglemoss – Batmobiles: The Dark Knight Returns
I had no idea they’d made this, so when I saw it at a booth I knew I had to get it and thus start collecting the line. I’m not a very big fan of The Dark Knight Returns, I didn’t read it until the early 2000s so it’s cultural impact long preceded my exposure to it, but I’ll be damned if the “Bat-Tank” isn’t terribly iconic! Plus, I don’t think there has ever been a collectible of it before! This is a deluxe or over-sized release and it both deserves to be and makes good use of the extra space and money – it’s a beast. One can’t help but want to pose the “head” a bit but alas everything is sculpted in place. It is really cool to see it in three dimensions though, indeed I never realized how bat-y the “head” is. This is definitely a centerpiece type of release and it makes me regret not having the DCD or Mattel TDKR figures to go with it.
Mezco – Mez-Itz: Batman, “The Dark Knight Rises”
I was getting Hal from this booth so I figured “what the heck – I’ll get Batman, too.” I do really like the aesthetic of Mez-Itz, and this is a very good translation of the Dark Knight version of the costume but it’s ultimately not that exciting, I’m not sure entirely why. Maybe it’s that it’s so dark or maybe I’m just really burned out on variations of Bale-man. This figure uses the same sculpt as the first Batman Mez-It. Now I kinda feel like I need a Bane to go with him… Sheesh – “Collecting,” am I right, guys?
Mezco – Mez-Its: Hal Jordan, “Green Lantern”
Last year I got the Mez-Itz Sinestro so I felt a sense of obligation to get Hal as well. He too uses the same base Mez-Itz body but becomes Hal through dynamic paint applications. Alas, the costume is so… poorly executed in the movie it doesn’t really translate to anything that compelling here. I suppose you could call it a… “Meh”z-It. Thankee, thankee, thankee – please don’t forget to tip your waitress.
NECA – Bioshock Infinite: Motorized Patriot (George Washington)
Since the Ben Franklin version had been released I got this one in order to justify getting that one. It’s the same figure entirely save but for the head. George also sports a blue jacket while Benjy wears maroon. I was looking forward to opening this guy so that I could avoid the gun-breaking issue I had with Ben, but… the exact same thing happened here! I know I’ve seen people displaying this guy holding his rail gun but this is just ridiculous! The hand is cast is hard plastic with a fully enclosed circle of fingers so there is no give on that end and the handle is attached by naught but a tiny peg to the gun so it’s a recipe for breakage. Ragingly bad show, NECA. Otherwise the figure is really neat and looks great. But he can’t go near his signature weapon without breaking it.
NECA – Gremlins 2: Spider-Gremlin
Oh my god. OH MY GOD. Oh my god. OH MY GOD. Oh my god. OH MY GOD. This figure is so great. So perfect. So wonderful! Had I opened him promptly he would have absolutely been my Toy of the Year for 2014!!! His coloring is a bit brighter/beige-er than I recall from the movie but it is so gorgeously intricate. The sculpt is impeccable and the articulation is far beyond what I expected! He has a balljoint at every knuckle (except those at the end with the claws) and even the abdomen. Then he gets a hinged jaw and balljoints at the shoulders, elbows and wrists! The biggest surprise is a hinge joint at the “waist” which allows him to sit straight up or lunge forward – it’s so cool and effective at pose variation I’m half tempted to get a second one! Goddam this figure is fan-flippin’-tastic!!! I cannot recommend it enough!!!
NECA – Pacific Rim: Battle-damaged Knifehead
I really, REALLY hated Pacific Rim and was pretty disappointed by the figures I had gotten but, goddamit, I really like cool figures and NECA makes cool, goddam figures. I really don’t like Knifehead’s design, either, but this complete resculpt is just so beautifully detailed it definitely got me to take notice. And… the paint. That’s what broke me and got me to buy in. I strongly dislike the yellow lining on these Kaiju but the wash over the skin to bring out the sculpt’s details is intoxicating, but the blood is what really got me. It’s two-tone! Bright, also neon sky-blue atop dark, almost purple, blue and it just looks utterly beautiful. The you combine that with the dull green of the skin and bright yellow of the “tattoos” and it just ends up looking beautiful! Articulation is also significantly improved with a bendy tail and balljoints at the ankles, knees, hips, shoulders (all four), big arm elbows, small arm wrists and even neck. Of course the bulk to the design inhibits several of those joints, especially the neck and elbows, but it still nets out to be a reasonably poseable figure. As a result of this guy I’ve gotten dragged back in to picking up a couple Jaegers so I might do the same for some more Kaiju should anything show up that is equal part cool-to-me and reasonably priced.
NECA – Robocop: ED-209
And there but for the grace of Spider-Gremlin’s Grail-hood goes this guy! At long, long, long last we finally have a proper toy of ED-209! And he’s alright! The arms are really well articulated, and the shoulder-pads have great hinges as well. The hips are nice swivels and the “knees” are on ratcheted slides allowing you to extend ED up the legs as far as you’d care – but that’s where it ends. I’m really surprised, and honestly disappointed, by the lack of ankle and toe articulation. Given NECA’s recent kick-ass-ness I would have expected balljointed hips, ankles and hinged toes for (a) total film accuracy and (2) ultimate poseability. It’s annoying to me that without, at least, ankle articulation we can’t even put ED in a cool walking pose let alone any of the iconic/fun staircase stuff. It’s not really a problem, he’s still a cool toy without them, it’s just a limiting factor on the toy and bummer compared to their other work (for instance Spider-Gremlin’s exceptional pose-ability). ED also has a sound feature wherein pushing a button repeats audio from the film. It’s novel, but unnecessary, especially if that pulled budget away from articulation or even some muzzle flashes for his guns. Still though, a much, much needed addition to the collection and a very welcome one at that!