Sunday, July 29, 2012

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City's Vector Action Figure Review

First Impressions:

(Nice package.)
Vector looks pretty good inside the clamshell packaging, especially with the bright red-orange colors in the background with an imposing trench-coat-wearing Tyrant walking towards the unsuspecting Vector.  The background is from the RE: ORC video game cover without the rest of Wolfpack (his teammates).  While the clamshell packaging looks slim compared to NECA's other releases, the plastic is actually tougher (and thicker) than the standard fare we've seen recently.  The weapon accessories are arranged in neat fashion so you know what you're getting.


(A face only a mother could love.)
It goes without saying that Vector is "game-accurate" in terms of sculpt.  I'm really impressed with the hexagonal patterns sculpted all over Vector's body.  However, there's something wrong with his hood.  While the hood looks great from both sides and back of Vector's head, something just looks "off" when viewed from the front.  It could be because the hood was sculpted too tightly around his head or maybe his head is a little big?

(Something like this.)
Whatever the case may be, it might've been better if Vector's hood was "open-ended" (is that the correct word?) like their previously released Ezio from AC: Brotherhood collection.

(Doesn't look Japanese to me.  How about you?)
Out of curiosity, I [forcibly] removed Vector's hood to see the sculpt underneath of Vector's head and received quite a revelation.  I was surprised to see Vector's ears sculpted on his head, which leads me to believe that Vector was wearing the hood to cover his bald head!  And yes, there's a sizeable hole in the back of his head (that's where the hood "inserts" itself with an extra helping of glue).

Tight and secure, just the way I like... nevermind.
Vector's sidearm holster is designed to keep his sidearm secure (which it does successfully), however, removing it can be quite the pain.

Barely holding on.
The same old problems have resurfaced in regards to the sculpt of the hands.  It's clear that Vector's right-hand is posed to grasp the rifle and yet it has trouble holding onto it securely.  It fits fine, but the rifle is too wobbly.

Looks like someone forgot how to handle a sidearm.
Interestingly, the sidearm fits his right-hand quite well, however, Vector's "trigger finger" is way out of range.  Vector's left-hand is sculpted to only hold his melee weapon, which looks like my barber's shaving knife (either that or my barber is more than he claims to be).  While the knife accessory fits somewhat perfectly, it eventually becomes wobbly in Vector's grasp.  However, once placed in Vector's grasp, the knife is nearly impossible to pull out. 

Never leave home without it.
I want to point out how cool the "radio" or "scanner" type of equipment is which can be found on Vector's back.  It's clearly sculpted as a separate piece, however, it's glued securely onto Vector's armored back.  It's also interesting to note that Vector's armor is a separate piece enclosing the entire upper body area.


Vector comes with a total of three accessories: (1x) rifle, (1x) side-arm/pistol, and blood-stained knife.  It seems the handle/grip-portion of the weapons have been sculpted slightly thicker than the usual standard fare.


"Talk to the knife."
NECA claims Vector has "over 20 points of articulation" but some of them aren't useful.  The insert-molded ball-hinged elbows are partially restricted by the elbow pads that have been glued on (which fell-off as I'm writing this review).  Even with the elbow pads off, Vector has trouble bending his elbow to a 90 degree angle.  While it's nice to have a swivel waist, I would've preferred an ab-crunch joint for our slippery friend, Vector.

"Nice ab-crunch joint..."
**Out of curiosity, I took out my trusty x-acto blade and removed Vector's armor to discover... the ab-crunch joint!  Now that I think about it, even with the ab-crunch joint, there was no way I could use it due to the sturdy (separate) armor Vector had on him.**

What really irks me about the articulation department is the ball -jointed hips.  I found it really hard to pose Vector in anything resembling an "action" stance due to the design of the ball-jointed hips.  If I wanted Vector to crouch, I'd have to peek under his "man-skirt" to see where the joint was facing in order to avoid tearing him apart into two pieces.  It would've been much easier (and better) to have hinged hips as seen in their previously [awesome] releases of Isaac Clarke from Dead Space and Chris Redfield from Resident Evil 5.

Turtle necks: For those cold winter nights.
Despite the ball-jointed neck articulation, Vector can't look downward due to his bulky "turtle neck" neck. Out of curiosity (again), I removed Vector's head and discovered that his "turtle neck" neck can swivel!


"You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?"
A figure that's in black and the occasional silver paint (not including the eyes-portion).  It's not perfect, but I'm over it.


(Gotta love those double-jointed knees!)
Although I was initially disappointed with this figure, I eventually got over it.  That said, this figure is better left in its clamshell packaging, so I can continue to imagine what this figure could've been.  Besides, the packaging itself is very attractive (not to mention quite sturdy).


Score: (3 out of 5)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mass Effect 3 (Series 2): Miranda Lawson Collector Action Figure

First Impressions:

Initially, I was still in "we finally got a Miranda figure" train-of-thought and felt a little weak in my knees when I had the packaging in my hands.  After the effects of euphoria wore off, I was pretty confused with the packaging itself.  I admit I've only played "Mass Effect 2" but I had no clue as to why the packaging was shaped in the form of Tali'Zorah [vas Normandy].  Also the clamshell packaging is way too big for a figure that small.  You'll notice "Normandy SR-2 Weapons Locker" which shows off Miranda's pistol accessory on one side of  the packaging and "Normandy SR-2 Armory" which will have a code for downloadable content for Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer on the other side.


At first glance, the figure does resemble Miranda.  However, after a minute or so, the resemblance starts to fade away.  The major problem here is that the size of her face/head has shrunk.  Because her face has been slimmed, the rest of her features have been squished.  Also her eyes don't line up (her right eye is higher than her left one).  The way her lips are sculpted makes it look like Miranda is tight-lipped about something.  However, everything else (the body) is nicely sculpted and looks to be "game-accurate."

I really love how well the sculpt of Miranda's chest came out (well-proportioned on a slim body).  The hexagonal patterns sculpted all over her came out okay, but I think they should've been slightly bigger.  Both the "pelvic" portion and upper thigh area of her uniform lack the "dotted" detailing.  

Although both of Miranda's hands are sculpted to hold the pistol accessory, only her right hand will grip the pistol "correctly."  Unfortunately, Miranda has quite the butterfingers and will drop the pistol in no time.

Interestingly, the belt wrapped around Miranda's waist is glued to her left-side, which easily came off and left an unsightly mess.

Strangely, Miranda can't stand straight up, due to the sculpt of her feet.  It seems the only way to stand her up (without the help of a figure stand/base) is to position her left foot a little forward and position the right foot a little back.  While the figure stand does a great job of ensuring Miranda stays on top of things, trying to fit Miranda's right foot onto the short peg on the basic figure stand is quite a chore.  You'll notice that her heel from the right foot can't rest on the base due to the design of the peg.


Miranda comes with a total of two accessories (not including the downloadable content for Mass Effect 3): (1x) pistol and (1x) basic figure stand.


This is where the figure completely falls flat.  Miranda has the following: ball-jointed neck, ball-hinged shoulders, swivel upper-biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, hinged hips, and hinged knees.  An ab-crunch joint or at least a swivel waist would've been a fine (and necessary) addition, but this wasn't to be for poor Miranda.

Due to the poorly executed sculpt of Miranda's otherwise gorgeous hair, it will be hard to move her head around.  However, once you're able to move her head around, you'll notice how loose her head's become. 

PLEASE NOTE: When moving joints, be extremely careful.  Actually don't even bother with the articulation since the joints become very loose after a very short period of time.  I've tested Miranda's joints for a few seconds and her right elbow joint became really loose and eventually fell off.

As for her hinged hips, their movement is (surprise!) restricted by two things: 1. the sculpt of her Cerberus uniform and 2. (believe it or not) her butt. The combination of Miranda's hinged hips and sculpt of her tight-fitting [untucked] top Cerberus's uniform, prevent her from sitting down in the proper ninety-degree angle.  I imagine the sculpt of Miranda's "buns of steel" was to cover the unsightly hinged hips articulation.


The paint application for Miranda's face matches her pale beauty with a nice touch of blush near her cheeks.  Strangely, her white Cerberus uniform is painted [dirty] grey.  In certain portions of her body, the black paint application starts bleeding into the grey portion of Miranda's uniform.  I do appreciate seeing the Cerberus symbol accurately placed right above her left breast, as well as the two symbols on both sides near her armpit areas.  Unfortunately, the grey paint is noticeably smeared onto Miranda's cleavage.

For reasons unknown, the details on Miranda's [left-side] belt are present (I'm referring to the white rectangles that partially wrap around her waist), while the same design is missing on the right-side of her belt.  The white outlining of the black-colored "choker" is missing as well.


I purchased this figure online via eBay for $23.00 not including shipping and handling.  Pretty expensive, I know, but what can I say?  I'm a sucker for female figures.  You may be able to find Miranda for cheaper at your favorite online retailer or nearby comic shop.


This is just one of many things where the wait isn't worthwhile.  If you're a huge Mass Effect fan, getting this will be a no-brainer.  However, just be sure to clear some space for this overly-sized package.  If you've already purchased this and currently regretting it, hey, at least you have some spare parts for your customs.


Score: (2 out of 5)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Custom Figure (In-Progress): Dead Space Military Rig

Just wanted to apologize for my lack of updating this site with any figure reviews.  I promise you that I have a few lined up but needs extra time.

In the meantime, check out my "work-in-progress" of the Military RIG from Dead Space (video game).

I so badly wanted this figure, and none of the toy companies had any plans for this, hence this!

Recipe (so far):

- Dead Space Isaac Clarke figure

Tools used (so far):

- Apoxie Sculpt (A+B) 2 oz
- Stanley "Hobby Knife" (aka Xacto Knife)

Let me know if anyone has tips on customizing figures, etc.  Thanks!

Current "work-in-progress"

Reference photo pulled from the Internet

Finally covered most of Isaac's head

"Right-side" profile of Isaac's head

"Left-side" profile of Isaac's head

"Back" of Isaac's head

Isaac's "right-side" shoulder pad

Isaac's "left-side" shoulder pad

Overall look of WIP so far...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

One Piece Logbox (Marineford): Boa Hancock Figure Review

Flavor Text:

Regarding the characters, there's actually none.  Whatever is written all over the packaging is in Japanese.


I admit I was deceived by the amazing photos of the actual figure.  Unfortunately, in hand, Boa Hancock looks nothing like Boa Hancock.  Although that's expected (to some degree), the facial sculpt could've been better.  For better reference, feel free to click here or just Google it.  Since Hancock is almost entirely in one piece (that was not an intended pun), only her outstretched right-arm needs be placed into the socket of her right shoulder.

While it's understandable to have part of Hancock's feet extended so that it can be placed into the base, it still looks very ugly and distracting.  Unfortunately, when I placed her into the base, she had a hard time staying in.  The best advice I can give you is to push the tips of her toes into the base.

On the other hand, Hancock's pet snake, Salome is the complete opposite in that its sculpt is pretty accurate.  Salome retains his/her goofy smile, and both the detailing and texture of its skull [helmet?] is right on the money.  I can definitely say that without Salome, the overall figure would fall apart.

Salome too has the protruding parts allowing it be placed onto the figure base.  Fortunately, they fit perfectly and don't cause any trouble pushing them in.  Just remember to place the Hancock figure in first, then insert Salome, otherwise you'll have one hell of a difficult time.


Hancock has no articulation whatsoever (the same thing applies to her pet Salome).  All of her parts have been molded and cast into pre-posed pieces.  Hancock's pose is pulled from the "Marineford" arc/chapter where Luffy is trying to rescue his brother Ace from his execution.  For those who don't follow the manga/anime, Hancock's pose is what the manga characters refer to as her "looking down pose" (Hancock looks down upon someone to the extreme that she leans backwards, facing the sky).

Paint Application:

There are a few (but very visible) marks on Hancock's forehead.  Salome has a bunch of misapplied paint applications all over its body (streaks and paint applications going over the intended snake's scales, etc.).  Although I can be quite.... fussy about paint applications, I realize that this is a gashapon toy, so we really can't be sweating the details.


Hancock comes with a tiny booklet (one-side is in black and white with instructions for a totally different figure and the other side is in color showing off other figures in this particular series).  She also comes with a "mystery figure" which is of Ace (Luffy's older brother) who is being brutally murdered with a fiery fist piercing his chest (this figure is from Chapter 573 of One Piece titled "The Current Age is Named Whitebeard").


People have complained that this packaging is too flimsy, but I didn't have this problem (this is due to the fact that I purchased this figure already pulled from the box).  I believe these figures come in sets of 6 or more per box.  Since these figures are appropriately called "blind-boxed", you'll never know what you're going to get until you open the package.  What I do find appealing about this package is that it's appropriately shaped as a barrel (to a certain extent).


I purchased this from an overseas eBay seller but can't seem to recall how much I paid for it.  Judging from the current eBay postings, I'm assuming I paid at least $19.99 with free shipping and handling.  If you want to purchase a quality Boa Hancock figure doing her "look down" pose, I suggest purchasing the upper-scale version: Bandai's Figuarts Zero "One Piece" Boa Hancock (Toei) Limited Version.

The Good:

* Boa Hancock in plastic form!
* Overall color scheme is very pleasing to the eyes.

The Bad:

* Face doesn't look anything like Boa Hancock.
* No articulation (but that's expected for this type of figure).
* Minimal sloppy paint applications and stray marks.

The Ugly:

* It's a gashapon "blind-box" figure, what did you expect?


Score: 2.5 (out of 5)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Jonah Hex (film): Lilah Figure Review

Flavor Text:


Lilah's piercing eyes, cascade of dark hair, and hourglass shape that's almost impossible to believe belie her underlying keen wit and unflinching bravado.  She lives her life balanced on the thin line between good and evil, and only cares for a single one of the many men who drift in and out of her life.  The only one who can possibly see to the heart of who she really is.  Jonah Hex.  They are star-crossed, and when that star falls into the brutal hands of Quentin Turnbull, Jonah will have to rely on her more than he ever has before to help save the country."


I admit that I haven't watched Jonah Hex.  But hearing that Megan Fox would be in the film somewhat piqued my interest mainly because she just looks so damn good (if you disagree, please watch Transformers and look me in the eyes and tell me she's anything but).  As I browsed through photos from Toy Fair 2010, I immediately "fell in love" with the prototype of Megan Fox (I mean, Lilah).  One glance, and I already knew who this figure was (the actress).

I did some image browsing (thank you Google Images!) to see whether NECA's sculptors captured the accuracy of the on-screen Megan, and (not surprisingly), almost everything from the film has been entirely painstakingly sculpted into 7-inch figure form.

The facial sculpt is "dead-on" accurate.  A tiny portion of Lilah's teeth can be seen between her lips, but after a while, I learned to ignore it because it's Megan Fox in action figure form!

I really love the detailing (folds and flow) of Lilah's skanky dress.  Lilah's sculpted wavy hair is just sexy and well-done.  I could go on and on about how much I love this and that, so I'll just stop here.  Let's just say this figure is totally better than the movie itself (I formed this opinion after reading a few scathing reviews of Jonah Hex).

Even Fabio is jealous

I really like NECA for not placing the "NECA 2010 Made in China" stamp anywhere that's visible (that stamp is placed less noticeably on the inner left-side of Lilah's skirt.  Because Lilah's feet are tiny (and peg holes), the soles of Lilah's boots have no detailing.


Lilah in all her glory

Lilah has 10 points of articulation: ball-jointed neck, swivel-hinged shoulders, swivel-hinged elbows, swivel wrists, ball-jointed waist, and swivel boots.

See: Ball-jointed waist... and obligatory panty shot

Normally, I'd complain that this or that figure didn't have the necessary amount of articulation, but Lilah has just enough articulation to get by.  I would've loved to see some leg articulation (whoops!) but this type of articulation has been "standardized" in NECA's offerings for some time.

NOTE: I had some trouble with Lilah standing up.  She'd have the tendency to lean precariously forward.  By adjusting her upper body (via ball-jointed waist), Lilah now stands straight ready for whatever comes her way.

Paint Application:

Although NECA's products have been plagued with paint application problems in the past, Lilah has almost none of those problems.  In order to accentuate the "sheerness" of Lilah's outfit, NECA's team went about it in two ways: (1) They managed to apply "flesh-colored" paint on certain parts of Lilah's "prostitute uniform" (e.g. look underneath her armpits/chest area/forearms/stockings); and (2) utilized partially "see-through" plastic for her skirt, which adds an undeniable "sexiness" to the whole outfit (right?).

The ONLY thing that bothered me was extremely pale "flesh-colored" paint application right above Lilah's right knee (where there's a large hole in her stocking). 


Say hello to my little friend

I haven't seen the movie, but I've seen image stills of Lilah: firing two guns, carrying a tomahawk, and holding a tiny pistol (okay, that last one was from the movie poster).  Care to guess what comes with Lilah?  Yes, that's right, the tiny pistol.

The first time I placed the pistol into her preposed grip (right-hand), the pistol immediately fell out after adjusting Lilah's right arm.  Now, for some reason, the pistol is staying perfectly still in her hand, even while I continually adjust her right arm.

And when I refer to the pistol accessory as "tiny," I really mean it's tiny.  When it fell out of Lilah's hand the first time, I had one hell of a time looking for the darned thing.  Let this be your one and only warning.


Lilah comes in the typical NECA clamshell packaging.  The backdrop of the packaging features some dilapidated "Old Western" style buildings.  In the foreground, Josh Brolin posing as Jonah Hex covers the left corner of the packaging.

Interestingly, Lilah's pistol accessory is hidden behind Jonah Hex's cowboy hat (upper left-hand corner).

NOTE: Lilah's "flavor text" is actually printed on the left-hand side of the packaging.  The back has some pointless (my opinion) jibba-jabba about getting a "special sneak peek" of Jonah Hex motion comics.


Girls night out

I pre-ordered Lilah through for $14.99 (not including tax and shipping and handling charges) during March 2010.  I'm pretty sure you can find her for cheaper online.

The Good:

* Looks exactly Megan Fox!  (Transformers custom figure anyone?)
* Highly gorgeous and highly detailed figure!
* Movie accurate sculpt.

The Bad:

* Minor paint application problem.
* Megan Fox (I mean, Lilah) needs to keep her mouth closed.
* Super tiny pistol accessory (very easy to lose... or swallow).

The Ugly:

* None whatsoever!


Score: 4 (out of 5)