Sunday, December 27, 2009

Biohazard 5: Albert Wesker (Midnight Version) Hot Toys Figure Review

Being a huge fan of the Resident Evil series, I was extremely excited to hear that Hot Toys acquired the rights to produce 1/6th scale Resident Evil figures.  What was more exciting was the fact that the Resident Evil antagonist, Albert Wesker, would be one of a few that were selected to be released for mass consumption.  Now, I've seen the photos of Albert Wesker (Midnight Version) and wasn't too impressed by the facial sculpt.  I was also worried that the head would be bigger than the rest of the body (look at Sideshow's Star Wars figures for reference).  Despite my fears, I went ahead and snagged one of these to see for myself.

Flavor Text:

"Age: 48
  Height: Unknown
  Weight: 198 lbs.
  Sex: Male
  Organization: Unknown

Albert Wesker is the former leader of the Raccoon City Police Department's Special Forces Unit known as S.T.A.R.S., as well as a former member of Umbrella's information department.  Wesker is calm, highly intelligent, and possesses keen decision making skills.  Wesker exploited S.T.A.R.S. for his own gains in what later came to be known as the Mansion Incident.  Following this incident, it is believed that Wesker went into hiding but continued to manipulate events related to the fallout of the Mansion Incident.

Wesker encountered Chris Redfield again at an underground laboratory in Antarctica, but the superhuman abilities Wesker had gained from exposure to the T-Virus meant Chris could barely hold his own in the fight."

The Good:

  • An updated Albert Wesker figure from Resident Evil 5 makes its long-awaited appearance in plastic form!

  • Wesker has approximately 22 points of articulation: ball-jointed neck, ball-jointed shoulders, swivel upper biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, ab-crunch joint, swivel waist, ball-jointed hips, swivel upper thighs, hinged knees, swivel boots, and hinged ankles.
  • Loads of accessories: Wesker's (trademark) sunglasses, Wesker's coat, PDA accessory, PDA clip, watch, shoulder holster, two sets of additional hands, two sets of joints, L. Hawk magnum, S&W M500 magnum, H&K MP5 machine-gun, Hydra shotgun, H&K P8 handgun, Wesker's knife, knife holster, Laser Targeting Device, two sets of ammo clips, and "Biohazard 5: Albert Wesker (Midnight Version)" base and stand.
  • The package design seems pretty standard.  The "Biohazard 5" (also known as Resident Evil 5 in the U.S.) logo is off-center with a picture of Wesker in his "Midnight" outfit aiming to shoot someone that overlaps onto the right-side of the packaging.  Hot Toys has incorporated the magnetic flap which can be easily opened and closed.  Opening the flap reveals the "meat and potatoes" of the packaging design.  The right-side fully displays the collectible figure for your viewing pleasure.  The left-side displays all of the [weapons] accessories in neat fashion with the picture of the hangar area where you battle Wesker for the second time in Resident Evil 5 (videogame) that serves as a backdrop.

  • The sculpt of Wesker's hair, the creases in his forehead, and slight wrinkles around his mouth are quite the masterpiece.  You can even see his veins protruding from his arms!  The slight creases in the leather gloves and boots are also done in very subtle manner.  The detailing on all the weapons are equally impressive.

  • The paint application is superb beyond belief!  I'm quite blown away by this collectible figure at this point.

The Bad:

  • Although the sculpting is truly top-notch work, something about Wesker's face doesn't seem quite right.  I can't seem to pinpoint the exact location.  Maybe I'm just imagining things.

  • The battery-operated "light-up" eyes is a bit gimmicky for my tastes.  Why on Earth would I want Albert Wesker to look like the Terminator?  Instead, I would've preferred Hot Toys paint Wesker's eyes reptilian (mixture of red, orange, and yellow) as seen in Resident Evil: Code Veronica.  It would've also been nice if Wesker actually came with said batteries.
    • Hot Toys really should've included an additional head with a "seriously pissed" look on his face.  Perhaps with gritting teeth and a nasty-looking snarl.  Although Wesker has been cool and rational throughout the Resident Evil series, he clearly lost any trace of this in Resident Evil 5.  We need another head that shows this.

    • The sculpt of Wesker's chest area bothers me a lot.  His chest seems to be placed a lot lower than the average person.  There's a pretty wide gap (about the length of my thumbnail) between Wesker's neckline and where his chest begins.
    • Wesker's shoulders also seemed to be placed quite lower than usual.  It's either that or the slightly bulky (and not that tight) "Midnight" outfit is a little too big.

    • If you look closely, the "temple" (the hinge part of the glasses) aren't designed to be straight as it should be, but rather angled upwards.  I don't recall Wesker's sunglasses ever being designed like that in any of the cinematics from Resident Evil 5 (the videogame).  My guess is that Hot Toys head sculptor Kim Jung Mi either didn't or couldn't sculpt Wesker's ears in such a way to provide enough space to accommodate the "temple" part of Wesker's sunglasses.
    • Although I do appreciate the amount of accessories that Wesker came with, some of them don't belong or are missing.  For example, why does Wesker have the Laser Targeting Device?  He definitely didn't use that (hint: Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar did).  Where is Wesker's handgun which he used in the videogame to fire cheap shots at Chris and Sheva?  Why didn't Hot Toys include at least one rocket accessory, which Wesker effortlessly throws at our protagonists?  That would've been one hell of a killer (no pun intended, seriously) accessory.  What about the serum shot filled with Wesker's daily dose of the "Uroboros cocktail"?

    The Ugly:

    • I mentioned this before, but I'll say it again: the "light-up" eyes feature has got to go.  It's a stupid and terrible idea.  Just paint his eyes in a reptilian manner and call it a day.  None of this "light-up" crap.
    • This collectible figure is on the pricey side.

    I purchased this figure online from eBay at a slightly higher price of $150.00 (+ $30.00 S&H charge).  I must admit that I don't feel comfortable with this "doll"around the house, but Albert Wesker is my favorite Resident Evil villain.  Against my better judgment, I ordered this from a seller located in China.  Why did I saw "against my better judgment"?  Most sellers from China sell loads of bootlegged items for dirt cheap prices.  But they also sell bootlegs for extremely high prices to ward off any suspicion that their items are fakes.  It's my understanding that Hot Toys collectible figures are made in factories located in China, so I took a chance and purchased it from a seller with a very high satisfaction rating.  If you don't want to take that chance, I'd order this from either Cornerstorecomics or Bigbadtoystore (they have it for $139.99, not including S&H).


    This being my "first" (I purchased Wesker many months after I pre-ordered Hot Toys Sheva Alomar) Hot Toys collectible figure purchase, I'm pleased with the overall quality and value.  The loads of articulation and accessories (not to mention the detailed sculpts) just about makes up for the high price.  If your Resident Evil collection is starving like mine has, I suggest you save up for either (Midnight Version) Albert Wesker or (S.T.A.R.S. Version) Albert Wesker.  You won't be disappointed.


    Sunday, December 20, 2009

    Bioshock 2: Big Daddy (Sneak Preview) Figure Review

    I was first introduced to Bioshock almost a year ago by a close friend who had an Xbox 360. For the 5 minutes I played, I was thoroughly impressed with the graphics and gameplay. A year passed and I soon forgot about it. Suddenly, I began to thirst for news of first-person shooters that had great graphics, gameplay, and [especially important] a great story. I looked up Bioshock on and happily discovered the game was being sold at a heavily discounted price. "Why the hell not?" and I ended up with my very own copy. I played this game so many times and all levels of difficulty and still haven't tired of it. Coincidentally, NECA mentioned that they were going to produce Bioshock 2 figures for 2010 by first releasing the [well-known] Big Daddy as a "sneak preview" deluxe figure. If you're like me, then you've grown quite fond of the hulking BD with numerous near-death encounters. Having missed out on owning an exclusive small figure of Big Daddy (which was released with the Special Edition version of Bioshock), I so badly desired my very own articulated BD.

    The Good:
    • Big Daddy has an impressive 12 POINTS OF ARTICULATION: ball-jointed shoulders, ball-jointed elbows, ball-jointed [left] wrist, swivel [right hand] drill, swivel legs, swivel [left] knee, hinged [right] knee, and hinged ankles.

    • The overall package designed by NECA is quite breathtaking. At the bottom front of the packaging displays the "Bioshock 2" logo. The upper-left hand corner sports a sticker labeled "Sneak Preview" in retro colors and font design. The backdrop of the figure portrays the beautiful underwater city of Rapture. There's also a corpse of one of the inhabitants (quite possibly a Splicer) of Rapture. The right-side of the package grandly displays the "deep sea diving" Big Daddy's face as well. And yes, the size of the packaging is much bigger than we're used to. And it's even heavier than usual.

    • NECA has been known for their scrupulous attention to detail, and their sculpt of Big Daddy is no exception. The minute details on the "diver suit" areas of Big Daddy are just phenomenal. The bolts and little screws sculpted all around just shows how much love and labor that has been poured into BD's creation.

    • The "broken" [left] knee guard is so convincingly [excellently] sculpted that I thought one of those Chinese factory workers screwed up during the mass production of the BDs. Imagine my surprise (and relief) when I discovered it was originally sculpted to look like that. Silly me.

    • Surprisingly, the paint application on this figure is consistent for once! It took quite some time for that to happen, but nice job, NECA!

    The Bad:

    • I had a really hard time inserting the smaller [of the two canisters] into Big Daddy's back. No matter how much I pushed and shoved the damned plastic into its designated slot, it refused to move in. I gave up for a few weeks until today. I examined inside the slot and noticed the indentations on the "peg" part of the canister matched the indentations found deep inside the slot. Determined by this discovery, I violently shoved the damned thing, and eventually succeeded. This problem may have been exacerbated by the coat of paint applied around the indentations of the small canister. Interestingly, inserting the larger canister was a breeze.

    • Although I understand why NECA decided to exclude it, giving Big Daddy some waist articulation would've been nice. This would've allowed me to pose BD in his "shoulder bashing" move as seen in the videogame, Bioshock.
    • The lack of completely bendable knees is also disappointing, but the hinged ankles sort of make up for it.
    • The gauge meter (protruding from the smaller canister) lacks the detailed readings (numbers and such) seen in the videogame as well as on the game cover. Little details like this make or break an action figure. Interestingly, NECA decided to leave that part out.

    • Although Big Daddy was released as a "deluxe" figure, I really had hoped that NECA would've released him as a two-pack with a Little Sister. If you've played the game, you'll know that a Little Sister is always accompanied by a Big Daddy. This would've understandably increased the price, but I'd most definitely pony up some serious cash for that. Thankfully, we'll be getting a Big Sister and Little Sister two-pack sometime early 2010 as a Toysrus exclusive. Keep your fingers crossed.

    The Ugly:

    • Nothing ugly here, folks.

    Additional Notes:

    • I'm really surprised that NECA didn't release this Big Daddy figure with a "chase/variant" figure of an enraged (you can tell by the red-colored eyeholes and his aggressive behavior towards you) Big Daddy. This surely would've increased interest and quite possibly more sales. Heck, I know I'd definitely pay good money for a "chase" version of that.

    I purchased this figure from for $18.99. (price doesn't include S&H). I recommend ordering this figure from (last I checked, they charge the lowest price of $18.99 individually). They're really good about packaging and sending out items in a timely manner, and they seem to get their items a little earlier than most electronic retailers I've dealt with. Interestingly though, I've noticed that they no longer notify you (by e-mail or anything) when they ship these out to you. You can also find these on eBay at a slightly higher cost (damn you pesky S&H)!


    Overall, NECA's Big Daddy is one hell of a beginning into the Bioshock 2 franchise. Despite the lack of articulation (in some areas), this is one figure you'll most definitely regret not purchasing. If you're still on the fence about this figure, keep in mind that this Big Daddy figure will no longer be released with the rest of the Bioshock 2 figures in 2010.


    Saturday, December 12, 2009

    Kaiyodo's Revoltech Queen's Blade Series No. 004: Nanael Figure Review

    I've never seen or read about the Queen's Blade series.  Apparently, the anime (Japanese animation to the uninitiated) has already been released and is quite popular in Japan.  For more than a year, I've mainly seen PVC figures (statues) selling for over $70 a piece which is a bit expensive for my tastes.  However, I was excited to see Nanael as a Revoltech figure because the character design is really cute. 

    The Good:
    • Nanael has loads of articulation: jointed neck, jointed shoulders, jointed angelic wings (the larger left wing also has another joint allowing Nanael to spread open her left wing), jointed elbows, jointed wrists, jointed upper-chest, jointed hips, swivel upper thighs, jointed knees, and jointed ankles.

    • The package design for the Revoltech Queen's Blade line has changed considerably in size, color, and quality of the package.  The QB package measures 8.5 inches by 8.5 inches as opposed to the Fraulein Revoltech packaging measured 8.5 inches by 4.5 inches.  The front packaging window is large enough to view the entire figure with some of the accessories appearing on both sides of the figure.  The back of the packaging reveals all sorts of photos of Nanael in various poses with her accessories.
    • Not knowing anything about the character, I think the sculpt is pretty good.  I especially love Nanael's cute "surprised" or "clueless" expression, which conveys to me her lack of experience or just plain innocence.  The sculpt of Nanael's armor is also pretty good, considering the simplicity of its design.  The sculpt of Nanael's hair is okay, but more on that later.

    • The paint application is fairly consistent, which is really no surprise considering the high level of quality control Japanese toy companies have over their factories in China.  There are however, few stray marks on Nanael's left wing and stray paint applications on Nanael's right knee and the back of her left leg.
    • Let's talk accessories.  Nanael comes loaded with: 1x belt with a bottle of milk attached, 1x sword, 1x torn white dress, 1x regular white dress (Nanael comes with this on), 1x milk "splashing" effect (which can be inserted into the milk bottle to further enhance the "splash" effect), 1x "torn" underwear, 1x regular underwear (Nanael comes with this on), 1x additional pre-posed left hand (the other left hand is already on the figure), 1x additional pre-posed right hand (the other right hand comes attached to Nanael), 1x alternate face with "splashed milk" effect, 1x official Revoltech plastic mini-storage [and stackable] box, 1x "10" Revoltech points chip (which can be redeemed to get other nifty Revoltech items), and 1x plastic base.

    The Bad:

    • On the both sides of the packaging, there is a drawing of Nanael wearing a blue hair pin.  So why is her plastic counterpart sporting a pink-colored one?  I understand that there may have been changes made to the figure before or after production, but if you do something like that, try to make the picture match the figure or vice versa.  It just looks sloppy [and unprofessional].

    • Although this isn't really terrible, I wish Nanael's front side bangs were a little longer as shown in the picture at the bottom left corner in the back of the packaging.

    • There is thin piece of plastic "string" or perhaps leftover glue sticking out of Nanael's right elbow joint.  I don't know how that happened, but it's visually annoying.

    • The lack of instructions regarding how to replace and remove accessories is also problematic.  I had to figure this out through trial-and-error, which is risky because it leaves me open to possibly damaging the figure in the process.  There are plenty of "brochures" advertising other Revoltech figures that come with Nanael, but no instruction booklet or manual.  I even I had to put in some guess work regarding how to assemble various pieces of the base together.  Something that may be considered common sense should still come with some sort of basic instruction.

    • The awful [and strong] smell of plastic makes me feel a little nauseous at times.

    • Nanael's right hand has a tendency to get loose and eventually fall out when I'm not looking.

    • One of Nanael's left hands is posed in such a way that it looks like she's doing the Star Trek "peace and prosper" hand sign which is often associated with Spock.

    The Ugly:

    • Oh boy!  Apparently, the Queen's Blade series contains plenty of "ecchi" (dirty) and risque situations, and Nanael is ripe full of them.  The torn dress, torn underwear, milk "splashed" alternate face, and the milk "splashed" torso are your obvious clues.  Also, innocent-looking Nanael has sculpted breasts (nipples and all) for your pleasure and/or embarrassment.

    Additional Notes:

    • There is another [Revoltech] joint in Nanael's right wing.  Apparently, this joint allows you to insert her sword at the hilt to give off the illusion of the sword floating alongside Nanael.  Why?  I have no clue.

    I purchased this figure online from Hobbyfan for a total of $38.24 ($32.99 + S&H charge of $5.25).  Hobbyfan is usually good with their shipping, but have most recently been having problems with correctly packaging their items to ship out to customers.  Much to my dismay, I received Nanael with her packaging banged up in an over-sized box with one small piece of bubble wrap placed on top of the package.  Needless to say, I was annoyed.  I e-mailed a complaint to Hobbyfan, fully explaining the problem.  Within several days, I received a response from a Hobbyfan representative quasi-apologizing and excusing themselves because they had a "new" packaging person.  The representative suggested that I request for more protection in the additional request form when placing an order.  Before this "new" packaging person, I never had to do that sort of thing.  I've never had to do that with other respectable online retailers.  Even [I should say most] eBay sellers know how to package their items carefully.  Unfortunately, I still have something pre-ordered with them from a while ago.  Hobbyfan just lost a customer.

    I recommend purchasing anime figures of this sort from Toyslogic, which is also based in California.  I've never had shipping problems like those of Hobbyfan's and almost always TL offers the best prices on most of their [import] items.  I very reluctantly suggest using eBay for anime figures mainly because there are a lot of bootleg versions of these figures being sold by eBay sellers residing in China.  If a price is too good to be true, it usually is.


    Overall, Kaiyodo's 5 inch Revoltech figure is a fine addition to my collection.  Despite the highly suggestive nature, the decent sculpt of angelic Nanael and the loads of accessories more than match the purchase price.  Please keep in mind that such figures are definitely NOT for children under 18 years of age. With that said, I think I'll stay away from the rest of the Revoltech Queen's Blade series.