Friday, November 26, 2010

Assassin's Creed 2: Ezio (Master Assassin) Action Figure

Flavor Text:

"I will seek vengeance upon those who have betrayed my family, only to uncover a conspiracy bigger than I could have imagined...  I am EZIO AUDITORE DA FIRENZE.  I AM AN ASSASSIN."


I haven't played Assassin's Creed 2 yet, but from the images I've see online, the "Master Assassin" outfit looks accurate.  If you need further proof, just look at NECA's past work.  NECA is one of the best toy companies out there who actually pay a great deal of attention to detail.  Ezio's facial expression is neutral,as should be of someone of his killing stature.

However, the main drawback of this figure (sculpt-wise) are the awful "scar" marks on his lip and chin.  I really hope that wasn't intentional because the whole "scar" thing would be real... stupid.  I'd feel better if I chalk that up to bad luck.

Despite having received a shit version of Ezio, I was impressed with NECA's use of extremely flexible and thin material to sculpt the cape that's arched over Ezio's left shoulder.  (DC Direct, take note).  Also the armored pieces wrapped around Ezio's upper torso and over his right arm are intricately detailed.


Ezio has articulation in the: neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, knees, and ankles.

I really liked that Ezio was given ball-jointed hips, giving him more upper-body mobility which most certainly boosts his "playability" and "poseability" factor up a bit.  The ball-jointed neck is also nice to have (albeit a given for most figures nowadays).  What really hurts in this department, is the knee joints.  Because of Ezio's [knee] boots, it makes bending his knees quite awkward and slightly confusing.  I also don't understand why Ezio's right ankle joint moves so easily while his left ankle barely moves an inch.

Because of the strange articulation, Ezio has trouble standing.  Once again, I hope this is because of my bad luck, rather than NECA's poor design.

Paint Application:

As usual, this is where things go extremely south for NECA.  Under Ezio left eye are few stray red paint application marks with a little black paint thrown in.  Might as well call him, Ezio, the Black Nose Assassin.  Okay, so maybe we can pretend that that's blood from his enemies.  But if Ezio is the "Master Assassin," shouldn't he be skillful enough not to get any blood on him in the first place?

It seems that the black paint or wax is coming through on Ezio's face due to little or no application of face paint for Ezio's face.  As if that weren't enough, stray black marks are visibly scattered throughout Ezio's body (check his arms, boots, robes/cape, etc.).  Even the tiny daggers placed around the front of his waist are badly painted.

I just noticed this, but what the hell is this dirty-looking piece of tape doing on the back of Ezio's right foot?  Also, I've noticed a whole bunch of glue or "white hair" all over this Ezio figure.  Did I receive a factory defect or some factory painted prototype?


There's only one, if you count the "retractable blade" as an accessory.  NECA has really scaled back on their products, but I don't blame them (it's the economy stupid).  But then again, NECA is known to be inconsistent with their products, so no real surprise, just the same disappointment (at least they're consistent in something).


As with their recent offerings, NECA has reduced the amount of space in their clamshell packaging (most likely to save both money and space), which works quite well.  The background design of the packaging is nice, no doubt from "Assassin's Creed 2" the video game itself.


I pre-ordered Ezio (Master Assassin) through Toysrus online for $13.99.  Shipping and handling cost was free because I signed up for "free two-day shipping" service called ShopRunner.  With tax ($2.41) added in the total came to $16.40, which I guess is to be expected although I think it's a bit expensive for such a lame figure.

The Good:
  • The long awaited Ezio from "Assassin's Creed 2" has finally arrived!
  • Nicely detailed Ezio (Master Assassin) figure!
  • Ball-jointed waist.
  • [Video] game accurate sculpt (I think...).

The Bad:
  • Questionable articulation from the waist down
  • Lack of "poseability."
  • Lack of accessories.

The Ugly:
  • Total lack of quality control (funky leftover tape; dried glue "hairs" all over; extremely sloppy paint application; "scar" face sculpt).
  • High price for factory defect.


This figure isn't even worth scoring.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bioshock 2: Ladysmith Splicer Figure Review

It's been some time since the first wave of Bioshock 2 figures were released.  I was thoroughly impressed with the Big Daddy Deluxe figure.  However, the other figures... well... I wasn't as interested in.  After what seemed like a really long time, the second wave of Bioshock 2 figures have finally been released.  I had the Ladysmith Splicer figure pre-ordered for a long time, which I now have in my grubby paws.  So, was she worth the wait?  Eh... in some ways she is, but in more ways she's not.

Flavor Text:

"Once she was the talk of the town - a high-profile socialite whose wit was her weapon among Rapture's elite.  As the city fell from grace, so did she - becoming addicted to ADAM, splicing herself stronger and faster to feel safe in the streets.  She resents having to eat refuse and scrabble for ADAM, but ultimately, she's a survivor.  As a 'Leadhead', she pelts her enemies with bursts of tommy-gun fire between vicious verbal barbs."

The Good:

  • Ladysmith Splicer comes with several accessories: rolling pin, "bunny" mask, tommy-gun, and a [small] standard plastic base.
  • It's no surprise to see NECA's ability to recreate an exact replica of the video game [enemy] character into plastic form.  Everything about the Ladysmith Splicer is "game-accurate."

  • I just love how much NECA's sculptors paid attention to the texture and coloring of the "washed out" and deteriorated clothing worn by the now mutant-looking Ladysmith Splicer.  Just amazing.

  • I really love the incorporation of the "bunny" mask accessory.  No splicer is complete without one.  However, the one included isn't as scary and deranged-looking as the ones first seen in the first Bioshock video game.
  • Surprisingly, the Ladysmith Splicer figure has very little paint application problems, which is always a plus in my book.

The Bad:

  • Unfortunately, Ladysmith Splicer has an unimpressive 6 POINTS OF ARTICULATION: ball-jointed neck, ball-jointed shoulders, swivel elbows, and ball-jointed waist.  Although I expected this, I'm still somewhat disappointed that NECA didn't try and incorporate more articulation for what is considered a staple character in the Bioshock universe.  Swivel wrists and perhaps swivel legs would've made fine additions to the Splicer's overall articulation count.

  • I really despise "swivel elbow" articulation because it looks makes the sculpt look awkward and doesn't really help with posing.  However, I will grudgingly admit that in this case, the "swivel elbow" articulation works without being too much of a distraction.

  • I love the fact that NECA included the well-known "bunny" mask accessory.  However, I am annoyed at how badly this was incorporated into the figure.  If you examine the "inside" of the mask, you'll see a little "hook" on the left side which is supposed to hang in a little groove of the Ladysmith Splicer's hair.  Unfortunately, the "bunny" mask has a hard time staying on almost 99% of the time.  It's possible (however very unlikely) that my mask accessory is busted.  I think it has more to do with the poor design behind the mask.  An alternate head with the mask on would've been a much better [and safer] idea.

The Ugly:

  • Actually there is something.  Yes, you can look up the Ladysmith Splicer's skirt, but I highly recommend against it.  See?  No pics for you.

I purchased this figure from for $14.99 (price doesn't include S&H).  I recommend ordering this figure from (last I checked, they charge the lowest price of $13.99 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.  However, they are a bit inconsistent when it comes to notifying you when your items have been shipped.  You can also find these on eBay at a slightly higher cost (damn you pesky S&H)!


Overall, NECA's Ladysmith Splicer is a nice continuation of the Bioshock 2 franchise.  However, the minimal articulation for such an unusually spry character hurts the overall value of this figure.  The inclusion of the rolling pin accessory is an interesting and yet funny addition (I don't remember any of the Splicers carrying such a weapon).  Despite the lack of articulation and trouble keeping the "bunny" mask on, this figure is most likely a necessary part of your Bioshock collection amongst your other Big Daddy and Little Sister figures.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dead Space: Isaac Tonal Tee - Black (T-Shirt) Review

If you signed up on Facebook and "friended" Dead Space, then you'd know that the Visceral Games Store is up and running.  Earlier on, they gave a preview of apparel that were going to be sold via their online store.  Unfortunately, I was late to the party (so to speak) and missed out on the "crowd favorite" Vintage Comic Tee.  Stung with bitter disappointment, I reluctantly purchased this t-shirt.

The Good: 

  • This shirt was both packaged and shipped nicely from Treehouse Brand Stores, LLC.  The t-shirt was neatly folded and actually packaged in a separate plastic baggie.  There was no big [wasteful] cardboard box, but a thin but sturdy plastic wrap.  Now, that's great customer service!
  • Isaac Clarke's [three-slit] visor is made with "glow in the dark" ink.
  • The entire front of this t-shirt is a picture of Isaac Clarke from the amazing Dead Space video game.  This image is the same as the one used on the cover of the "limited edition" The Art of Dead Space: Designing a Nightmare art book, which was given out as a bonus at the time of the game's release. 

  • T-shirt makers, take note: no tag t-shirts are the best.  Don't you always get annoyed by the "bump" on the back of your neck from the tag?
  • Although the t-shirt itself is thin (enough to wear on a hot sunny day), the feel and quality of the shirt is pretty good.

The Bad:
  • Isaac Clarke's [three-slit] visor is made with "glow in the dark" ink.  Although the concept is cool enough, aren't we pass the time and age where anything "glow in the dark" is used?  Just something about that "feature" that sounds really childish.

  • The back of the shirt has "Visceral Games" near the top middle area (right under the back of your neck).  I think it would've been better if it just said "Dead Space" instead, just like on the cover the video game. 
  • At first, I wasn't a big fan of the overall design; it seemed to "showy."  I would've preferred to see a smaller front print of Isaac at either the bottom left or right.  And on the back, have a Necromorph on the opposite bottom left or right lurking around to "ambush" Isaac.

The Ugly:
  • If anything is ugly, it's the price of these shirts.  Luckily, this shirt isn't as ridiculously expensive as the Vintage Comic Tee (but it's still on the "pricey" side).  With the money being spent on this, you'd expect it to do more.

Additional Notes:
  • This shirt comes in all sizes: small, medium, large, extra large, and extra extra large (just like pizza).

I looked everywhere on eBay before going through with my purchase in Visceral Games [online] Store.  I really didn't want to pay $24.00 (which doesn't include shipping and handling charges) for a shirt.  Can you blame me for that?  I had some reservations about the design of the shirt before (for instance, I wasn't convinced that the oversized front print of Isaac was a good idea; I figured it would've been better if the size of the print were a bit smaller and placed near the bottom left or right).  However, once I received this in the mail and got to view this shirt up close and personal, I was immediately won over.  I paid a total of $30.00 (which includes the shipping and handling fee of $6.00 for "domestic standard" which takes 3-5 days for delivery).


For a t-shirt, this is definitely on the pricey side.  However, if you're a big fan of Dead Space and want to show the world (without embarrassing yourself with your little or big action figure collection), then I'd recommend getting this shirt.  If you want to spend a little more cash for a shirt, I'd most definitely recommend on getting the Vintage Comic Tee instead (here's the link for the same-styled shirt for women).

Score (out of five):

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles (T-Shirt) Review

**Note: Although this is a[n] toy/action figure review site, lately, I've been more and more interested in t-shirts as well.  Whatever t-shirt that may tickle my fancy, I'll post a review here as well.  I hope you enjoy it.  As always, feel free to e-mail me or leave comments on this site.  Thanks.**

This is one of the few amazing things that happened at last year's San Diego Comic Con.  Like many others, I was unaware of this until the SDCC event started.  Although I love collecting action figures, this t-shirt was (and still is) a MUST-HAVE for two reasons: (1) I'm running out of shirts to wear and (2) The novelty of having a "zombie" face to wear and freak out your friends and neighbors never gets old!

The Good:
  • A definite amazing surprise for Comic Con attendees who waited on line to be one of the first to try out the [then] unreleased Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles [Wii] video game.
  • It was finally available via Capcom's [U.S.] store front for purchase after several agonizing months of longing for said t-shirt.

  • A nice "minimalist-approach" design on the front and backside of the shirt.  The front reads: "Let Your Darkside Out" with several flesh-eating zombies lumbering for fresh human meat in the background. 

  • On the back, near the top middle area reads: "Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles" (in the same font as on the front cover of the Wii video game).

  • The best part of this shirt is what lies beneath the front-side of the shirt: the decayed zombie face!  (An extremely ugly face that only a zombie mother could love.)  

The Bad:

  • The Capcom Store is selling these t-shirts for $24.95 each!  These aren't exactly "designer" t-shirts now, are they?  But $24.95?  Really?

The Ugly:
  •  Ha!  In my case, the shirt arrived in an over-sized [cardboard] box, not wrapped in any sort of protective plastic layer or such.  Whoever packed my shirt just tossed it in the box and then added the [usual] crinkly brown paper on top of the shirt with the packing slip and taped it shut.  You can imagine my surprise when I opened up the package to see that my shirt was already dirty.  Bits and pieces of cardboard was smothered all over the shirt.  All I can say is that it was a real pain in the ass to remove.  To make a long story short, I sent a complaint e-mail offering to return the shirt.  The customer support team at Digital River (not the best service out there) apologized and told me I could keep the shirt for free.

Additional Notes:
  • This shirt was given out for FREE at the San Diego Comic Con 2009 for those lucky attendees.
  • The same t-shirt (separately packaged in a polybag) was also given out FREE as a "pre-order bonus" if you pre-ordered a copy of Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles Wii video game from Gamestop.

I initially purchased my first t-shirt off of eBay (before Capcom decided that it was a good idea to cash in on these shirts) at an inflated price of $50.00 ($5.00 for shipping and handling).  Why did I end up buying another (this time from the Capcom Store)?  To make a long story short, my cousin loved it (unfortunately this shirt isn't sold overseas where he lives), so I gave it to him.  I paid a total of $34.45 (shipping and handling charge of $9.50) purchasing it from the Capcom [::cough:: rip-off ::cough::] Store.


If my review hasn't deterred you from purchasing this item, you're in luck because the Capcom Store still have them in stock... at the same price!  These shirts come in all sizes: small, medium, large, extra-large, and extra-extra large.  Overall, I love the novelty of this shirt (referring to the "hidden" zombie face underneath the front-side of the shirt).  Also, it's another way of showing off your love for the Resident Evil series.

Score (out of five):

    Tuesday, June 8, 2010

    Star Wars: The Vintage Collection 2010: Dengar Figure Review

    Late January 2010, Hasbro released news of their upcoming Star Wars: Vintage Collection.  Frankly, I wasn't interested in any of the vintage-style figures mainly because Hasbro is known to re-release the same figures over and over (just look at their upcoming "new" re-release of their 2010 "Saga Legends" line).  However, once I heard about a thoroughly newly-sculpted Dengar figure, I couldn't resist (damn you, Hasbro!).

    The Good:

    • Dengar has 14 points of articulation: ball-jointed neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel wrists, ball-jointed waist, swivel hips, swivel/hinge knees, and swivel/hinge ankles.
    • Dengar comes with only 4 accessories: 1x blaster pistol, 1x BlasTech DLT-19, 1x backpack, and 1x (removable) crotch armor w/ belt attached.
    • Although I really don't recognize Dengar's face, the level of detail is just amazing.  His face is noticeably scarred while his stern, eye-piercing gaze shows what an angry bad-ass he is.

    • I definitely don't recall ever seeing Dengar's "backpack" or gear but the level of detail is just amazing.  Nothing about the sculpt is out of place here.

    • There are a few paint [mis]applications but nothing too major that it detracts any value from the overall figure.

    • I was glad to see Hasbro finally sculpt a fully functional holster that can hold the entire blaster pistol snugly without it ever falling out.

    • Although both of Dengar's pre-posed [gripped] hands look tight, they surprisingly can hold all of his weapons quite nicely. 

    The Bad:
    • It's not too much of a big deal, but I don't know why Dengar's "crotch armor" is a separate piece from the rest of his body.  Maybe the Hasbro factories in China forgot to glue it on?  We won't know until this figure is released later on in the U.S.

    • This isn't necessarily a bad thing either, but if you examine Dengar's left foot, you can see that his left sole isn't flat.  Hasbro's sculptors probably did this in order to keep Dengar's balance and prevent him from tipping over.

    The Ugly:
    • Nothing ugly about the figure here.
    • I'm not too thrilled with Hasbro's attempt to cash in on SW fans' nostalgia by offering a "mail-in" vintage-style "rocket/missile firing" Boba Fett figure.  I'd rather have another updated figure instead.

    Additional Notes:

    • Interestingly, the BlasTech DLT-19 accessory is not the same weapon Dengar is seen holding aboard the Executor (in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back).  This particular gun is used by a fellow bounty hunter 4-LOM.
    • This figure won't be available until later this summer or early fall.

    I purchased this figure from eBay at a reasonable price of $11.99 (this included the Vintage Collection 2010: 4-LOM figure).  If you don't want to pay full-price for a packaged figure, just purchase them online via any one of those eBay sellers located in China.  Most likely, these figures are legit, because that's where all the Star Wars figures are produced.  Just becareful when you go shopping for these goods, because sometimes these sellers charge a bit more than buying them locally.  However, if you don't have the patience, then by all means, go ahead.  If you do want to purchase these locally, then your best bet would be to go to your local Toysrus or Walmart.  While online retailers (like BigBadToyStore) aren't so bad, they tend to place premium prices on figures they think will sell fast.


    Generally speaking, the price of figures have gone way up.  Last I heard, the 2010 "vintage-styled" Star Wars figures will have a price tag of $7.99 which is quite expensive for something scaled so small.  However, judging from the level of detail work done on this particular figure, the $7.99 doesn't seem too unreasonable.  However, unlike the previously released "vintage-styled" figures, the upcoming ones will no longer come sealed in clamshell packaging.  It's not too much of a big deal, but for collectors who want everything in mint condition, they will have to be extra careful when purchasing these figures.  I had promised myself not to purchase anymore Star Wars figures, but with these babies out, this may be one promise I will have to compromise on.

    Score (out of five):