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)