Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top 10 Films of 2013

Was 2013, an EPIC year for movies?

       2013 was an odd year for film; looking ahead to it a year ago one might notice the absence of long awaited blockbusters such as the Avengers or the Dark Knight Rises that littered the 2012 calendar.  Instead 2013 boasted a steady diet of what looked to be solid films with none boasting the title of biggest film of the year.  Rather, we got a decent mix of new properties and surprising Oscar contenders to go along with the steady diet of superhero and other established tent-pole franchise films.  So was 2013 an Epic year for film? Find out in the form of our top 10 films of 2013 after the break...

(Click on the title links for the individual review and rating for each film)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Movie Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

Someone get this man an Oscar!

      Most people have one opinion of  Martin Scorsese films, generally considering them instant classics upon a single viewing just because of the director's name being attached to the film.  I have always found Scorsese's work to be very well done, but have never been one to consider a film a classic because it was laced with gangster delivered f-bombs.  This Christmas, however, came something different from the director; maybe not quite as different as last year's Hugo but still a break from the gangster sub genre Scorsese has been so closely associated with over the course of his career.  This time the world famous director instead chose to focus on financial corruption in the form of the retelling of the real life story of the man known as the Wolf of Wall Street: Jordan Belfort, portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio.  So was The Wolf of Wall Street something refreshing from one of the best directors alive? Will he finally be able to direct Leo to an Oscar win? Find out after the break...

Toy Review: Grabit Robot Multipurpose Holder (Green) by Trinkits

     Back in March 2013 I looked at a cool Kickstarter Project called the Grabit Robot Multipurpose Holder. Designed as both a tribute to vinyl toys and a household storage device the Grabit features a very simple, clean design style that is quite appealing. If you're interested in learning more about the product and the design process behind it, check out this interview I did with designers Leo and Angie Fajardo! If you're interested in learning about this cool toy, which you can purchase at Trinkits' website, you had better keep on reading as I'm about to put this bad boy through standard Epic Review process. Join me after the break....

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Toy Review: Neutrino Wand from Ghostbusters by Mattel (with video!)

     Ghostbusters and Raiders of the Lost Ark constantly battle for the title of my absolute favorite movie of all time. If you ask me one day of the week, I'll tell you that my favorite movie is Ghostbusters. Ask me the next day and I'll tell you I prefer Raiders of the Lost Ark.  I have loved Ghostbusters ever since I saw it as a kid (even though parts of it terrified me). I've sat in a real Ecto-1 (it was signed by Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, and Dan Aykroyd). I've watched the commentary track for the film (something I rarely do). I randomly insert Ghostbusters lines into regular conversation. I guess I have about every mark of Ghostbusters fandom there is except for being a prop expert. Yes, while I know all of the tools the guys use and some of the little nitty gritty details, there are entire websites where Ghostheads sit around and study, compare, and build Ghostbusters props. While I'd love to get to that point someday, that's not me. Today, as I'm reviewing Mattel's Ghostbusters Neutrino Wand from their Epic Creations line, I'm not able to give you specific measurements and comparisons. I will give you my opinions as a toy collector and a lifelong Ghostbusters fan. Deal? If that works for you, then join me after the break....

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Action Figure Review: Plundor from Masters of the Universe Classics from Mattel

     "Quest for He-Man", one of the first season episodes of the Filmation animated series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, is absolutely insane. It involves He-Man getting mindwiped by Skeletor and being magically sent to the plant of Tranus, a pollution covered world where an evil rabbit named Plundor lives in a giant fortress that looks like it wouln't be out of place at Krustyland. Oh, and who is sent to save He-Man? Ram-Man, Orko, and Cringer. Yup, no way that could go wrong! It's a fun but really weird episode that's most famous for the villainous pink bunny Plundor (voiced by John Erwin). Interestingly, Plundor is not part of the Club Filmation subset of Masters of the Universe Classics but a release in the main line. Interested in a pink bunny for this Christmas that isn't Ralphie in his pajamas? Then read on to learn more about Plundor, after the break....

Monday, December 23, 2013

Action Figure Review: Deathstroke from The New 52: Super Villains by DC Collectibles

There are two reasons I picked up the action figure of Deathstroke from DC Collectibles' New 52 line:
1) I've always liked the look and character of Deathstroke, AKA Slade Wilson, so he appeals to me as a toy.
2) Due to his various associations and affiliations and along with his appearance in Batman: Arkham Origins, I consider Deathstroke to be enough of a Bat-family villain that I will happily begin adding figures of him to my shelf.

     There are quite a few Deathstroke figures out there along with quite a few more coming out soon. Besides this guy, DC Collectibles has released a 1/18th Deatstroke in their Injustice: Gods Among Us line and is preparing to release figures of Slade based on his appearances in Arrow and Batman: Arkham Origins. Need help deciding on which version of Deathstroke you want to add to your shelf? Then join me after the break as we examine his New 52 appearance.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A New Batgirl Review: Batgirl from Super Best Friends Forever by DC Collectibles

     I was really shocked to see DC Collectibles releasing merchandise from Super Best Friends Forever and as soon as I saw they were releasing a Batgirl, I knew I'd buy her. Super Best Friends Forever was one of the DC Nation shorts that aired on the Cartoon Network and followed the adventures of Batgirl, Wonder Girl, and Supergirl as the fought villains like Solomon Grundy, Poison Ivy, the Cheetah, and even each other on occasion (such as when Supergirl initially dissed Batgirl's suggestion of SBFF as their team name or when Wonder Girl wouldn't let the girls take the invisible jet out for a spin). Each of the five one minute and 16 second episodes were created, written, and directed by Lauren Faust of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and The Power Puff Girls fame, so you know that Super Best Friends Forever is colorful, exciting, and hilarious. It has a humor that seems quite broad and should appeal to both small children and older fans who can appreciate a different take on these super women. I really wish it had been picked up as a full length cartoon as it's quite good. Enough about the show, however; let's talk about this PVC figure released by DC Collectibles!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Action Figure Review: Kwinn v2 from G.I. Joe Retaliation by Hasbro

 If you've never read the old Marvel G.I. Joe comic series G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, you can be forgiven for assuming that it was simply a Saturday morning cartoon/ toy advertisement turned into a funny book. You'd be wrong, however, as reading and rereading the series, mostly written by storytelling master Larry Hama, it's amazing how much depth, humor, and drama was woven into those pages. Even if a character only appeared briefly, Hama made sure to find ways to gave them distinctive characterization that helped them stand out. While Hama typically took Hasbro's toys and brought them to life, there certainly were a few characters he created for his stories that were so appealing they had 80's kids searching the toy aisles looking for action figures that didn't yet exist. One of those characters was Kwinn. Appearing during the first year of the comic, Kwinn was a mysterious and honorable Inuit mercenary who was definitely his own man. While Hasbro released a version of the character in his arctic gear from issue #2 back in 2004, it's Kwinn in his jungle outfit that fans have dreamed about owning for almost 30 years. After a few years of teasing us, Hasbro managed to finally release the jungle version of Kwinn in the G.I. Joe: Retaliation line. Yes, while Kwinn has nothing to do with G.I. Joe Retaliation, I couldn't care less. He's an excellent figure and well deserving of your attention. Ready for a look at this guy? Then join me after the break...

Monday, December 16, 2013

A New Batgirl Review: Batgirl from Kubricks Batman by MediCom

     This is going to be a brief review at it's covering something that's enither new nor terribly complex. It's a Kubrick Batgirl. Kubricks are block styled minifigures (similar to Minimates or Lego minifigures) released by Japanese company MediCom that actually preceded Minimates (the first Kubrick series was released in 2000). And yes, they are called Kubricks in honor of Stanley Kubrick. Anyways, at some point (probably around 2003) Kubricks released a blind boxed series of figures featuring various Batman heroes. Alongside the Batgirl figure I'm looking at today, the set also included Batman, Robin, Mr. Freeze, Azrael, Scarecrow, and Spoiler (which as far as I know is the only articulated Spoiler figure ever released by a toy company). Ready for a brief look at Batgirl? This is actually the first Kubrick figure I own, which is kind of interesting in and of itself. More details after the break....

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A New Batgirl Review: Batgirl from DC Comics Cover Girls from DC Collectibles

 I've been waiting for this statue for quite some time and was really excited when she arrived in the mail last week from Big Bad Toy Store. I really liked the Adam Hughes styled Cover Girls of the DC Universe line and was disappointed to see it go, although I did want some statues based off of the New 52 appearances of some of the most powerful women in the universe! While not every character reboot/ relaunch/ redesign has been perfect, I think Batgirl has been quite well handled. It's great to see Babs back in action while not neglecting some of the formative events of her character that have come before. Her costume is also pretty slick as well, which is always a plus. Awesome vigilante redhead + slick outfit + statue should be a good combination, right? Right? Well, read on and learn more after the break....

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Action Figure Review: Castle Grayskull from Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel

As Skeletor said in the 1987 film Masters of the Universe, "Everything comes to he who waits, and I have waited so very long for this moment." Yes, after one year of preorders, waiting, concepts and preproduction pieces, constant changes, small victories, crushing defeats, and sheer anticipation, Castle Grayskull has finally arrived to my home. Earlier this afternoon my wife texted me a picture of the enormous box sitting in our kitchen and I've been jazzed ever since. Heck, I've been singing the Castle Grayskull song all week now to help myself pass the time. Before I even open the box, I have to say that while there have been plenty of ups and downs on the journey from having Castle Grayskull exist simply as a sketch on paper to existing as an actual product delivered to my door, I think there are some folks that need to be commended. First, regardless of all other issues I don't think anyone can say that Scott Neitlich ("ToyGuru") and the Four Horsemen are not passionate about Masters of the Universe. Whether or not you agree with design decisions, style decisions, or business decisions, it really is impressive and I'd say quite unprecedented to bring a product of this size and scale to fruition. If you can show me another 6 -7 inch line with this large of a playset, I'll be shocked. Secondly, I think all Masters of the Universe fans need to be given a hearty round of thanks. I'm a pretty hardcore fan of a number of properties but I really don't know of any fandom that seems to get stuff done quite like He-fans and She-Ravers. We did it my friends!

     Now, are you ready? Is this going to truly be the greatest playset of all time or is it going to be a disappointment and subject to overhyping? Is it going to be a simple oversized piece of plastic or will it be a toy that magically transports us back to our childhoods; to a time when that ancient and mysterious fortress of power boggled our minds and captivated us with a spirit of adventure and enchantment unlike any other toy possibly could? I don't think I've ever written an introduction to a review prior to having the opportunity to open and fully experience the product, but that's what I'm doing here. When I say join me as we delve into that ancient, moss covered fortress together to uncover it's secrets, that's precisely what I'm about to do. Join me in learning Grayskull's secrets via this handy FAQ/ Review for the Masters of the Universe Classics Castle Grayskull, after the break....

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Action Figure Review: Radagast the Brown from The Hobbit:The Desolation of Smaug by the Bridge Direct

     I was a pretty hardcore completest of Toy Biz's excellent and expansive Lord of the Rings toyline and had always hoped that they would strive to create some figures based off of Tolkien characters who weren't seen in the film such as Tom Bombadil and Radagast the Brown. I was pretty thrilled when I learned that Radagast the Brown would be in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and was even more excited when I learned that he was to be played by the Seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy. While a bit silly and over the top at times, I liked McCoy's portrayal of Radagast as a member of the Istari who truly was more concerned with the world of beasts than the world of men. He had a great costume and really brought life to a character that got omitted from Peter Jackson's  The Fellowship of the Ring. The Bridge Direct has put out some nice product for The Hobbit films, but it hasn't seemed to be as hot of a property as hoped for. All of the Desolation of Smaug product is exclusive to Toys R Us and I was incredibly excited to find Radagast the Brown there last week. Whether you're a fan of the The Hobbit or are simply bolstering your Toy Biz Lord of the Rings roster, you should be pretty satisfied with this resident of Rhosgobel. More after the break....

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Toy Review: Sect of Rand from Mordles by ToyFinity

     While there are lots of smaller independent toylines available these days which are inspired by classic toys from the 70's, 80's, and 90's, it's rare for one of those lines to be officially owned and branded by a former fan. That's exactly what happened with Mordles, however, the small miniscule fodder for the larger creatures from Ideal's 1985 line Rocks & Bugs & Things. The good folks at ToyFinity actually managed to purchase the rights to these guys and have been cranking out Mordles left and right beginning this summer. Selling for $1 each and $10 for ten packs, the Mordles are some of the coolest little minifigure monsters you're likely to find. They're adorably creepy and go great with plenty of toylines. Today I'm looking at one of the newest color schemes for the line, the red and black "Sect of Rand Edition." I'm also looking at one of the Explorer Mordles that comes free with each order. Ready to take a look at these tiny terrors? Then join me after the break....

Monday, December 9, 2013

Lego Review: Dol Guldur Ambush from The Hobbit:The Desolation of Smaug by Lego

     I have to admit that the prospect of seeing the Necromancer (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) battle Gandalf in The Hobbit really excited me. It's one of those details from the book/s that has always appealed to me and I'm excited to see the scene come to life. In their new series of The Hobbit sets Lego has dedicated two sets to a battle that takes place at Dol Guldur. The larger set is called "Dol Guldur Battle" and features the ruins of the fortress proper along with Gandalf, Radagast the Brown, and the Necromancer himself; it definitely appears to be the "flagship" set for this series. Today's review is the smaller set "Dol Guldur Ambush" and is designed to attach on to the larger set. It's a neat feature that expands the other set (which I should get around to reviewing later this week) and adds not only a few more traps to Dol Guldur but also gives builders two more orcs and Beorn, the oft neglected character who can turn into a mother flippin' bear. That's right. A bear. Ready for a look at the Dol Guldur Ambush? Then join me after the break....

Saturday, December 7, 2013

RoboCop 3.0 from RoboCop by Jada Toys

     I'm pretty excited for the new RoboCop film that slated for release on February 12, 2014. While I absolutely adore Paul Verhoeven's original film and consider it a classic, it also is a film that I feel is a good candidate for a remake. Considering the cast that director Jose Padilha has assembled (Gary Oldman, Jackie Earl Haley, Samuel Jackson, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, and Miguel Ferrer) I have high hopes that the new film will be a worthwhile remake that brings a lot of new idea to the table. Today I'm talking about toy, however, and I was actually quite surprised to stumble upon these at a Toys R Us just the other night. From Jada Toys (a company I don't think I've ever heard of) we have a few figures based off of the new film in a variety of scales. There seems to be two 4 inch figures, two 6 inch figures, and some larger stuff like a remote control RoboCop on his motorcycle. I opted for the 4 inch 3.0 RoboCop that features his slick new outfit. I would have grabbed the 6 inch figure, but the figure literally has no lips sculpted onto the face which just looks really, really weird. Is this a worthwhile addition to the ever growing stable of great Robocop toys or is this a forgettable version of Detroit's favorite son? Read on and find out after the break....

Friday, December 6, 2013

A New Batgirl Review: Batgirl 1/24 from DC Universe Mystery Minis by Funko

  I don't know what it is about blind boxed/ bagged stuff, but there's something really exciting about it. Maybe it's the modern day equivalent of getting cool little toys from gumball machines. I love that, except when you're trying to get a specific figure or character. Thus was the case with the new DC Universe Mystery Minis by Funko. Featuring a cool roster of Batman centric characters including Batman himself, Catwoman, the Joker (both comic and Ledger), Penguin, Riddler, and of course Batgirl in a variety of poses, while I like all of those characters the only figure I really wanted for my collection was one of the three Batgirl figures. Fortunately, I managed to pick one up on E-bay so I knew what I was getting. These vinyl figures are fun and stylized like Funko's Pop! figures but are smaller. Ready for a look at one? Then join me after the break....

Action Figure Review: Battle Shell Raphael from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Playmates

   I have fond memories of the original Storage Shell Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures. While Donatello was the first released (in 1990), the rest came out in 1991 and were a great way to get fairly standard versions of the Turtles again along with some great accessories. I've always loved action figures that could carry accessories in some way and these guys delivered. In the spirit of those originals, Playmates has now released the Battle Shell Turtles into the new TMNT line. Today I'm looking at Raphael, my favorite turtle and the coolest but rudest dude you're likely to meet. Before I begin the review proper, however, can I say that I'm extremely impressed with how Playmates is handling this line? While the majority of the figures fall into the average/ slightly above average category, they've put out a ton of figures and vehicles in a little over a year and they've managed to make the figures able to be found by supplying retailers with enough of them. While traveling the last week or so I think I managed to see pretty much every figure in the line released to date except for maybe April. That's pretty impressive considering most toylines these days seem to either stagnate or only make one production run of each figure. Anyways, let's get into looking at Raph.....

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Cool Kickstarter Campaign: Cheesetroyer Cheeseburger Glow in the Dark Vinyl Toy


Ready for a kaiju that really brings the beef?

Glenn at Bad Teeth Comics sent me a press release regarding a really cool Kickstarter project he's working on for a new 4.5 inch vinyl toy: The Cheesetroyer! With "gross monster features, kaiju style and a cheeseburger for a head next to a sesame seed turtle shell", this is a toy that you're going to want to add to your shelf and/or possibly snack on (*editors note: toy is not really edible*).

     If you're interested in this guy, head on over to Kickstarter and check him out. Bad Teeth has lots of different versions of this guy available and some other pledge incentives including a comic book. They're pretty close to their goal so head on over and pitch in. More pictures and the press release after the break....


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Action Figure Barbecue: Castle Grayskull, Adam West, Carl Grimes, Batman, Daleks, Demona, Kry-Sis, "Mime" Joker, Power Lords, Ra's al Ghul, Scarabus, Rat King, Spider Bytez, and Legendary Battlers

Image from Pixel Dan.com
While you'e winding down from your Black Friday shopping and gearing up for Cyber Monday deals, why not take a break and read some great toy reviews from all across the interwebs?

      I don't think any review this week could possible could compare to Pixel Dan's video review of the Masters of the Universe Classics Castle Grayskull. While I'm still waiting for Mattel to charge my card again and ship my castle, Dan makes the wait just a little easier with his 40 minute epic that covers pretty much every detail of the ancient fortress of mystery and power. While I'm a little disappointed at the size (it really does't look much taller than the 200X castle, the sculpt and detail look petty sweet.

     John Gaither over at the Clawful Punch won the Adam West Batman from our Epic Grab Bag contest and put up a review of the figure.  John's figure has a really weird issue with having dirty knees (not the reason we offered the figure as a prize) that I know mine didn't have. Really bizarre stuff.    
  Over at Action Figure Imagery, Action Figure Man has been reviewing the newest Walking Dead series, my favorite being Carl Grimes. While I've not been collecting this line (I don't like the weird scale) I have read all of the reviews of these guys and checked out Brad's figures and I'm pretty impressed with Carl. He's a pretty nice looking figure that really captures the likeness of the actor portraying him.

More after the break......

Friday, November 29, 2013

Action Figure Review: The Joker from The New 52: Super Villains by DC Collectibles

     On an older episode of the Confirmed Epic Podcast Brad and I discussed the New 52's Death of the Family story arc that covered 23 issues across nine different titles. Advertising the return of the Joker into the New 52 and paying homage to 1988's A Death in the Family story line (which featured the death of Jason Todd by the Joker's hand), Death of the Family focused on the Joker's plans to eliminate the Batfamily in order to restore the original dynamic between himself and the Caped Crusader. In order to convey the Joker's new personality and purpose, he was depicted by writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo as trading in his classic purple suit and deadly prankster gags for a more utilitarian workman's outfit and a tool belt. DC Collectibles has really been impressing me lately as they've upped the quality control and the detail of the product they've been producing, so is Joker another success? Read on and find out after the break....

Thursday, November 28, 2013

McDonald's Eggnog Milkshake Review

November the 26th

From the journal of Barbecue the 17th,

     It has been a long trek through sleet, slush, and snow on my way to holiday festivities with family but alas, I have taken respite for the night in a humble inn. Upon bargaining with the innkeeper for a night's keep and surveying my lodgings, I secured my baggage and trod over to the nearest purveyor of general goods, whale oil, and edibles in order to make my sustenance for the night. The eatery was run by a Mr. McDonald and served grilled patties of beef served on a split bun with condiments, sliced fried potatoes, and cold milk based beverages with a variety of sweeties blended into them. I was intrigued by one of these shaken milk refreshments that was based around the traditional holiday beverage Eggnog. I ordered one from the burger-keep, passed him some coinage, and sat down to wait and discuss the issues of the day with other travelers enjoying their meals. As the snow danced down like ash from Mount Vesuvius, I sat waiting for the employees of Mr. McDonald to freshly prepare my meal. I watched as the strange, milky beverage was produced from what I can only assume was some sort of steam powered cow and served to me in what appeared to be a soft, flexible glass. I don't know what sort of devilry this Mr. McDonald employees, but the luscious, yellow beverage dazzled my tastes and caused my holiday spirits to soar. More on the next page....

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A New Batgirl Review: Steampunk Batgirl from Ame-Comi Heroine Series by DC Collectibles

     While I prefer Kotobukiya's Bishoujo line, DC Collectibles has also given fans a way to get fun, anime inspired versions of their favorite DC heroines and villainesses with ther Ame-Comi line. While I've tried to pick up all of the DC females in Kotobukiya's line, I've only been buying the Batgirl related figures in Ame-Comi and fortunately I now have another Batgirl to add to the shelf: Steampunk Batgirl. While the genre has been around for quite some time, steampunk seems to be getting more and more popular over the last few years, especially when it comes to cosplay. Look through pictures of cosplayers from any of the major conventions and you're likely to see a few versions of popular comic book characters that have been rendered in the popular steampunk style. Now DC Collectibles has jumped in and offered us a statue of Barbara Gordon as Batgirl in some very cool steampunk garb. Ready for a look at Babs in her neo-Victorian finest? Then join me after the break....

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

New Mystical Warriors of the Ring Colors from Fantastic Plastic Toys!

     Just got this announcement from Mark at Fantastic Plastic Toys, creator of the super cool Mystical Warriors of the Ring line. I reviewed the first set of their PVC figures here which consisted of Kayin Kungaa, Sheldon Sabre, and Widowmaker. Soon these guys will be back in three cool new colors:

After a successful launch with our Flesh and Red, we are now releasing 3 more colors for the Holiday Season. They are currently in transit from China and we hope to have them available shortly.
In honor of our partnership with True Cast Studio (whose company color is Blue) and our use of metallic in our prototypes we are offering a Pearlescent Blue colorway. This will be the standard $9.00 per 3 pack and will be available on our True Cast Studio Store. You might be familiar with the use of Pearlescent colors with the recent Onell Glyos drops.

(continued after the break- with more pictures!)

Action Figure Review: Geldor from Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel

     Last year Mattel offered subscribers a chance to vote on a figure that would appear in the 2013 subscription. The options were Crash Landing Marlena, Cloak & Dagger Evil-Lyn, "Mini-Comic" Trap-Jaw, Illumina, Songster, Camo Kobra Khan, Green Demon, and Geldor. While I was pulling for Illumina (who ended up in second place), Geldor won the poll and thus he's the figure I'm reviewing today. Appearing in the mini-comic The Secret Liquid of Life, Geldor is a villain searching for the titular liquid that will grant him eternal life. He's a rough, tough, barbarian looking gent that's ready to cause trouble just for a drink of water. Ready for a look at this guy? I am- while I'm still bitter about Illumina's loss, I am a fan of the more straight up barbarian characters in the line and this guy would look right at home fighting He-Man, Vikor, Vykron, and King Grayskull. Join me after the break....

Monday, November 25, 2013

Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Confirmed Great and Three Quarters)

The Hunger Games, much like Harry Potter and Twilight, was an instant hit when it first came out in hard back. Now that the second film in the three part series, Catching Fire, has been released in the United States the craze has rekindled (bad fire pun intended).  I went with one of my good friends to see Catching Fire this past Sunday and I must say we were not disappointed! Read more about this fabulous conflagration of a movie after the break!

Action Figure Review: Sea Hawk from Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel

     Sea Hawk is the captain of the Solar Sailor and one of those pirates with a heart of gold beneath his rugged, roguish exterior. Appearing in a few episodes of She-Ra: Princess of Power, Sea Hawk made an impression on many Masters of the Universe fans with his charismatic and swashbuckling demeanor, his snappy fashion sense, and his inexplicable combination of having red hair and a red beard combined with black eyebrows and a  mustache. As the November figure in Mattel's Club Filmation subscription, Sea Hawk is actually a bit exclusive as he was not available for sale to non-subscribers on Mattycollector.com. We've known this for awhile, though, and clearly it was a sales tactic to encourage people to subscribe and not just a random instance of Sea Hawk being a figure made in lesser numbers. So, ready to ready to read about a pirate with a laser sword and an ascot? Then join me after the break....

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Action Figure Barbecue: Batman, Batros, Brickwarriors, Daleks, DC Universe, Chibis, Prometheus, Joker, KA Mumb, Lifeline, Nepthu, TMNT Comics, R2-D2, and Christmas Cheese!

Image from Misfit Robot Daydream
     It's the weekend before Thanksgiving! As you're getting ready for all of your Turkey Day festivities, here's a list of some great reviews and commentaries from the past week that I really enjoyed during my journeys across the Interwebs. Reviews here on the site may be a bit sporadic this week as I make my homemade stuffing and cranberry sauce, but I'll be sure to get a few things up. In the words of the always quotable Reel Brad Bell, "Happy Collecting Everyone!"

     As part of their Crime Fighters and Criminals Month, Joshua Raymond at Misfit Robot Daydream did an excellent review of NECA's 1/4 scale Adam West Batman. This thing is amazing and definitely a toy I'm not trying to track down! The accessories and extra hands that come with this thing really make it work!

     While I don't agree with most of his review, Doc Thomas's review of MOTUC Batros at PoeGhostal.com is pretty funny and definitely worth reading.

     I always like seeing reviews for cool stuff I didn't know existed and this week I was surprised by Eric Stettmeier's review of the Brickwarrior's Weapons Pack at Toyriffic. These are some really cool bagged accessory kits from BrickWarriors to spice up your Lego minifigures and make them even more awesome. The jester set is truly wicked!

Lots more after the break.....

Friday, November 22, 2013

Action Figure Review: Blast and Battle Batcave from Batman: Power Attack by Mattel

     Every now and then I buy something just on a whim. I was at Big Lots on Saturday and saw the Blast and Battle Batcave from Mattel's Power Attack Batman line on sale for $15. I said to myself, "What the heck?" At the very least I could use it for a backdrop when taking pictures for reviews. It's a pretty decently sized item and came with a Batman action figure. While the line seems to be ending in favor of Mattel's new DC Total Heroes, the Power Attack Batman line has been Mattel's evergreen Batman line for about the past year and a half. It's definitely designed for kids and features a very stylized look, but for this set I figured "How often do you get to buy a Batcave?" Batcaves have always been some of the most prominent and best playsets available, which is interesting because rarely does much combat occur in the Batcave (part of the reason why Kenner's six paneled Batcave playset is one of the best playsets ever). Still, Batcaves are awesome in general, so I paid my cash plus tax to the cashier and left Big Lots with the Blast and Battle Batcave. How is it? Read on and find out, chum!

Action Figure Review: John J. Rambo (Survival Version) from Rambo by NECA

     Back in June I reviewed the first Rambo figure released by NECA which portrayed Rambo as seen on the classic movie poster for First Blood and during the film's climax. Today I'm looking at the second figure in NECA's Rambo series which is called the Survival Version and represents Stallone's John J. Rambo character as he appears throughout First Blood as he is evading the Washington State Patrol and the National Guard. Decked out in his makeshift poncho and armed with the various weapons he has gathered from his pursuer or crafted himself, this guy is ready to start an all out war. Ready for a look at the Survival Version of Rambo? Then join me after the break...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Action Figure Review: Fortress Armory Manhole Cover for Castle Grayskull by BadVermin

     Today's review is an interesting piece by custom toymaker and He-Man.org member BadVermin that's designed to fix a problem with the upcoming Masters of the Universe Classics Castle Grayskull. It's the Fortress Armory Manhole Cover, a double sided manhole cover that will fill in a gap in the floor of the interior of the Castle Grayskull playset. In the new Castle Grayskull, there is an extra floor piece that has a hole in it which was designed to hold the arm of the Wind Raider stand so that the Wind Raider can be docked inside of the castle. It seems that many fans weren't happy with the feature, however, and lamented the fact that the floor extension would have an ugly hole in it. Well, not any more! With this double sided piece you can cover that hole with either a rusted metal seal or a worn wood cover. Want to learn more about a simple way to improve your Castle Grayskull? Then read on after the break....  

Action Figure Review: Sky High with Jet Sled from Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel

     When I eventually release my top ten MOTUC figures of the year list, I'm really going to have a tough time narrowing things down because there have been so many good figures this year. One of the ones that came out of nowhere was Sky High and the Jet Sled. In my review of the Fighting Foe Men I discussed that the characters were originally used as the drivers in the painted box artwork of the Monogram model kids. We got the Roton driver, the Attak Trak driver, and the Talon Fighter driver, but strangely were missing the Wind Raider pilot which was the only vehicle we had in MOTUC at the time. Not only did Mattel rectify the problem of not giving us a Wind Raider pilot but they also managed to give us our second vehicle for the line, the Jet Sled. In the vintage line the Jet Sled was the front part of the Battle Ram Chariot vehicle and later appeared as the default air transportation for both heroes and villains in the Filmation animated series. Mattel opted to package together the Jet Sled and the Wind Raider pilot (now named Sky High) as an item available outside of the subscription. Ready for a look at both Sky High and the Jet Sled and some discussion regarding the way Mattel delivered them to collectors? Then join me after the break...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Toy Review: Marauders Inc. Series #7 part 1

     I've been a fan of Marauders Inc. for quite some time, probably since I saw this interview with them conducted by Fred Meyer of Joe Battlelines back in 2007. What is Marauders Inc. you might ask? They're a small company that manufactures weapons for 1/18th scale action figures. While the majority of their fan base are G.I. Joe and 1/18th scale military collectors, you could easily use their equipment with Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Marvel Universe, or any other 1/18th scale toyline. While Hasbro's G.I. Joe line has always had scads of cool accessories, they haven't always had the most regular weapons. Marauders started out manufacturing basic weapons that collectors building armies might want such as AK-47s, M-4, and standard pistols but quickly moved on to more elaborate and exotic weapons. Then they started offering weapons with removable magazines and silencers. Then they started offering weapons that were modular and featured removable sights, flashlights, and tactical grips. To finance their latest series (series #7) Marauders Inc. utilized Kickstarter. My Kickstarter items just arrived and I managed to get most of series #7. There are a few extra pieces from series #7 which I've ordered that I'll be reviewing as soon as they arrive. Ready for a look at the very cool weapons of Marauders Inc.? Then join me after the break....

Action Figure Review: Strobo from Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel

     So far, Strobo has not been an easy figure for Masters of the Universe Classics fans to get their hands on. Being the traveling convention exclusive for 2013, Strobo has only been available in fairly limited numbers at a few different conventions and was available very, very briefly as in the subscription holder's early access sale early this summer (I was there right when the sale started and couldn't procure one). Fortunately Strobo is now slated to be available on Cyber Monday on Mattycollector.com so hopefully more fans will have a chance to grab what is undeniably a very cool action figure that comes with a crucial extra: the unhelmeted head for the 200x version of Zodak. It's important that Strobo's a pretty cool action figure because by no stretch of the imagination is Strobo a well know character; his only appearance was in the story "The Dark Power of Skeletor" from an issue of Masters of the Universe Magazine. Of course, sometimes these lesser known characters turn out to be the most exciting figures in the line. How does Strobo fare? Read on and find out after the break....

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Action Figure Review 90's Edition: Catwoman from Batman: Special Legends Edition by Kenner

     Wait, didn't I just review this figure yesterday? Well, kind of but not really. The Catwoman I reviewed was a regularly released figure that was part of the first series of Kenner's Legends of Batman line in 1994. A few years later after that line ended Kenner made a few exclusive repaints available to collectors through Warner Bros. Studio Stores, a chain of stores selling Warner Brothers merchandise (similar to Disney Stores) that all closed in 2001. The packaging was different and featured a large image of Batman against a purple background. The defining title on the package was "Batman" with "Special Legends Edition" written above in smaller text so I'm choosing to list these as a separate line. The figures were essentially just repaints of previously released figures but since I've always had a fondness for this Catwoman figure I decided to pick this one up as well. Since the figure is simply a repaint, I'm going to reuse a good bit of material from yesterday's review. Deal with it. When you're ready, the review of Ms. Kyle is after the break....

Action Figure Review: Sandtrooper from Star Wars Black by Hasbro

     I'm always intrigued regarding the characters Kenner chose to include in the vintage Star Wars line and the characters they left out. While I wasn't born until 1983, discovering the vintage line during the mid 1990's was a magical experience as there was just so much product out there. Figures, vehicles, beasts, and play sets: the Kenner line had it all. Well, all except for the Sandtrooper. The Sandtrooper was always one of those characters that seemed like a glaring omission from the vintage line. To think that Kenner even went about creating a Dewback and yet left out the Sandtrooper. Of course, the Sandtrooper was always a fairly easy custom for fans of both the vintage and Power of the Force II lines, but fairly early into POTF II (around December of 1996) Kenner released the first official Sandtrooper with a second to follow in fall of 1997, mounted on a Dewback. Interestingly in Star Wars Black, Hasbro chose to get the Sandtrooper into the hands of collectors right out of the gate. It was an interesting choice, but one that turned out to be a great figure. Let's look at this guy a little more closely after the break....

Monday, November 18, 2013

Action Figure Review 90's Edition: Catwoman from Legends of Batman by Kenner

 I'm almost through reviewing a huge lot of Legends of Batman toys I picked up over the summer from a seller, but I've still got a few good ones left. Right now, however, I'm reviewing a figure that I've owned for quite a few years: the Legends of Batman Catwoman. Based on the Catwoman from the early to mid 1990's as drawn by Jim Balent, I think this was easily one of the best figures in Kenner's Legends of Batman line and as a kid it quickly replaced my Batman Returns Catwoman figure (the figure only, however, as no one will ever replace Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman). Ready to get clawed? Then join me after the break...

Action Figure Review: M.O.U.S.E.R.S. from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Playmates

While my assumption is that most of you reading this site are quite familiar with toy collecting terminology, I'm aware that there's always someone out there who is new to the hobby. Just like you. Hi there! I see you over there. That's a mighty fine set of boots you're wearing. Mighty fine, indeed. What's that? You don't know what army building is? Well, allow me to educate you then: army building is the term for purchasing multiples of an action figure such as a Stormtrooper, Viper, Horde Trooper, or other nameless, faceless grunt in order to create a large group. Think about it- how often does just one Uruk-Hai attack the fellowship? How often does Wolverine fight just one Hand Ninja? How often does just one Goomba attack Mario? Rarely to never: that's how often!
As a kid, the first line that ever made me want to army build was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Perhaps it was due to the influence of the arcade game, but every time I played with my TMNT figures I wanted to have them fight groups of either Foot Soldiers or Mousers, just like in the game. Army building is a tough thing for a kid to explain to a parent, however, and while I had many TMNT figures, I never had more than one Foot Solider or more than one Mouser. The first line I was able to decently army build with was Star Wars: Power of the Force II due to the presence of additional Stormtroopers such as the Luke and Han figures in disguise, the Crowd Control Stormtrooper, and some of the cinema scenes sets. I also had a good friend, Felix, who traded me lots of his Star Wars figures for Batman figures (a trade I wish I never had made) but at the time netted me additional Snowtroopers, Stormtroopers, and Rebel Soldiers. Anyways, that's army building in a nutshell, and fortunately Playmates has made it easy for TMNT fans (both young and old) to army build MOUSERS by packaging them seven to a pack. I love this idea and was really excited to find this set. Ready for some cool metal minions? Then join me after the break....

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Action Figure Barbecue: McFarlane's Frankenstein, Tenkai Knights, Poison Ivy, IG-88, Neca Predators, Wrecker, and Battle Damaged Batgirl

Image from The Clawful Punch

     What toy reviews jumped out at me this week? Here's a few that I've read and enjoyed:

* John Gaither at The Clawful Punch has taken a look at one of the first series McFarlane's Monsters sets: The Frankenstein Playset! These sets are some of my favorite toys ever and I'm always excited when someone else starts collecting them!

* Alexx at Toys and Tomfoolery has reviewed a cool new building line I had never heard of: Tenkai Knights from Ionix. Alexx looks at Vilius, Bravenwolf, and Lydendoor. These guys are smaller than Lego Bionicle and Hero Factory stuff but look amazing and have a really cool gimmick. Alexx is also hilarious, so expect to see pics of these guys wailing on guitars.

*Michael W. Crawford at MWCtoys.com looked at Poison Ivy from the very cool DC Bombshells statue line. I've got the Batgirl from this line already preordered, but all the figures in this set are quite tempting. Michael has probably cost me more money than anyone else on the net due to his great reviews of DC statues.

More after the break.....

Friday, November 15, 2013

Action Figure Review: Bane from Arkham Origins by DC Collectibles

      I was simultaneously shocked and impressed when my Arkham Origins Bane arrived from Big Bad Toy Store- not only was he larger than the other figures in the line and packaged in a nice window box, but he also was sold at the same price point. Remember how DC Collectibles charged around 2 1/2 times as much for the Arkham City Mr. Freeze as they did for a basic figure even though he wasn't much larger than one? Well, it seems that DC Collectibles is really making a turn around. QC seems to be improving, character selection is fantastic, and while Mattel's 6 inch DC offerings seem to be winding down, the future seems really exciting for DC Collectibles. While Bane is a character that has received quite a few action figures in the past, this is a new look for him in the Arkham-verse. While the Arkham Asylum and Arkham City Bane represented a very roided out and mentally impaired version of Bane, the Arkham Origins version represents Bane as the brilliant and cunning criminal mastermind that terrorized Gotham and broke Batman in Knightfall and The Dark Knight Rises. It's a neat figure that's plagued by a few unfortunate problems. Ready for a look at one of the eight assassins hired by Black Mask to kill Batman? Then join me after the break?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Action Figure Review: Dual Destruction Two-Face from Batman: Power Attack by Mattel

There is just too much Batman stuff out there for any normal collector to collect it all. To help me out, I've created a priority list to help me determine what I buy:

Tier One: Batgirl stuff- Figures, busts, autographs, etc. If it's based on Barbara Gordon as Batgirl (or Oracle) I'm on it like white on rice.

Tier Two: Batman, Villians, or Bat-Family members in the 6-7 inch scales: Basically any Batman figure, villains or other Gothamites from DC Collectibles, DC Direct, or Mattel.

Tier Three: Villains in any scale- This can be Batman: The Animated Series figures, Infinite Heroes, or older movie figures. I'm sort of picky with these and the more unique the villain is, the more likely I am to hunt them down.

Tier Four: Other Batman stuff- Legends of Batman, Imaginext, etc.

     Today I'm looking at the Dual Destruction Two-Face from the Batman: Power Attack line by Mattel. These are the current (well, they seem to be being phased out) evergreen Batman line that are targeted more towards kids than collectors. He's a Tier Three buy for me, which is why I only picked him up in a bargain bin for $2.99 at the Great Escape in Madison, Tennessee (shout out!). He's a pretty cool version of Two-Face and I like him a lot more than the previous Power Attack figure I reviewed, Attack in the Box Joker. Ready for a closer look? Let's do it!

Action Figure Review: Horde Troopers from Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel

      Maybe I'm just a sucker for Masters of the Universe or maybe Mattel really has been on fire this year, but I definitely think that this has been one of the best years for MOTUC figures yet. It's amazing that this line, which so many seem to love to hate, has now gone on for over five years now with no relaunches, changes in scale, or changes in style. Well over a hundred figures in and we're still getting new accessory packs, vehicles, beasts, giants, and soon an in-scale Castle Grayskull! Today I'm looking at one of the sets that has been eagerly awaited for years: The Horde Troopers! The evil robotic minions of Hordak are probably the most significant and well known army builders in Masters of the Universe. Mattel packed two of them together and released them as the quarterly bonus figure for the 2013 Club Eternia subscription and I'm going to be looking at them today. Ready? For the Honor of Grayskull!!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Action Figure Review: Biker Scout from Star Wars Black by Hasbro

It's tough to decide which Imperial Troopers have the coolest outfits, but I'm always willing to throw Scout Troopers/ Biker Scouts into the running. I've always liked these guys and just recently realized that the most recent Biker Scout I owned was the POTF II version that came with the Speeder Bike. You know, the one from 1996 that looked like he was riding a horse. Yup. I decided it was time to add an updated version to my ranks, so here it is. This guy's part of the first series of the 1/18th scale Star Wars Black line and is mostly a repack of the 2012 Toys 'R Us exclusive Biker Scout with Speeder Bike set, so if you have that you pretty much this figure, too. Still, I didn't have that set so this guy's all new to me. More Biker Scout goodness after the break....

Action Figure Review: Batman from Batman Classic TV Series by Mattel

  While we recently gave away one of these guys free in our Epic Grab Bag Contest, I still hadn't reviewed mine yet. I think it's safe to say that the Adam West Batman from the 1966 TV show is one of the most popular action figures of 2013. Everyone seems to have bought him. Really, other than the Family Guy figure (which I own) or one of vintage Mego products, this is pretty much your first chance to get an Adam West action figure so it's understandable why fans went nuts. I'm a big fan of the 1966 TV series (heck, I'm even a member of the Yvonne Craig Fan Club) so I was thrilled when the floodgates opened and merchandise from the series poured forth. I originally planned on being an ultra completest with this line...but then I bought this figure. Looking at most people's reviews I'm thinking I must be in the minority, but I'll just go out and say that I think this might be the most disappointing action figure of the year for me. Ready to hear me rant and rave? Well, follow me past the break and the ranting and raving will begin...

Monday, November 11, 2013

Epic Finds: Spider-Woman Stamp

Oh, Spider-Woman, how I love thee!

     Just a quick blurb on my recent find: Personally, I think Spider-Woman is the hottest of all the Marvel and DC heroines. No one comes close (not even Batgirl) [*FYI, This will be both Terry's first and last post- The Editor*]. I've spent the past few years collecting everything I can get my hands on and over the weekend, I found this stamp. More details and pictures after the break.....

Action Figure Review: Boba Fett from Star Wars Black by Hasbro

Who says "As you wish", keeps his face covered, and is hotter than melted butter on your breakfast toast? It's Boba Fett of course. Does the subject of today's review really need any introduction? Nope, but he's getting one! In the immortal words of mc chris:


My backpack's got jets
Well I'm Boba the Fett
Well I bounty hunt for Jabba Hutt
To finance my 'Vette

-from Fett's Vette by mc chris


Heck yeah. Boba Fett, baby. While this guy doesn't have the Han Solo in Carbonite accessory with him that SDCC 2013 exclusive version did, he's also not going to cost you the price of a 'Vette to procure him, either. Is there any character that fans really wanted more in a 6 inch Star Wars line than Boba Fett? I'd say maybe a Star Wars Black Darth Vader might be pretty appealing, but the Fett man's where it's at. I don't own the SDCC version, so this guy is all new to me. Is he worth the money? You better believe it! Check him out after the break...

Friday, November 8, 2013

Action Figure Review: The Joker & Harley Quinn from DC Super Friends Imaginext by Fisher Price

Every year I pick up a few Batman Imaginext figures simply because they're really cool. One figure I really wanted was Harley Quinn, but she was released in pretty limited numbers initially and thus quickly began being sold for ridiculous prices by scalpers. Thankfully, as part of Imaginext's extensive DC line at Target (including great figures like Black Manta and Gorilla Grodd) Harley Quinn and the Joker have been released. This isn't the same Joker as the figure that can be found in other Imaginext sets, either. I've reviewed that Joker here and can say with confidence that I prefer the Joker released in this set. So, a two pack of Harley Quinn and her puddin' Joker as kids toys- what could be better? Read on and learn more about this dastardly duo after the break....

Action Figure Review: The Joker from Arkham Origins by DC Collectibles

 I'm a little further in Batman: Arkham Origins than I was when I reviewed Black Mask earlier in the week, so I know that the Joker is involved with the plot. Typically I would mark that kind of reveal as a spoiler, but since the figure was released about the same time as the game and the character was features prominently in the marketing of the game, I didn't figure it was much of a surprise to anyone. I mean, is it really a surprise when the Joker shows up anymore? Still, that doesn't mean I'm not glad to see the old guy when he does show up to pester Bats and that's exactly what he's doing here, although for the first time (at least in the Arkham universe). In Arkham Origins the Joker is not voiced by Mark Hamill as in the previous games but instead by Troy Baker (who voiced Robin and Two-Face in Arkham City and Booker DeWitt in Bioshock Infinite). With better quality control than some of the previous DC Collectibles releases (see here) and sculpting by Gentle Giant Studios, this series of figures positions itself to expand upon the previous waves of Arkham Asylum and Arkham City figures. Does it make the grade? Find out, after the break....