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Toy Fair 2015: Diamond Select Toys brings the best display ever

Feb 21 // Scarecroodle
The biggest news might be the 6-inch scale Ghostbusters figures which look a LOT better than the ones Mattel gave us a few years ago. Besides the superior sculpting, paint, and likenesses (although Ray's forehead still looks a little large, even compared to Dan Aykroyd's massive noggin), the figures will also include better accessories: each one seems to come with a proton stream and at least one of them includes the ecto-goggles & a full ghost trap. Now I wish I had waited 4 or 5 years instead of picking up Mattel's versions... DST also had a pretty full display for Tim Burton's holiday classic, The Nightmare Before Christmas. The selection apparently included articulate figures (possibly for the Select line?), oversized dolls, and a healthy amount of Minimates. Given the film's large cast, there's certainly a lot of room for these lines to grow. Personally, I need that Oogie ASAP. I was also excited to see a Marvel Select Doctor Strange. Yes, most companies with the Marvel license have done at least one good Doctor Strange (Toy Biz with its ML version, Hasbro with MU), but it's still really awesome to see a new one especially since the MS version will likely have alternate hands and some neat accessories. He stood alongside the recently announced MS Ant-Man and zombie Sabretooth, as well as the previously shown (and currently available?) Cable and Carnage. All of that was really exciting, but then I saw all of the Batman: The Animated Series stuff and... like... whoa. There were a lot of busts on display including Batman (one suspiciously looks like a Dark Knight Returns version?), Catwoman, Poison Ivy (who looks great), and the Phantasm. For those who enjoy more affordable busts, Joker and Harley Quinn each had a vinyl bank bust on a lower shelf. Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Ivy, and Batgirl will apparently also be getting full statues. I'm excited to see what else DST may do with the license. If that wasn't exciting enough, DST will also be producing Justice League Unlimited collectibles. This apparently includes a great-looking Supergirl and Wonder Woman. The selection also includes what look like lunchboxes as well as bottle openers. DST has apparently also expanded its My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic line of vinyl banks. I had somewhat lost track of these offerings but, as always, the poses look cute and they have neat stands. Hopefully the faces will be a bit nicer on the new ones. Oh, plus there were some Spongebob Squarepants Minimates on display. I can't remember if we'd seen all of these before. Finally, I just learned that the Cthulhu vinyl bank will be coming in an additional color (ie, more to buy). Plus there's some female character next to them that I don't recognize, although the design looks neat. Other items on display (and in the photo gallery) included: Black & white 6-inch Select Clerks figures (including Randall and Dante!) Some new TMNT stuff, including a neat Shredder buff and some vintage comic-style Turtles Minimates More Tarentino Minimates, including Beatrix in her coffin from Kill Bill vol. 2 Star Trek collectibles, including some items for Worf Godzilla collectibles, including a figure for Rodan A Predator bust of some sort Dragon Age Minimates Be sure to check out everything in the gallery. (In other news, I think I spent too much time putting this together.)
Awesome photo
It's hard to summarize what a delight it was to look over DST's NY Toy Fair 2015 booth for the first time. Just when you thought you were impressed or excited, there was something that almost blew that out of the water. The s...

Toy Fair 2015: Hasbro - Marvel Legends

Feb 17 // Scarecroodle
It's hard to know where even to begin, but let's start with Spider-Man Legends 2015 wave 2. The Build-a-Figure for the wave is the big guy, the beloved bruiser, Rhino. The figure apparently comes with TWO possible head-sculpts (probably one with a running change) giving you the option of a masked or open face. The articulation looks strongly reminiscent of DST's Marvel Select Rhino, but the new ML one also features an ab crunch (and probably better ankle movement). The sculpting is awesome and he should be a proper-sized (ie, big) BAF. The remainder of the wave features some long-overdue Spidey rogues in the form of Kraven (previously available in the MU line and, well, in Toy Biz's Spidey Classics line although this one looks a LOT better) and the Chameleon. This is the first time that the Chameleon has received a collector-level figure (one was almost produced in a Toy Biz line) and, to top things off, he comes with interchangeable heads for a J. Jonah Jameson disguise and a Hammerhead disguise. Also appearing is a new Ghost Rider (which looks decent), a figure for Misty Knight (who I had never heard of), Superior Venom, White Tiger (probably because she's featured in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon?), and Scarlet Spider. I'm *guessing* that at least Misty and White Tiger are running changes since there are seven basic figures in the wave. While I'll definitely get Chameleon and Kraven, I'm not sure if I'll buy the full wave. Next up is the Ant-Man wave (or Ant-Man Legends) which features some Ant-Man specific characters and some "orphans." Remember that Bulldozer who was supposed to be a running change for Wrecker? He's here. So is that Batroc the Leaper and Tigershark (hooray!). The selection also features Grim Reaper (no idea why, but not complaining), Giant Man (one of the only ones who kinda makes sense), Wasp, and, of course, the titular Ant-Man (with mini accessories). The wave's BAF is a movie Ultron which is a decent fit for the theme. While I already have a Toy Biz version of Wasp in that costume, I'm *still* tempted to pick this one up for some reason (and not just because the head kinda reminds me of Arya Stark). True be told, I'm not a fan of the cookie-cutter standard female mold but it looks like a good use here. Although I'm not overly fond of the movie Ultron BAF, I may grab the whole wave. Fans who want a more traditional Ultron can find it in a Target exclusive 3-pack along with a Vision and the Hulk. For US$50, this pack seems like a steal. I'm not sure whether this is supposed to be a phasing Vision or just the white version but I honestly don't care either way. This is the kind of Ultron I had *hoped* we would get with that Iron Man Legends wave. The base body is based on the Spider-Man Legends Beetle but the paint looks better (than either Beetle's plastic-y paint job or IML Ultron's weird silver mix) and Hasbro really nailed that evil-looking head. [EDIT: Earlier I had misattributed his body design to the same Titanium Man mold used for the IML Ultron... whoops!] Avengers Legends 2015 wave 3 features Thundara (who looks to use the larger She-Hulk mold), a green/yellow Vision, Valkyrie (who was supposed to be a running change for... you know, it's been so long I don't even remember), Doctor Strange, that Blizzard we saw a while back, a Marvel Now repaint of an Iron Man Classics (or whatever) Iron Man, and a War Machine repaint. The wave's BAF is the Hulkbuster Iron Man. The sculpt looks almost entirely new and he seems awesome. The wave itself leaves me with mixed feelings so I may buy him separately. I will say that Thundara and Vision seem like must-buys Last but not least, Amazon will have a movie Avengers 4-pack featuring Thor, Bruce Banner, Hawkeye, and Black Widow. It has a US$80 MSRP and looks okay, although it's probably something I'll skip. The SHIELD Agents that I *thought* were in an actual wave (Maria Hill, Coulson, Fury) are actually slated for a Toys "R" Us exclusive 3-pack. Finally, I tossed in an image of the Spider-Man Legends 2015 wave 1 Ultimate Spider-Girl because I don't believe we've covered it previously (and isn't to be confused with MC2 Spider-Girl who was mentioned). This version is a female clone of Peter Parker. There's some natural awkwardness. She does, however, outlive Peter Parker and has since then acted as a mentor for Miles Morales. Be sure to check out all of the images in the gallery. There are a LOT of them.
Marvel photo
I can practically feel the money flying out of my wallet already... especially with that higher US$20 MSRP
Ultron, Rhino, Wasp, Kraven, Chameleon, Ghost Rider, Hulkbuster Iron Man, and Vision were among the slew of Marvel Legends that Hasbro showed off in its press briefing. It's hard to appreciate the massive glut of figures shown (including some slated waves for guys I thought were MIA) but appreciate them you shall! Join me after the jump.

Batman photo
Feeling animated over more animated series figures
MTV News has stolen a sneak peek at DC Collectibles upcoming Batman: The Animated Series collectibles, including a look at character sheets which feature the accessories. It's kind of a big deal. The reveals include a 24-inch...

Bishoujo photo
Will Kotobukiya give us an awesome Bishoujo Raven?
You don't have to wait for Toy Fair to have all of your biggest Bishoujo questions answered. Kotobukiya has unveiled the full artworks for its Raven and Lady Deadpool at Winter WonFes (Mass Effect 3's Tali appeared as a silho...

Mako Two-Star photo
Two Stars Shining
Everybody agrees that magnificent klutz Mako Mankanshoku was the breakout star of Kill la Kill, but now she's getting a bunch of attitude and a whole lot more badass. Good Smile Company revealed that Mako will be returning fo...

MF Link photo
Legend of Zelda hero appears
What with figma Link and Nendoroid Toon Link popping up in Good Smile's portfolio over the past few years, it was surely only a matter of time before a full fat scale version of the legendary hero broke ground. And here he is...

Iron Man photo
An armored exosuit is perfect for power meetings
Pre-orders have opened for Square Enix's Variant Play Arts Kai Iron Man. First seen back in October, the VPAK Iron Man has some of a stealth vibe; eschewing the bright, metallic red & gold design widely associated with th...

Tomopop Review: Freddie Mercury

Jan 29 // Soul Tsukino
Figure Name: Freddie MercuryFigure Maker: Minifigures.comMSRP: £14.95 (US$22.68)Buy it at: Have I mentioned just how much of a fan of Queen I am? It is like a gift from the Gods (or my bosses). Already just getting it out of the shipping box I'm pleased with how professional this is done. The blister package is nice and secure, the card looks amazing and has a bio of Freddie on the back. And they even included a "Care Guide" for taking care of your minifigure. Looks like I'm going to need more pizza! Opening up the package, I looked over the figure and just as the company claims, it is a full 360 design of the costume he wore for the 1986 live concert at Wembley Stadium (look it up, it's a powerful show). The joints are nice and tight and the parts are firmly set in place. However I was in for another pleasant surprise when breaking him down I found hidden under his hair that he had a second "singing" face! Bonus points to Minifigures for that. He comes with a mic (of course!) so you can pose him belting out notes to your hearts delight. Wait. This isn't right. There we go! BTW: You don't want to mess with the security he hired. As you can see, I love this little figure. It is very well made, the art design of both the figure, the card, and the guide that came with it are great! If you are big into LEGO, I recommend giving Minifigures a look and pick up some famous faces for your collection. You will not be disappointed. [A huge thank you to Minifigures for providing us with this review sample!]
LEGO photo
A few weeks ago I was able to do a story on Minifigures, an England-based website where you could buy celebrity LEGO figures. I was happy to see that Queen frontman Freddie Mercury was one of the figures you could buy. I beca...

Tomopop Review: ThreeZero's Tyrion Lannister

Jan 27 // Kristina Pino
Figure Name: Game of Thrones: Tyrion LannisterFigure Maker: ThreeZero MSRP: ¥13,000Retail: HobbyLink Japan | BBTS | Entertainment Earth Tyrion is great, straight out of the box. All I did here was stand him up and put a goblet in his hand, because... well, he kind of demands it. He takes a little more effort to get standing on an uneven surface, like the gravel I photographed him on here, but it's do-able. The figure itself is hefty, super articulated, and easy to pose. He stands well on his own, and once you've got his feet planted it's easy enough to pop accessories into his hands for photos. Tyrion comes with three extra hands (the odd one is posed to grip his blade, which comes with a belt and sheath), the goblet, and a copy of An History Or The Great Sieges of Westeros by Archmaester Ch'vyalthan. The book itself is pretty heavy as well, and I should stress now, very delicate! I don't mean that it'll fall apart, more like the paint will scratch off or chip easily if you aren't careful, so please handle with care. Tyrion's clothing is made from actual cloth, which is pretty great. It really brings it all together, in terms of keeping things realistic. The vest is, of course, decorated with his Hand's badge and some clasps holding it together. And there's the belt (lower image) that comes around the figure straight out of the box, which is different from the one with his sheath and blade. I decided to pose his hand hooked there for most of this review. As I mentioned earlier, he's got some heft to him, and though he's got many points of articulation and a great range of motion, once you pose him a certain way, he doesn't budge easily. That makes it quite a simple affair to pose him with heavy objects such as this book, which you can, of course, pose under his arm or in other ways than this precarious situation I've got going on. I went ahead and piled on that second belt on with his blade at his hip. At this point, you can keep his goblet-grabbin' hand on to look like he's making for his blade, or you can unsheathe the blade and have it actually in his grip (below). Clearly, my belt-tying skills are no match for a chamber maid's or page boy's, but you get the idea. With a little wiggling, you can get the pommel and grip into Tyrion's hand, and then he's in business. His calm, yet furrowed expression is perfect for just about any pose you can think of. Speaking of his expression, the last bit of detail I'll talk about in this review is his head. Just look at that - with a little PhotoShop wizardry, one can no doubt make this look just like the real thing. This is lovely work, really well done, and I like the paint job on the hair as well. Of course, it's one thing to look at these details in a photograph, and it's another to look at the figure on your shelf. The colors work rather well together to enhance the look of the curls, and in low light you can't even notice there are different paint colors at all. But look at the subtle sculpt and paintwork on his face - the shading for shaved areas of the face, the lips, and the rest. Just lovely. As you can surely tell by now, this figure comes highly recommended by me. If you're a fan of Game of Thrones, especially of Tyrion Lannister, and you wanted one, centerpiece-worthy, high quality product to display, this is a good candidate. One of the biggest strengths of a figure like this is he doesn't require a stand or any props to lean on, so there's nothing to take away from his presence on a shelf or table. Add his sturdy build and poseability, and the possibilities are endless. Check out the gallery below for more images that didn't make it into the body of this review, and have a look at Good Smile Company's retail listing of the figure for even more shots, exploring more poses as well as a different lighting situation (my images were taken outdoors). I hope you've found this review helpful. Feel free to leave any questions or feedback in the comments section below, and share images of your own if you happen to have adopted your very own imp. [A big thanks goes to ThreeZero for providing Tomopop with this review sample.]
Game of Thrones photo
Hear him roar
This month saw the release of ThreeZero's Tyrion Lannister, which is based on the image of Peter Dinklage in the HBO series Game of Thrones. When it comes to figures based on real people, it's usually a hit-or-miss deal. The ...

Batwoman photo
'I'm a woman and here's my bat, hence Batwoman'
Like a bad cartoon pun, DC Collectibles' upcoming DC Comics Bombshells Batwoman re-envisions Kathy Kane as either a baseball player or a bat-wielding vigilante. The figure was recently featured as part of a Bombshells promoti...

Hot Toys Alien lady photo
H.R. Giger would be proud
Back in 2008, Hot Toys decided to put together a 1/6-scale figure for their Hot Angel line, the She-Predator Machiko. Based on a character from the Alien vs. Predator comics, it turned out to be surprisingly popular ... ...

Tomopop Original: It's ALIVE! A look at FrankenJoes

Dec 30 // Soul Tsukino
I've heard them called the "Real American Hero" sculpts; 3 3/4 inch sculpts, you know the ones. They had the back screws and rubber O-rings holding them together. They had loads more articulation than just about anything else at the time, didn't break the bank, and they were small enough you could have an entire army of them in a small box. And with a small enough screwdriver (or drill if need be), O-rings, and a little time, they could be fixed if anything was broken. You could also get really creative. Call them custom figures or FrankenJoes, these are when you start putting different pieces together and coming up with new characters of your own design. Some people take it to a whole different level with actually sculpting and painting their work to make things match, but since I like to actually use my figures, I've not been big on the repainting route, the paint usually doesn't last long with me. However, search on Google and you will find some crazy amazing customs out there. But for those of us who want to be creative, but don't want to have their figures sit on a self, there can be a big difference between a decent looking FrankenJoe, and one that just looks like crap. Take for instance this fellow. I named him Impact. This is actually the first custom Joe I made once I figured out to take apart and repair these figures. But this is the third version of the character. Why? I learned that not all parts fit together very well. Originally he used the chest of a character called Road Pig. Pig is one of the few figures made that were JACKED full of muscles (They also used this body mold for several of the Street Fighter Joes), but when taken apart the head of these figures are specially designed for the muscular body, and most of the regular figure heads don't fit. I did not realize this when I made him using a regular Snake-eyes head. One errant head move later and the original figure had a giant gaping hole in the chest. Lesson number One learned. So I found a still muscular frame, albeit smaller, but more importantly it fit with the parts that I had to work with. This is also a problem when you consider that older release Joes had a different canister shape assembly for the head joints, while later figures had a ball shaped assembly. Unless you are an expert in crafting plastic, they are not interchangeable. So don't try to force pieces together if they don't fit, things will break that way. I've discovered that the better looking custom figures are the ones with the least amount of modification. Here are some customs I made when I bought a junk parts lot on eBay a few years ago:   The first figure is largely a Voltar figure, but I replaced both arms with a different matching set, the head, and the waist piece. Next to him is another figure that started out as a spare Lifeline figure. The head was swapped out, as were the waist and legs from an older worn figure I had. Even if parts are a bit worn, the color scheme of Red and Blue work well together creating a well done figure without a lot of effort. Finally we have another couple of figures that was made of left over parts. Here it's not so much the color but the clothes that match well making the figures work. Sometimes just a headswap can radically change a figure, and sometimes you can really get away with being creative. But of course, with the good comes the bad. As you can see the parts don't really match up very well. I was trying to go a for a "man in the iron mask" look for this figure, and it just didn't happen,. Also the head that I used sits horribly in the chest so it just wobbles up and down. But for me, most of the fun is the process of getting the parts together and making a new character than the figure itself. It's a creative process and if you are into these figures as much as I am, it's a great way to not only recycle parts from broken figures, but a chance to be creative as well. I'd love to hear from anyone who customs their G.I. Joe figures, or any of their figures for that matter! Can you do better than my merry lot? Prove it and show what you've created!
FrankenJoes photo
Bringing new life to old parts.
I love G.I. Joe figures. I have since I was 7 years old. I got into them largely when Masters of the Universe ended. I watched the cartoon almost everyday and grew up on these figures, so I never developed much of a fandom fo...

What Toys Are Up To: Penguins in Berlin

Dec 02 // Martin Siggers
For those of you who haven't read my previous posts, the concept of these trips is very simple. I love shooting toys in new and unfamiliar surroundings, but I'm too much of a wuss to bring anime girls or action figures with me. The three penguins supplied with figma Princess of the Crystal however are perfect - small, distinctive and easy to carry about with no loose parts. So with that in mind, let's go off on our tour of Berlin, a city that stood at the centre of 20th century European history. One of Berlin's few remaining historical landmarks is the Siegessäule, or Victory Column. Sixty-seven meters tall, it commemorates a series of victorious wars waged by what was then Prussia in the mid to late 19th Century. Originally standing in the Königsplatz directly outside the German Parliament building, it was later moved several hundred meters to its present location, the large traffic intersection known as the Großer Stern (literally 'Great Star') The column is hollow and for a few euros you're able to go inside and climb to the top, where you can take in the gorgeous view. It may seem slightly odd to see what's apparently a massive wood in the middle of an industrial city, but this is the Tiergarten, a gigantic park that lies at the heart of the city's political and historic district. At 210 hectares, it's practically a forest. Visiting in autumn ensured the park was dappled in a fantastic variety of reds, browns, greens and yellows. The stylish blue of the penguins looks rather out of place in such a location. Also located nearby is the Reichstag, the mighty palace where the German parliament meets. Though it looks gothic and old, like most historical buildings in Berlin it's actually a bit of a facade, since the original was bombed into a shell during the last days of World War II. Large parts of the building were only restored following German reunification in the early 90s. The gorgeous all glass dome seen on top is a creation of famed architect Normam Foster and is open to the public. Though the Reichstag building may be newer than it looks, some parts of old Berlin really are old, such as the magnificent cathedral here. It was however significantly damaged during the war and took decades to be restored to its current condition. Somewhat unbelievably the most severe damage the church took was not from Allied bombing but from the Soviets, who blew up the northern wing in 1975 because they disliked its imperialist connections. Elsewhere, the ruins have been preserved as a memory of the hardship the city suffered. Here, the bombed-out remains of the original Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Chruch sit between the modern church and belfry of the same name. While much of its own history may have been lost to the ravages of the war, Berlin still loves looking back, and museums are a particular attraction. In fact, there's an entire district of the city dubbed "Museum Island" which plays host two five world-acclaimed museums - the Altes (Old) Museum, the Neues (New) Museum, the Alte Nationalgalerie, the Bode Museum and the Pergamon Museum. The last is particularly unusual, as its main attraction is a number of detailed full-scale recreations of real life historical locations and artifacts, including the namesake Pergamon Alter and (alert, Fate/Stay Night fans!) the Ishtar Gate of Babylon. Here, the Penguins are lounging about outside the Alte Nationalgalerie, which houses a huge collection of art ranging from Neo-Classical to Modernist, The statue outside the museum is of Prussian King Frederick William IV. But really they should just replace it with a statue of Penguin #1 By far and away the most famous historical landmark in Berlin is the Brandenburg Gate, which has become an icon of the city and in fact thee whole of Germany. Patterned after a Roman triumphal arch, it was built between 1788 and 1791 by the Prussian Emperor Frederic William II. Of course, it's nearly impossible to say anything about the history of Berlin without mentioning its defining landmark of the last century or so - the Berlin Wall. I'm sure plenty of you are familiar with the structure, but those of you who aren't, a brief history lesson. After Germany was defeated in World War II, the country was split into four segments, each under the control of one of the major Allied Powers - Great Britain, France, the United States and the USSR. Britain, France and the USA quickly joined their segments and formed the Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Republic of Germany) while the Soviets countered with the establishment of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (German Democratic Republic). This meant that for over forty years Germany as we know it today was in fact two entirely separate countries, each on either side of the Iron Curtain and each allied with a different power bloc. The West sided with NATO while the Soviet dominated East signed the Warsaw Pact. Berlin lay deep inside the Soviet-controleld sector of the country, but by agreement was also split into four corresponding zones. Once again the three western allies combined their segments leading to a direct division of the city. Many who lived in East Berlin took this opportunity to cross over into West Berlin and from there on to the Federal Republic by the permitted rail and plane links. The Soviets were desperate to stop this exodus of people, and attempted to blockade the western half in mid 1948 to force the Western Allies to abandon the city. Thanks to a huge airlift program the plan failed and the blockade was lifted almost 12 months later. Anyway, the net result of all of this was that by 1961, the Soviet government decided to take the most direct route possible to prevent escapees and simply built a bloody big wall between the two halves of the city. The wall stood for 28 years, becoming a symbol of the brutal divide between the western and eastern halves of Europe. Lined with barbed wire, spotlights and watchtowers, as many as 200 people were estimated to have been killed attempting to cross the 'death strip' that lay between the inner and outer walls. Though the war was gradually torn down following a public uprising in 1989 and the subsequent re-unification of Germany in 1990, large chunks of it still remain, as you can see behind the penguins above. The segment is in original concrete grey but other parts of the wall have been daubed in graffiti or even turned into outdoors art exhibits.   I actually arrived in Berlin during the week leading up the 25th anniversary of the wall's fall. There was widespread commemoration of the occasion, with special displays, planned exhibitions and a massive concert party to be held at the Brandenburg Gate, which since the end of the Cold War has become a symbol of a reunited Germany. Even 25 years have not fully healed the scars of division though. One of the places that best represents this lingering gap is the forum of Alexanderplatz, once under Soviet control. Though much has been done to renovate the area, it still has an undeniably grim, socialist sheen about it. Glass fronted skyscrapers and department stores sit uncomfortably alongside slab-sided Communist constructions. Looking the opposite way is a stark reminder of the way this world used to be. In the foreground the Communist built world clock turns slowly, reminding visitors of the time in long since irrelevant Soviet cities. In the background meanwhile towers one of the jewels of West Berlin, the TV Tower, which was when built the tallest building in Europe and a reminder of the West's superior financial and technological prowess. The observatyion deck of the tower provides a sweeping view across the city and seems an appropriate place to end our journey. Berlin's an odd, interesting city, one in which the old and the new seems constantly at war. It's less glamorous, less artful than the cities I've traveled to with the penguins before, but there's a sense of deep history in the very stones you walk on. It's a city torn by past conflict but with a bright future ahead of it. For that and many other reasons, I highly recommend a visit.
Penguins in Berlin photo
Ich bin ein Berliner
They've been to the city of water, and the land of chocolate and beer, so where would my intrepid penguins and I end up next on our tour around Europe? Well, what better place could there be than the heart of the continent, Germany? Or more specifically, its capital Berlin. Let's see what our intrepid adventurers could find this time round.

Super Mario photo
Or 1990 if you're from Japan... or 1992 if you live in Europe?
Yoshi! Everybody's favorite dinosaur plumber's assistant will be joining Mario and Luigi in Bandai's S.H. Figuarts line. First introduced in Super Mario World, Yoshi would go from being little more than a handy power-up to a ...

Batman photo

New photos of Bandai's S.H. Figuarts Harley Quinn (Injustice ver.) have appeared, courtesy of a listing on the Tamashii web store. The figure depicts the Joker's fangirl/love interest as she appeared in Injustice: Gods Among...

Retro photo
But will anybody actually buy this garbage... pail kids stuff?
There are some things in our childhoods that we love to remember... and also things we're still trying to forget. Funko has tapped into that latter category with upcoming collectibles to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the ...

Tomopop Review: DST's Marvel Select Amazing Spidey 2 Spider-Man

Nov 22 // Scarecroodle
Figure Name: Marvel Select Amazing Spider-Man 2 Spider-Man with baseFigure Maker: Diamond Select ToysRetail Price: US$24.99Available at: Diamond Select Toys DST's Amazing Spider-Man 2 Spidey comes in the usual Marvel Select packaging. As we've seen in the past, these movie (and tv) figures seem to forgo the usual heavily decorated inner box in favor of something basic (most likely due to licensing issues or the like). In this case, it's a generic lightning-looking design. The back of the card features a large character illustration alongside a brief bio. This space is usually dedicated to some product images of the figure and other offerings in the line. The other selections is naturally absent because Spidey was the only ASM2 character to receive a figure (which again goes back to an issue with DST getting reference materials in time. Granted, the company *could* have done an Emma Stone Gwen Stacy but there probably wasn't enough fan demand). While I like the visual, it's just weird to not see any product images at all. I own maybe thirty figures from DST's "Select" lines (in addition to seeing box shots) and can't recall one other instance of this happening. Before we go any further, I should mention that there are at *least* three configurations for this particular figure. I had known about the comic/specialty shop-exclusive "Fireman" Spidey and the Disney/ exclusive unmasked variant. However, until this arrived on my doorstep, I don't believe that I was even aware this one existed. As near as I can tell, it might just be a direct offering from Diamond Select Toys. What's so different, you ask? Both of the previously announced versions went very heavy on the accessories and lacked a base. This one takes the opposite approach by virtue of featuring only one alternate hand, two web accessories, and a wall diorama piece (which can be mounted on your wall). If that wall looks familiar, you might remember that it was the Marvel Select ASM1 Spidey's accessory that seemed to come with every version of that figure. It's not a bad accessory, but I imagine a lot of fans probably already have one from whichever version of the MS ASM1 Spidey they picked up. It's something of a baffling decision as well when you consider how many alternate parts the comic/specialty and Disney releases featured. The actual figure looks great, however. The sculpting is great, the paint apps feature crisp colors, and the jointing is generally unobtrusive. The paint on my copy features a few scrapes that, for the most part, are more visible in photographs due to the greater amount of lighting. Now for the all-important question: How does the "sequel" stand up to the previous version? For the most part, the Marvel Select ASM2 Spider-Man holds its own against the Marvel Select ASM1 Spider-Man (note: this is the Disney Store variant which uses a metallic paint). Despite both being movie Spider-Man figures, the two are surprisingly hard to compare. The baseline aesthetic is great on both figures but the ASM2 Spidey sports some very different jointing. The difference is most notable in the torso area. The ASM1 Spidey has a torso that seemingly gets slimmer as it gets up to the chest to accommodate the joint. The ASM2 instead sculpted the joint underneath the full ribcage which gives the torso a more consistent (although less athletic) look. The second notable change comes in the arms which have been greatly simplified. Where the previous model had 5 joints per arm (shoulder, bicep, pinned elbow, forearm, and pinned wrist) the new only features three joints (shoulder, elbow, wrist). I can understand dropping the forearm in favor of a more versatile wrist joint, but I was initially a little surprised that the bicep joint went as well. To compensate for the lack of a bicep joint, the ASM2 Spidey features a more versatile elbow joint. I'm less fond of the fact that the ASM2 Spidey is missing an extra joint at the calf since that added point of rotation helps when balancing with the foot pivot/ankle rockers. On the whole, both are good figures. However, the overall look of the ASM2 Spidey might be a bit nicer. Interestingly, the ASM2 Spidey looks larger (or beefier?) than his ASM1 counterpart despite being of very similar height. It may come down to the difference in torso or the ASM2 Spidey's larger head. The ASM2 Spidey poses fairly well. The hip joints might be a bit thinner than the previous model and thus allow for better movement. The open-hands are great for allowing things like hand-stands in addition to wall-crawling and spidey-sense-tingling poses. Assuming you buy the specialty store or Marvel/Disney exclusive, you'll also have an array of additional hands including web-shooter hands with webbing add-ons. Those additions seriously increase the display value of the figure. All versions of the MS ASM2 Spidey seem to come with the new "modular weblines" accessories. One of the webbing accessories has a piece that can peg into Spidey's fist for web-swinging poses. A connector on the other side can hook into the other webbing piece. While I'm honestly not sure how this is intended to work, you can snap the pieces together for a variety of effects. I was going to say that it's perfect for Rhino wrangling, but that didn't quite work out. Oh well, I guess comic book Spidey had his issues trying to web down Rhino as well. All things considered, Diamond Select Toys' Marvel Select Amazing Spider-Man 2 Spidey is probably the nicest version of the character in the affordable figure bracket. The overall design is good, the paint generally looks great, and he has most of the poseability you could want. The biggest drawback is that this particular configuration doesn't include all of the alternate parts that you'll find with the other variants. The diorama piece, while nice, certainly seems a little redundant given that many fans will own the Marvel Select ASM1 Spidey which also included the piece. Be sure to check out the rest of the Rhino fight in the gallery, among other photos.
ASM2 Spider-Man photo
Is the sequel an improvement?
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was the somewhat lukewarm follow-up to Sony's Spider-Man reboot. The film notably improved on Spider-Man's costume, giving movie-goers something closer to what they were used to, while jumping all ove...

Tomopop Review: Hashtag Collectibles' Grumpy Cat puppet

Nov 19 // Natalie Kipper
Toy name: Grumpy Cat puppetToy maker: Hashtag CollectiblesRetail price: US$35Available at: Hashtag Collectibles Meet the Grumpy Cat puppet. It says, "Hello", or it would if I was playing with it and not typing up this review. Uh, let's move on, shall we? The tag hangs on the puppet's right ear. The simple design, with just a Grumpy Cat's face and the toy's name on a matte black background helped to focus on the toy itself, and not be distracting should you choose to leave the tag on.  The puppet measures 10 inches tall, 6 inches wide, and 6 inches deep. Its tail adds on about 5 inches to the back. Speaking of the tail, it is lightly stuffed and has a nice curve to the middle of it, almost giving it a "C"-shape. The body is moderately stuffed but not so much that it is difficult to use as a puppet. Here we see were the puppeteer's hand goes when playing with their Grumpy Cat. The lining feels slightly webbed and airy. I was pleased to note that it did not feel scratchy or sweaty, even after having my hand in there for over five minutes of continuous play. I was surprised to discover that the softest part of the Grumpy cat puppet is the blue portion of its eyes. The whole toy is pleasingly soft and snuggly, don't get me wrong, but this tiny area takes it to a whole new level: silky yet fuzzy with just a hint of woolen texture to it. A pure delight. The only issue I had with my Grumpy Cat puppet was what appeared to be a manufacturing flaw in its mouth. One corner opens wider than the other which, unfortunately, makes the toy harder to manipulate in puppet form. I can't imagine that this problem is present in all of the puppets, but it may be something to look for. I could still get the puppet to make the signature scowl rather well. I also made it say phrases like, "I love rainy days", and "Cake makes me happy." It is the little things in life, you know. Despite the one manufacturing flaw in the mouth, I would still recommend Hashtag Collectibles' Grumpy Cat puppet. Mine may not have made the best puppet, but I think it is definitely the cutest piece of Grumpy Cat merchandise made and that, to me, is worth just as much. Plus, she still makes a darn good cuddle buddy. [A big thank-you to Hashtag Collectibles for supplying me with this sample!]
Review: Grumpy Cat puppet photo
The time I made Grumpy Cat say "Yes"
The internet sure does love cats and I can totally understand the sentiment. Lil Bub, Colonel Meow, and of course, Grumpy Cat (also known as Tardar Sauce) never cease to entertain. Being a fan of said kitties as well as a plu...

Snow Miku  photo
Yay, a figma Snow Miku that isn't just a repaint!
Snow Miku Snow Bell ver. is cute. Like, beyond belief adorably cute. Way too cute to be left as just a single figure so Good Smile Company and Max Factory are spreading the love. 2015 will be the first year were a new Snow Mi...

Horror photo
Get ready for pre-order madness
The end may be upon us, as Cthulhu has not only woken up but rolled out of bed into Funko's Pop! line. Even more frightening? He's currently available for pre-order! Cthulhu will be the third character to appear in Funko's Po...

Tomopop Review: DST's Creature from the Black Lagoon

Oct 29 // Scarecroodle
Figure Name: Universal Monsters Select Creature from the Black Lagoon Ver. 2Figure Maker: Diamond Select ToysRetail Price: US$24.99 (or around US$15 for the TRU version, if you can find it in stores)Available at: Diamond Select Toys | Entertainment Earth Long time readers may recall that the Gill-man, a.k.a. "the Creature", is by far my favorite Universal Monster. After all, I've only mentioned it, oh, a good forty or fifty times over the years including the occasional lengthy story about a time when Toys "R" Us refused to sell me one of my grail figures. If you read that story, you'll recall that I barely had time to enjoy that long-sought version of the Gill-man before DST dropped this awesome bomb... about a full year and a half before it was set to release. The plain Select packaging does little to convey how awesome this figure is. Like many of the other movie figures, the inner box is basically devoid of decoration (the popular Marvel Select line, by contrast, usually fills that space up with comic art). I imagine that it's probably due to a cost issue associated with licensing old movie stills or the such. The back of the box shows off Gill-man and provides a little backstory that wisely only references the first film (and leaves out the fact that he would eventually walk among us). Also included on the back is the Son of Frankenstein version of Frankenstein's Monster which closes out the wave (well, I guess there's also the DST-original version of Van Helsing but he's technically not part of the series) and, for that matter, the series. That's right, after giving fans a super-articulate Gill-man DST decided to drop the mic and walk away. DST's Gill-man stands close to 8-inches tall and features impeccable sculpting (courtesy of the game-changing Jean St. Jean, the sculptor behind figures like the much-praised MS Venom) along with a surprisingly deep paint job. Jean St. Jean has really pushed some boundaries in recent years, demonstrating that you don't have to sacrifice sculpt for articulation, which shines through in this figure. That said, the sculpting and articulation aren't blended to perfection. There are at least a few points where the joints are hindered by the sculpting (particularly at the head which looks as if it's jointed for a good amount of forward/back motion but the sculpt doesn't accommodate that). However, and this is important, in no place on this figure does the articulation truly hinder the sculpt. The joints, while somewhat visible, generally don't detract from the figure's overall appearance (with the possible exception of the exposed thigh pins). The overall craftsmanship is incredible. The character design itself facilitates many of these hidden joints, with hanging scales/platelets covering elbow and thigh cuts, for instance. The articulation represents a hodgepodge of different jointing concepts. The hands feature rotation at the lower wrists with a single pin-joint right above them (you may recall a similar trick being used on the Retro Cloth Phantom of the Opera (reviewed)). The elbows sport a kind of ball-joint which *could* have been used at the wrists as well, but the combo that was chosen instead helps to keep the wrists from looking ungainly. (EDITOR'S NOTE: My copy has a damaged right wrist (at the point of rotation) where the joint is jammed and, if a previous Select figure was any indication, the part will fall off if the joint is forced.) The head rotates, but his gills can get stuck on the frill running along his back. The torso features two joints, one directly above the abdomen with a second at the waist. While it doesn't work anywhere near as well as I had hoped (the forward/back is limited), you get a wide range of natural-looking rotation. The hips feature forward and outward motion, but are a little impeded by the sculpt (it's not a major issue). There's a thigh cut which offers rotation and helps with posing. The knees and ankles both feature single-pinned joints, a design choice that leads to only average balance. For the most part, the Select Gill-man can do most of the things you may want. The jointing isn't perfect, but it's worlds better than any previous version of the character that I can think of, especially within the affordable price ranges. It's worth remembering that Toys "R" Us also has an exclusive version of this figure. Priced closer to US$15, the biggest difference might be in the choice of accessories. The Select version gets an exquisitely designed underwater "swim" stand/base (seen here) while the Toys "R" Us version gets a smaller, generic stand. While the design is nice enough on its own for a background piece, it's intended for so much more. The product images on the packaging stupidly doesn't show the fact that the Gill-man can be posed right on the rock to recreate a swimming scene. It's something that DST fans will remember from a previous image on the DST Facebook page, but this awesome feature just isn't advertised. Granted, there's no piece or peg to actually hold him in place. The stand is just designed that the Gill-man can rest on it from certain angles. It's also, as DST Zach told me, the big reason for giving the Select Gill-man all of his articulation: the figure was designed to swim. Knowing this, I'm absolutely baffled why this gimmick doesn't have proper billing. Did DST feel that the trick might be too difficult for some fans? Diamond Select Toys has released quite a few Gill-man figures (including the first Select figure seen left and The Munters Select Uncle Gilbert (reviewed) seen right). While I don't have all of them (for instance, I'm missing the vinyl bank busts and the Retro Cloth version (which was hard to find at retail)), this new Select Gill-man is definitely my favorite and quite possibly my favorite among the Gill-man collectibles that I've owned over the years. Yes, it's not quite as awesome as I had assumed but it hits all of the right areas and features some great worksmanship. Plus perfect is overrated anyway, right? [A sizable spooky thanks to DST for sending over this review sample.]
Review: Gill-man photo
Not to be confused with the Creature from the Black & White Lagoon
Diamond Select Toys has taken quite a few stabs at the Universal Studios classic movie monsters, albeit with somewhat mixed results. Early entries often took a more statuesque approach, focusing on the sculpt rather than the ...

NYCC 2014: Square Enix

Oct 10 // Scarecroodle
NYCC photo
Get excited.
Spider-Man, Catwoman, and Iron Man will be the newest inductions to Square-Enix's Variant Play Arts Kai line and are some of the most exciting designs to grace the line. If that wasn't enough, fans can look forward to a Final...

Iron Man photo
One small step for Iron Man, one giant leap for Marvelkind
[UPDATE: New image] Hidemi Matsuzuka has tweeted two images of Square-Enix's Variant Play Arts Kai Iron Man. This marks the first Marvel character released in the Variant Play Arts Kai line. Square-Enix has always excelled at...

DO WANT: September 2014

Oct 09 // Scarecroodle
Kristina wants... GSC's Nendoroid Halloween Miku! GSC's Halloween Miku Nendoroid, hands down, is one of the cutest things evar. I'm a little bit biased, because I like Halloween as a theme in general, but yeah. Even if it is a Nendoroid, I think it's the most adorable thing, and I wants it. It helps that the colors (orange and black with Miku's teal hair) just go well together, and the accessories and swappable parts are pretty rad, too. Great release. Scarecroodle's note: Still on the fence about this one myself. It's a really cute design. Scarecroodle wants... Max Factory's figma Sinon! It's been a long while since I've really wanted a figma. Back when I first discovered the line (and picked up Max Factory's first Saber), it seemed almost revolutionary. However, as time went on and prices went up, fewer and fewer figmas felt like must-buys. The last one(s) that I was actually excited to purchase were the figma Pits and even those have just sat in their box. As such, imagine my surprise when I first saw images of figma Sinon (Sword Art Online II) and found myself wanting this character from an anime I've had no interest in watching. Granted, I've always had something of a weakness for green hair and sniper babes, two things that the figure embodies. The character's costume is also strongly reminiscent of Motoko Kusanagi which makes it doubly strange that I was underwhelmed by figma Motoko (who comes from an anime I enjoyed... even if it's a weaker season) yet somehow wowed by figma Sinon. Granted, I'll still need to overcome my reluctance in buying figmas (as my enthusiasm often dwindles before I have them in-hand), but there's a better than average chance I may buy this one. And also cave on Motoko. Jeremy wants... Max Factory's figma and figFIX Shinobu! One of the most important characters in the Bakemonogatari series is finally getting a figma! This is one of those rare long-running figma lines that I've been able to get every character from, but there always seemed like there was a hole in the set that Shinobu should be filling. And while this is technically two figures, it's really hard to resist buying just one or the other. We've waited an extra long time for the little vampire girl to arrive and it looks like the wait has been worth it. I have absolutely no complaints about these figures, especially when the figFIX can be found for well under US$20. Now if they would just make a Black Hanekawa already. Scarecroodle's note: I *still* need to watch this series some day. Tian wants... ThreeZero's Ned Stark! I dug way back into the September archives to arrive at my Do Want: ThreeZero's Ned Stark! Although Lord Eddard is no longer with us in Westeros, he'll live on in ThreeZero's amazing sculpt. As portrayed by Sean Bean, Ned was my favorite character of the first season. It would be great to be able to put him on display, forever preserved (with head firmly attached). Scarecroodle's note: I recently tried reading the first novel and it's nowhere near as fun as the tv show. Otherwise I remain impressed with ThreeZero's work on these characters and hope that we'll see a few more before long. Chris *still* wants... Bandai's Soul of Chogokin GaoGaiGar! My DO WANT was going to be the PG Unicorn gundam but having just finished my pre-order recently, that's pretty much in the bag. so my DO WANT reverts back to the Soul of Chogokin GaoGaiGar. I'm still hoping that there will be a second run pre-orders before the release date arrives as I really don't want to have to go through the overpriced local store route... Well, that's it for our September wants. Stay tuned for NYCC which may (or may not) completely blow us away. If it doesn't, I already know my Do Want! for October.
Do Want! photo
Deadline? What's that?
As we move into NYCC and prepare to promptly forget many of the things we wanted in previous months, we here at Tomopop have decided to reminisce about some of the things we were most excited about in September. This includes a few predictable choices and one thing you may not have seen coming. See our picks below.

TMNT photo
Far cooler than I was expecting
Good Smile Company will be producing statues based on fine artist James Jean’s original rendition of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The four statues' bases can be combined to create one large diorama. Along with the ...

Transformers photo
The original title? Hook yourself up with a Playstation Optimus, which would have referred to connecting a system to a tv rather than connecting yourself to... well, let's just say the meaning of hook up has changed over the years
Takara Tomy's hotly anticipated Playstation Optimus Prime is now available for pre-order. The Autobot leader looks even better than the first color images had suggested and even features painted connection ports on his back. ...

Tomopop Review: Brick Label Masterbrick MB-01 Metalhide

Sep 26 // Jeremy Emerje Crocker
Figure Name: Masterbrick MB-01 MetalhideFigure Maker: Brick LabelRetail Price: US$119.90Available at: I'll just go ahead and say it: Brick Label's MB-01 Metalhide really is the 'Masterpiece', or as they put it, the Masterbrick, of transforming brick robots. LEGO has done countless robots over the years, but none of them really transformed to my knowledge. Mega Bloks has done a lot of transforming robots, but they've all had relatively simple changes. Over in Japan Takara Tomy did an OK job on an Optimus Prime in their DiaBlock line, but it had extremely simple features and transformation. They've also just released some Transformers in their Nanoblock line, but those don't transform either. Then there's Hasbro. By all rights Hasbro should be making some of the best transforming brick toys around, but they continue to come up short. They started in 2003 with their short lived Built to Rule line featuring characters from Transformers: Armada. BTR wasn't the greatest thing, but they showed promise being able to transform. The 2011 Kre-O line should have been a huge step up, but instead was a step back thanks to being non-transformable. Hasbro did announce some new Transforming Kre-O figures back at San Diego Comic Con, but they've gone back to being extremely simple. So now it takes a third party to step up and show the big guys how it's done. This is a fully articulated, fully transforming, and pretty darn huge figure. I wont bore anyone with lots of details on the assembly. The instructions are very well detailed, full colored, and show the parts from different angles as you go so you know you're building the pieces right the first time. You're dealing with a lot of parts, so be sure to give yourself a lot of room to work. He's made using 100% genuine LEGO bricks so you're getting quality parts here. There's a lot of things to be impressed about with this figure when its completed, its size being among them. Standing at about 10 inches tall this is a lot of bot! You'll also notice that he's very streamlined with very little kibble. This is a true transforming figure so he has a lot of small pieces that bend and fold out of the way. His 'backpack', which is barely anything, is a set of armatures that extend his wheels to the front a back of his van mode and doesn't contain much in the way of visible vehicle parts. It's a very creative solution to the alternative of having wheels hanging off his arms and legs. Articulation is as good as any Transformer. He has a lot of flexibility; not all Transformers can do splits like this. His feet also have some articulation for added balance and there's a swivel below the knee. The knees are more or less double jointed so the range there is good. There is a little forward restriction in the hips, but there's more than enough to get by. There's also a ball jointed abdomen so there's plenty of range there. The backpack doesn't connect directly to his upper torso so it isn't very restrictive. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, and have a swivel in the body so they can pivot in and out some. He also has articulated fingers. They're simple, but he doesn't really need to grasp anything so they serve their purpose. His head is neat. Sure, it doesn't look like Ironhide, but this is Metalhide, a homage to the G1 character so it gets a lot of leeway there. It's very creative, getting its shape from folding pieces together like a box rather than stacking them as you'd expect. It gives the head some neat angles that you couldn't normally get otherwise. For weapons he has to guns that fold out from his wrists. On his right side is a red and yellow heat ray, and on the left is a blue and black ice ray. It's a nice call back to G1 when Transformers, including Ironhide, would replace their hands with weapons as needed. The ability to fold keeps them out of the way when you don't need them while also ensuring that you don't lose them. He towers over most figures from other Transformers lines. Even next to the original Masterpiece Optimus Prime he almost looks like he's in proper scale. Obviously he doesn't fit in aesthetically with other Transformers lines, but it gives you an idea of just where it lands on the robot scale. At 10 inches tall he stands about the same height as the most recent Masterpiece Optimus Prime. As mentioned before he has a surprisingly complex transformation. Getting him into his van mode requires unfolding multiple parts on his back, arms, body, and legs. Everything tucks together nicely and thanks to tiny connecting pieces that line up perfectly you get a a pretty sturdy vehicle. As an added bonus: Rubber tires! Love rubber tires. You can also flip the weapons up from the back over the top to be used in vehicle mode! He's pretty compact in this mode and suddenly is closer to scale with the smaller scale Masterpiece line. Of course he's still pretty massive compared to the original. All in all it's miles above Hasbro's Kre-O Ironhide. The last point I want to make is the price. I know, US$119.90 is a lot of money, but consider a few things. First off, LEGO bricks aren't cheap, not even remotely. Just walk into the brick aisle of any store and check out the prices on the little LEGO boxes. Now think about the prices that third party Transformers typically go for. A five inch third party Transformer will often go for around this price. Then consider the engineering. Sure, the parts already exist, but it can't be easier to sort through hundreds (thousands?) of LEGO parts to find the right one than it is to build the parts yourself. I think the price is pretty much what you would pay for a similar set sold at mass retail.  So to recap: Easy to build, massive bot mode, no kibble, great articulation, complex transformation, good looking van mode, and rubber tires. This is a total package for fans that love LEGO, and were greatly disappointed by Hasbro's poor attempts at Transformers block toys. Metalhide is Brick Label's first release, but far from their last. Soon they should be showing off their second figure, Windstorm, a tribute to Powermaster Dreadwind! [ A big thanks to Brick Label for sending over the review sample! ]
Brick Label Metalhide photo
At last, brick bots done right
The great thing about LEGO bricks is that they can be used to build as simple or complex as you want. They're a lot like clay in that sense. Sure, anyone can make a simple LEGO box, or clay flower pot, but in the hands of som...

Miku photo
I can't read her pumpkin face
Good Smile Company has released an image gallery for its recently unveiled Nendoroid Halloween Miku. Most striking among these images is a rather unexpected display option: a jack-o-lantern mask/face for the diva of all seaso...

The Hobbit photo
More Pop! dragons? Yes, please!
Funko has given MTV News an exclusive first look at some upcoming The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies, a selection that includes TWO over-sized Smaugs. The reveals consist of a 6-inch Smaug, a chase variant of Smaug with ye...

SDCC/WonFes Highlight Reel: The Scarecroodle edition

Sep 09 // Scarecroodle
While I find myself unable to do a top ten list, I figure I should at least try to order these things in terms of preference. Spider-Man 2099 has long been one of my favorite superheroes. Unfortunately, the character hasn't seen that much great merchandise over the years. Yes, he has a Bowen statue I can't afford and WizKids did a few decent Heroclix figurines, but the more conventional offerings have been a little lackluster. ToyBiz's Spider-Man Classics Spidey 2099 was a somewhat lame redeco of a normal Spider-Man figure (from that same line) which featured a cloth cape and lacked the character's iconic arm-spikes (besides having those out-of-character webshooter-posed hands). Hasbro took a stab at the character with a less articulate figure in the Spider-Man Origins line but, once again, it lacked those arm-spikes and featured a cheap cloth cape. Finally, Hasbro gave us a Spidey 2099 in the Marvel Universe line and, while it recycled the standard body, the figure at least had the arm-spikes (positioned a little oddly?) and a plastic cape. It looked like that would be the best we'd ever get... then SDCC 2014 rolled around and Hasbro unveiled its Spider-Man Legends Spidey 2099. Hasbro's new Spider-Man 2099 is almost everything I could have hoped for: it features an accurate build, it has Spidey's ironic outstretched fingers (although it lacks the talons, but hey, they could be retracted!), there's a lot of articulation, and it's in the 6-inch scale. It's more or less everything I wanted (sans a glossy paint job). I look forward to picking it up and, with any luck, seeing Diamond Select Toys produce an even better version of the character in its Marvel Select line. My second most-wanted item is Mattel's Masters of the Universe Classics Tung Lashor. Matty Collector had previously announced that Tung Lashor and Squeeze, the two last Snakemen from the original vintage line, would be included in the final two Club Eternia subscriptions. The catch? Only one would appear per year and Matty wasn't saying which would appear when. Those fiendish devils! Thankfully, however, Matty Collector unveiled my favorite, Tung Lashor, at SDCC and announced that he was conveniently scheduled for November (alongside Galactic Protector She-Ra!). I had been looking forward to Tung Lashor for a while, especially because the original vintage figure was one of the few He-Man figures that managed to stay with me over the years despite several moves and Hurricane Andrew (which was responsible for two of those moves). The MOTUC Tung Lashor is a great update of the vintage figure, capturing and (slightly) improving on the original's look. Although (like most MOTUCs) it lacks the original gimmick, MOTUC has replicated the tongue-lashing feature with an alternate extended-tongue head. I'm fortunate that he came out this year, since there are no guarantees that the 2015 Club Eternia will hit its minimum number of subs. Of course, the downside is that we probably won't ever see a really articulated 200x series Tung Lashor but at least there's NECA's staction version available which, in this instance, is better than nothing. Another bit of particularly exciting news is Diamond Select Toys' Marvel Select Carnage. Back when Hasbro produced a pretty good ML Carnage in its Spider-Man Legends line, I (just barely) held off buying it because I saw what incredible work DST had done with its MS Venom (which I still want to pick up at some point). The problem with basically every Carnage so far has been a lack of interchangeable parts, something that the MS Carnage should correct. We can already see that it includes a version of the axe-arm which is one of those absolute staples missing from most releases. If it was just that, the MS Carnage (with its great sculpting and paint) would stand quite a bit taller than most (if not all) other Carnage action figures. However, DST intends to give fans far more than that which should make the MS Carnage the definitive Carnage action figure. It completely justifies not picking up the latest ML version. Of course, the Marvel Select wasn't the only thing Carnage fans had to look forward to, as Kotobukiya unveiled the rest of its Fine Arts Carnage. The statue notably features multiple tendrils extending from his body and includes an interchangeable arm (I believe the weapon arm is exchanged with a normal hand). If I was more of a statues fan, I would be all over this one. In what shaped up to be a pretty good convention for evil, Hasbro announced (and showed off) its 6-inch Star Wars Black Series Bossk. Prior to Bossk, Boba Fett was the only real bounty hunter (ie, not some Rodian punk who gets shot while sitting down in a cantina)  that we'd seen and I was starting to get a little worried that the line would be canceled before it got into producing them.  Bossk looks a lot better than his also-great Saga Legends counterpart (who was among the first modern Star Wars figures I picked up) and hopefully this trend will continue long enough to get me a Dengar. On the subject of both improvements and redemption, the Marvel Legends line will *finally* get a half-decent Scarlet Witch (the previous version, released in ToyBiz's Legendary Riders series, was so bad that the company originally didn't intend to release it in the US... or so the rumor goes). This pretty cool wave (dubbed "Avengers Legends"?) features Odin (!!!) as a BAF, with alternate parts for a King Thor variant. While I really don't care for most of the wave, I doubt that I'll be able to pass on a decent-looking Odin. Other pretty neat Marvel Legends coming out (that don't rank on my favorites list) are Agent Phil Coulson, Maria Hill, and a Thanos BAF, as well as Machine Man and Captain Marvel. Plus the ML Sentry (originally intended as a running change in the Hit Monkey wave) is finally getting a release. Jumping over the Summer Wonder Festival side of things for a moment, the biggest thing to grab my attention was the announcement of a figma Dark Magician Girl (Yu-Gi-Oh!). Although we've seen a decent DMG figure or two over the years, such as the Cu-Poche version, never has there been a great normal, articulated figure for the character. While a Dark Magician may be a bit more apropos, I think I'd rather have the DMG first. Another exciting set of announcements were for Nendoroids Rider and Archer (Fate/Stay Night). Although we saw some great mini Nendoroids for Rider (at least one of which I own), it's going to be nice to get a full-sized (or full Nendo-sized...) version of the character as well; especially because she should come with a bunch of props. The only thing keeping me in my seat is a nagging suspicion that Kotobukiya may eventually cover the character in the Cu-Poche line, which I'd probably prefer. Other adorable small figures included NECA's Mogwai Series 5, which features three more concept characters (Patches, Zoe, and Gary). Although I know that at least two of them are basically straight-up repaints, I'll still be excited to pick those up (I'm less sure about wanting the all-white, weird-faced Gary). Due out in November (not October), the ones that I grab should look pretty neat next to my other concept-series Mogwai (which I mostly picked up to get Penny). I'm still not sure why the Gremlins part of the line has basically stalled (with a few figures in limbo) while we keep getting Mogwais who didn't even appear in the movies. I'm even less sure why I keep getting so excited to see new ones. Mattel will be adding the Yvonne Craig Batgirl to its Batman classic TV series line. While I had hoped to see the character (especially when the line looked canceled once or twice), she's unfortunately part of a 3-pack with Batman and Robin. I suppose it's not a huge hurdle, since Batman and Robin were two of the only figures I didn't buy when the line first came out. The head-sculpt and body-work is pretty neat, but those arms look unusually long or something. The figures were designed by Mattel's in-house crew (rather than the Four Horsemen who handled a lot of the other DC collectibles in the past) so I guess things are bound to be a little iffy in places. Another cool babe that I'm really happy to see is Mattel's Galactic Protector She-Ra. This New Adventures-styled figure is one of the Four Horsemen's original creations and mixes some of NA He-Man's elements with She-Ra's design, giving the character an updated look. Given that she's due out in November alongside Tung Lashor, I'll likely buy both characters directly from Matty Collector this time around (rather than hitting up eBay for a better price). And, jumping back to the classic Batman TV series, Diamond Select Toys showed off a number of resin busts and vinyl bank busts, both at its booth and during a panel. My favorite item was naturally a Burgess Meredith Penguin bust. While the TV series had some great villains, few seemed as fun as Burgess Meredith's take on the Penguin. Will he some day be followed by an eggsellent Vincent Price Eggman bust? Only time will tell. Although the Four Horsemen won't be doing much for Mattel going forward, the company is hardly sitting on its hands these days. The company's latest endeavor is a fantasy-themed line of figures entitled "Mythic Legions" which features dwarfs, orcs, vampires, and more. The sculpting and paint-work on these is incredible, absolutely top-notch stuff. The only drawback is that you usually have to buy these sorts of things directly from the Four Horsemen's site which costs you a bit more on shipping (as opposed to buying from Entertainment Earth, which offers free shipping on larger orders). Ranking a bit lower on my list is a 6-inch Star Wars Black Series Hoth frost-bitten, bloodied Luke and wampa 2-pack. The pack is ostentatiously based on that famous cave scene in The Empire Strikes Back, but will likely not include a removable, bloodied arm option for the wampa. However, I'm still impressed that Hasbro will be making a wampa that much larger than Luke. Although fans were never given a great look at the wampa's size in the films, the one Luke encountered was implied to be huge (something that didn't really carry over to Shadow of the Empire on the Nintendo 64). Another neat Star Wars announcement came at WonFes where Good Smile Company showed plans to make a Nendoroid Darth Vader and Storm Trooper. Oh, plus Kaiyodo showed off its Star Wars Revoltechs which could be promising. Honestly, there were so many cool things I should have made two Highlight Reels. Here are a few more really exciting items:   The MOTU Minis Snake Mountain is incredibly adorable. It's also neat because Matty's Scott Neitlich previously revealed that a MOTUC Snake Mountain is unlikely given how things went for Castle Grayskull, which makes this the only official Mattel Snake Mountain that we'll ever see. While the diorama is a massive want, it's bundled as part of a subscription which is a massive Don't Want To Pay For. As such, I'll only be nabbing it if I can find it cheaply on the aftermarket. The Spider-Man Legends line discussed earlier also includes a May Parker Spider-Girl (MC2 continuity) and a Phil Urich Hobgoblin Build-a-Figure. Although I've stayed away from the MC2 continuity (which, as far as I'm aware, has never been adapted into a cartoon or film) but I've been aware of the May Parker Spider-Girl and wanted a decent figure. As previously mentioned, I only know Phil Urich from his heroic Green Goblin run (and even then, I only owned one or two issues) so the fact that he's a murderous, villainous Hobgoblin came as something of a surprise. Granted, the new design makes for a cool figure. It's just a shame that it's a BAF when I'm trying to move away from buying full waves. The final item on the Hasbro front is the Marvel Universe (or Marvel Infinite) 3.75-inch Sandman figure, which brings me a step closer to completing a 3.75-inch Sinister Six. The figure is cool for coming in both a standard version (seen here) and an all-sand deco. The figure looks like he recycles some parts from the MU Absorbing Man (first released in a Secret Wars 2-pack before getting a single-card release alongside a variant) although it's hard to be sure. I was excited to see a Jim Lee-styled Beast as well. Speaking of Jim Lee, Kotobukiya will be producing a Fine Arts Rogue based on the character's appearance around the '90s. The sculpting so far looks great and I can't wait to see the statue painted. In addition to Carnage, Diamond Select Toys will also be releasing a Marvel Select Cable. This guy would be a lot higher on my list if I was more of a Cable fan, but other than the Marvel vs. Capcom games, I've never really gotten into the character. I do like that DST went with his bulkier look which is usually how I've envisioned Cable. The other pretty neat remaining DST item is the MLP:FIM Rarity vinyl bank. I wasn't sure what to make of the first two banks, but this one is absolutely adorable. It recently went up for pre-order and was among DST's items featured in the latest issue of Previews. DC Collectibles had a lot of new designs on display for its Batman: The Animated Series line. Killer Croc and Batgirl had sculpted prototypes on display, although the jointing hadn't been implemented yet (Killer Croc's pack-in, Baby Doll, presumably won't feature articulation). Several other designs were shown on the backdrop, including Penguin and Riddler. While I like a lot of the work that I've seen on the line thus far, I'm not sure how much of it I'll actually be buying. I'm assuming that I'll probably at least get the Man-Bat, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, and maybe the Riddler. Even if DCC wasn't releasing several at a time, it's just too much for me to collect at this point given the US$25 price point. Speaking of affordability, Mattel will be expanding its 4-inch DC Multiverse line with oversized figures from Rocksteady's Arkham series. The figures are going to be pretty large but, unlike DC Collectibles' versions (which ran from something like US$50 to US$100), they're going to be a more affordable US$25. It's great because I wanted a Grundy but I didn't want to spring US$80 for the DCC version. On the subject of pricey, over-sized figures, Matty Collector will be releasing 12-inch remakes of the vintage MotUs. While it's a neat concept, I can't see myself paying US$75 (before Canadian shipping...) for these. It didn't occur to me at the time, but this is basically the same approach that Gentle Giant has taken with the giant-sized remakes of the old Kenner Star Wars figures. However, unlike those Star Wars figures, some of these actually look tempting. I've probably mentioned this a few times, but I've never been able to get into She-Ra: Princess of Power. I like the fact that there seems to be more of a story to the series than the original Masters of the Universe (of which I rewatched a few episodes earlier this year, mostly for nostalgia), but the episodes that I've watched have felt a little dry (and the character voices can be annoying). As such, I'm always surprised by how many POP character designs I find appealing. Mermista, for instance, sports a neat aquatic theme but, more importantly, she comes with an alternate mermaid lower body. Of course, I'm also excited over the Real Ghostbusters line announcement. Finally, DC Collectibles had its recently unveiled Batman: Arkham Knight figures on display. These were unveiled shortly before SDCC but it was still great to see them out in the field rather than in stock photography. I'm really looking forward to the Scarecrow although I'm not that fond of the character's broken leg. Of course, given that Batman: Arkham Knight is on the PS4/Xbone, I'm not sure when I'll actually play the game itself since I'm not planning on getting either system in the near future (nor do I own a gaming-quality pc).
Top toys photo
Now in Low Definition
SDCC and WonFes may have been almost a month ago at this point, but many of its collectibles are still on our minds. Tian recently posted the top ten things he was looking forward to from these cons and, because I'm far more excitably (and exceedingly less orderly), my own highlights list is nowhere near that short. See many of my favorites after the jump.

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