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All posts for the month September, 2014

In RoboCop, Peter Weller plays a superhuman cyborg police officer created by Omni Consumer Products (OCP) who is created after police man Alex Murphy is murdered by a gang of criminals. After regaining his memories RoboCop seeks revenge on the gang as well as those who consider themselves above the law.

The original RoboCop movie was released in 1987 and is considered one of the best sci-fi films made during the 80s and the best in the RoboCop series, It featured terrific action sequences, a well written story and incredible special effects for its time.

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Name: RoboCop
Line: Movie Masterpiece Series
Product Code: MMS 202 (D04)
Manufacturer: Hot Toys
Released: 2014
Price: Then: $280.  Now: $460 MISB Minimum.
Scale: 1/6
Accessories: Two pistols (one diecast), two fist hands, two articulated hands, one fist with spike and one display base

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LIST OF PARTS

Inside the box you get the following items:

One RoboCop figure
Four interchangeable face pieces
One interchangeable battle damaged helmet
One interchangeable battle damaged chest armour
One pair of fists
One pair of articulated hands
One fist with spike
One pistol
One diecast pistol
One remote control for sound effect
One hexagonal figure stand with RoboCop nameplate and movie logo

When Hot Toys announced this new version of RoboCop, I was pretty excited: the original release by Hot Toys was good, but the overall proportions and soft face sculpt made me hesitant to purchase one. This new version however looked excellent and really made me want to own it as soon as I could.

Now having one in my collection after buying “Fast Stock” (first Hot Toys batch Hong Kong release) I felt almost compelled to take photos and share my thoughts as I was very impressed with this figure upon opening the box.

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SCULPTING

This is Hot Toys second attempt at Robocop and even though the first one was pretty impressive at the time, this one blows it out of the water! Not only is RoboCop better proportioned, but he is even more detailed too! I ended up re-watching the first RoboCop movie as research. I’m not going to scrutinise the overall figure intensely, but it’s pretty obvious that it’s instantly recognisable as the original 1980s RoboCop we all know and love.

As per usual we get the normal standard of highly quality craftsmanship and design from Hot Toys; you definitely won’t be disappointed by the look of this figure, its spot on. Even though this version does not come with an unhelmeted Peter Weller head, the interchangeable mouth pieces still imply his likeness very well.

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PAINT

I’m not an expert when it comes to different types of paint, but to the best of my knowledge it appears that Hot Toys have used a type of pearlescent paint over the blue/grey/sliver armour and the results are breathe taking. We all know Hot Toys keeps pushing the measuring stick for paint application, (especially with metallic finishes with their Iron Man figures) but this time they have really out done themselves! I had initially thought that they had just used a glossy sliver but upon viewing most of the bloggers final product photos, and once having Robo in hand it’s obvious that something more is going on with the paint when it catches light at certain angles. You can see in my photos, which are under warm lighting, that there is something more in the paint then one colour. It really captures the look of the armour from the movie quite beautifully and coupled with the excellent sculpting really makes RoboCop stand out!

The rest of the armour is a glossy black colour and looks just as good, the paint on the face pieces is up to Hot Toys usual standards as well.

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ARTICULATION

RoboCop features some great articulation: ball jointed head and neck, ball jointed shoulders, hinge elbows, ball jointed wrists, articulation hands, swivel waist, upper body ab crunch, ball jointed thighs, swivel shins, hinge knees, hinge ankles. Most of these joints allow for a good range of motion and poses, even though most poses you would want to put RoboCop in involve being in a standing position and holding his gun. You won’t be able to put him in any extreme poses however, as the overall design does limit RoboCop a bit. Hot Toys have tried hard to give you extra help on certain restrictive parts, like the shoulders for example, where you can pull them out further then normally allowed, if required, to pose them a bit more easily.

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ACCESSORIES

This is the standard RoboCop release without the docking station, therefore when compared to that version he’s a little light on accessories. You get a couple of hands, extra face pieces, two guns, the sound feature remote and one of those giant hexagonal bases. I’m not a fan of the larger bases, even if they are more impressive in size and light up; I still prefer the classic black Hot Toys bases for displaying my figures and I would have at least to have had the choice.

The extra face pieces are a great addition and you can really add some character to Robocop when posing him. It’s obvious most of the face plates are meant to be used with the docking chair, but it’s still great the normal release has included them.

The damaged helmet and upper torso armour are great; they switch out quite easily too. It’s nice to have a bit of variant to having a clean RoboCop and then being able to recreate the scene from the first movie where RoboCop battles with ED 209 for the first time.

The fist and articulated hands are great too, however it can be a little tricky getting the gun to stay in his hand at first, fortunately, the learning curve isn’t too long. The best part about the articulated hands is that you can use them to further add little bits of flare to your poses, not to mention it gives you a lot more freedom of choice too. RoboCop’s glove design means that the articulation does not look out of place.

Both guns look great as well and look very accurate to the source material. According to the instructions, the diecast version is to be used only in the thigh holster, with the plastic one being used for posing.

Hot toys have learnt their lesion well with magnets and the ones inside both helmets in held in place with a screw, so it’s not coming off anytime soon!

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

Only a couple of things to look out for: first issue I had was when using the base supplied with the figure, I noticed when adjusting RoboCop on the stand, his feet scratched it up a lot – so much so that I might need to buy a loose one from eBay. Second was that the legs where they meet the groin can be a little stiff when you are trying to adjust them, it seemed like at least nine out of ten times I would over adjust them when I was trying to just slightly repose a leg.

Besides these two main issues I noticed, everything else is run of the mill. There might be small blemishes on the paint finish due to the mass production process, but nothing too serious. I also wonder how long his ankle joints will hold up for seeing they are holding up a lot of weight.

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ACTION FEATURES

RoboCop features a number of movie phrases which can be activated by a small remote control included with the figure. The phrases are taken straight from the movie itself and not just rerecorded by another voice actor, it’s a pretty neat feature, but one I won’t be using a lot, if at all.

The other action feature included with RoboCop is the holster thigh compartment; even though you have to open it manually it’s still very cool that they have still included this into the design of the figure as in the original release.

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DIECAST

The diecast components, going by pictures online and how the figure feels in hand, appear to be the shoulders and the calfs on the figure, much like the Iron Man Hts the rubber is used to cover the joints on the elbows.

A lot of people seemed to be unhappy with the lack of diecast in this figure, but it makes sense as the chest houses the sound feature, so they couldn’t really use it there, for example. I think they have really used the most non-intrusive parts that won’t effect the articulation much too.

It still has a good amount of weight to it, like the other HT diecast figures and even says in the instructions to be careful not to drop it on your foot or the floor by mistake due to the weight!

So I really hope Robo doesn’t tip over in the future, due to this weight and take himself or something else out with him.

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PRICE

I paid for fast stock, even though I still have one on pre-order. After seeing the photos I couldn’t wait to get one in hand ASAP. So in this case I paid a bit more then my original pre-order price. But, considering how happy I am now RoboCop is here, I think it more than makes up for the extra amount when it’s a character you really love and can’t wait to have.

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OVERALL

Hot Toys have really achieved something special with this 2.0 version of RoboCop, it improves on, and easily surpasses the original version in every way. If you have the original one, it’s definitely worth up grading to the new version as it’s just too good to pass on if you are a RoboCop fan.  RoboCop is now proudly added to my 80’s Sci-Fi movies display and the next release will be a battle damaged version from the final scenes of the first movie and it looks just as good as this one. I can’t wait!

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Oh Yeeeeaaaaaah!

 

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Mario is the short, stocky plumber who is the star of Nintendo’s Super Mario game series, not to mention numerous spin offs and other media and unless you’ve been living under a rock since the mid 1980’s there’s little to no chance you don’t know who he is. Mario has never received a true action figure, only statues or vinyl figures with limited articulation. Finally Bandai steps up to the plate to bring us what can be considered a definitive version of Mario.

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Name: Mario/Play set B
Line: S.H.Figarts Super Mario
Manufacturer: Bandai
Released: 2014
Price: Then: 1500 YEN. Now: depends on place of purchase – at least $30 MISB
Scale: 4.3 Inches in height (Mario)
Accessories: Mario – One coin, one mushroom, one question mark box and one small stand for the coin.
Play set B – One set of grasping hands, One Coin, One Goomba, One turtle shell, Two coin stands, three pipe pieces and two sets of clear hand connection pieces.

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I was lucky enough to be over in Japan when this figure was released there in June, it was almost impossible to escape the giant store displays and even TV ads for this figure. Not to mention when you would walk into any Yodobashi – Akiba style store, there would be stacks and stacks of the figure piled up near said store displays.

Even though I had one ordered at BBTS how could I not pass picking one up? So of course I did (and a couple as gifts too). My friend Javier (who was holidaying in Japan when I was) ended up buying two sets of everything! (Mario + Play set A + Play set B) I’ll be in Japan in December again this year and hopefully with a little luck I can pick up Luigi too.

There was no way I was going to pass up buying such an awesome Mario figure at the time of release from its country of origin, as a toy collector, I feel it’s just one of those once in a life time awesome experiences. Especially seeing I buy most of my toys online these days, it’s always great to be able to head out when in Japan and snatch up new and old toys at great prices!

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SCULPTING
This is one of those great examples of sculpting for a video game character, Mario looks perfect, from his head down to his feet, it’s unmistakingly Mario. I think he ticks enough boxes to represent both new and retro versions too. I feel he’s bordering slightly more on the retro style for me. He looks great and I really can’t say enough positive things about Mario’s sculpting! It’s easily one of the stand out categories for Mario.

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PAINT
For Mario paint is kept to a minimum, mainly just for small details like his buttons or the inside of his mouth. It’s very crisp and clean, I can’t fault it at all. Mario’s accessories have the most paint and they are the same high level of application as Mario. His eyes are definitely a stand out as there is a lot going on there paint wise. I love that that for most pieces they have just cast it in the colour it’s meant to be, this is the best approach and I think the end result is great!

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ARTICULATION
Most of Mario’s joints are swivel/hinge style joints with a couple of ball joints thrown in for good measure. Mario’s articulation is as follows: Ball joint/swivel head, swivel/hinge shoulders, hinge elbows, swivel hands, swivel/hinge groin, hinge knees, ball jointed feet. Mario has a good amount of articulation and most importantly you can place him in most of the poses Mario needs to be put in. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty damn good. Obviously a choice was made at some stage to make Mario look as seamless as possible but have as much articulation as he could too. His head is restricted a bit by the closeness to the body, the same with the shoulders; otherwise it’s got great articulation.

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ACCESSORIES
Mario by himself comes with the basic parts you would want, where this figure really starts to shine is when you pick up the play sets A and B to go with him, that it really becomes a pretty epic figure. Extra hands as well as all the bits and pieces you would want to create a mini Super Mario world display. I only purchased play set B, but now I’m feeling more inclined to pick up set A too as the variety of play and poses greatly improves with a stand to get some great in air poses. All the accessories are great and are well made and sculpted well too, it really feels like a lot of effort went into the design to make it look perfect to the source material, for not only Mario, but his accessories too. I would expect nothing less from a Japanese company, dealing with a very well known and much loved Japanese creation.

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS
Bandai, on the whole, make very well made toys. Mario is a great example of this and I don’t think you would have too many issues with this figure; however, I would be gentle with the clear stands and take your time when swapping out hands. I wouldn’t try to force Mario into any extreme poses he’s not made for either. But besides that, Mario is great, but, like the box says, definitely for collectors and children aged 15 years and over.

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PRICE
I paid about 1,500 Yen for Mario and about the same for play set B, from one of the many toy stores in Akihabara, That’s the best price you are going to find anywhere and is well worth it! No shipping costs or heavy store over heads. To put this in perspective when I got back home to Australia EB Games was selling just Mario for $50 AUD. Shop around and you can get Mario for a good price. But just don’t pay exuberant amounts for him.

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OVERALL
This is probably one of the best, if not THE best Mario figure/toy ever made, that’s a big call, however, this one is so perfectly executed and made, that it leaves any competition eating its dust! You aren’t going to find a better one and now that Luigi has been announced I hope its full steam ahead for a complete series of Mario figures. If you are still on the fence about whether or not to buy this figure I wouldn’t think about it too long as the obvious choice would be to pick it up ASAP!

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Real X Head is a small Japanese company run by Mori Katsura, who makes vinyl toys. Over the years there have been a number of figures and variations released as well as collaborations with other people or stores. One such collaboration is with the store Ichiban –Boshi, which sells new and vintage vinyl toys. One of their custom figures is the subject of this review: Ryusei Ninja.

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Name: Ryusei Ninja
Line: Ichibanboshi
Ninja Gaiden
Manufacturer: Real Head X Ichibanboshi
Released:
2008
Price: First released – unknown, now – $50-$60 MIB
Scale: 5.5 Inches in height
Accessories: One bandanna

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I’ve already reviewed Ryusei Ninja here. So to save from just repeating myself, this is going to be a photo review as this is a fully painted version of that same figure, now with a bandanna! I will say that this was one of my most sought after Real Head products and picked it up recently thanks to a great Yahoo Auctions Japan bidding service! For a steal as well! I’m very happy with this particular colourway as I feel that as a character the Ryusei Ninja finally comes into his own! My first fully painted Ryusei Ninja and definitely one of the best!

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Roronoa Zoro is a swordsman who uses the Three Sword Style. He is the first person to join the Straw Pirates crew after Luffy saves him from being executed at a Marine base. His goal is to become the world’s best swordsman and is a former bounty hunter.

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Name: Roronoa Zoro
Line: The Grandline Men
Manufacturer: Banpresto
Released: 2011
Price: Then: $15.  Now: $50 or more MISB
Scale: 6.24 Inches in height
Accessories: Three swords and base

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I only became properly introduced to One Piece couple of years ago, after firstly being exposed to it everywhere in Japan on my first visit there and secondly from some friends of mine who are really into One Piece.

My wife also really likes One Piece as well so we started watching the anime together from the start. I really didn’t want to get too drawn in to something where I would want figures or toys from, but I couldn’t resist getting at least one or two smaller statues of Zoro and one of Chopper as well.

So last year I picked up the subject of tonight’s review, from Liberty 9 in Akihabara. They have a fairly large ground floor showcase featuring old and new toys mainly from Anime, this particular statue caught my eye as it is the closest to how Zoro looks in the beginning of the story and was fairly small in size as well.

Props to Evrim and Javier for tracking down the info on the statue for me!

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SCULPTING

The sculpting really looks great on this statue, it’s almost as if it was pulled straight off the screen and that’s one of the reasons it caught my eye. It’s an extremely accurate depiction of Zoro and he looks like he’s ready to fight! He’s got that pissed off/serious look about him and definitely looks like he’s not in the mood for any joking around. Banpresto have done a great job turning a 2D drawing into a 3D statue. It’s made from PVC so parts can be bent slightly, if you aren’t careful, some of the thinner parts are quite soft.

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PAINT

The paint on this statue is quite neat and to a high quality. With some great tonal work on the boots, pants and shirt. The skin tone is just the colour the PVC is cast in, which is quite common for statues like this. All the small detail work, like the eyes and swords is great too. I don’t have any complaints with the Paint applications at all. It’s excellent and looks great!

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ARTICULATION

This is a Statue, so unfortunately there isn’t any articulation.

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ACCESSORIES

The two swords held by Zoro, the sheaths and the base are separate pieces, so technically they could be considered accessories. They all look great and there is a little assembly required before the statue is complete. The swords fit firmly in Zoro’s hands and the sheath clips onto his side without issue. The base has two small pegs in it to connect the feet to. It’s black, slick and minimalist. I think it looks good and doesn’t steal attention away from the figure.

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

The only issue I had with the statue was when transporting it back home, I hadn’t protected the sheaths enough in my suitcase and the handle of the unsheathed sword broke off. Easy enough to fix with a little bit of glue. I would just watch out for any delicate parts like the swords and be gentle with them.

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PRICE

I paid about 1,900 Yen for a loose figure, that’s a pretty good price and to put it in perspective, they also had a sealed one for 9,000 Yen. This was the tail end of my trip and I didn’t want to spend too much money, but did want to make a last minute pick up of a Zoro figure, so I’m happy with that price. If I could find the boxed version cheaper I would probably buy that too.

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OVERALL

This statue was pretty much what I was looking for: an anime accurate depiction of Zoro from One Piece, that’s not too large either. I have a small anime shelf for statues and smaller Revoltech figures and it fits in perfectly with these other character and companies products. If you are a big fan of One Piece, I’m going to assume you already have this statue as it would be silly not to have picked it up. If you are more of a casual fan like me and don’t want One Piece to dominate your display cases then this is a good choice if you still want to have a character or two represented.

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