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All posts for the month October, 2016

Marvel Studios smash hit Avengers: Age Of Ultron was the next big adventure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, by not only introducing us to Ultron but bringing us a number of new Avengers too. Quicksilver being one of them. Even if he initially wanted to destroy the Avengers he and his sister Scarlet Witch soon realized the error of their ways after Ultron revealed his master plan to them and they joined with the Avengers to help in defeating him.   

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Name: Quicksilver
Line: Movie Masterpiece Series
Product Code: MMS 302
Manufacturer: Hot Toys
Released: 2016
Price: $185 – $260 USD MISB
Scale: 1/6
Accessories: Various hands 
as well as a display stand

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Having just reviewed Scarlet Witch, how could I not review Quicksilver too? He was my favorite character in Age Of Ultron, even if he didn’t make it to the end credits. His banter with Hawkeye was quite amusing, I do have to say.

A lot of Hot Toys fans didn’t have high hopes of Quicksilver being made, I myself hoped they would make him, but the only thing that’s for sure about Hot Toys, is nothing’s for sure (to paraphrase Sting) and after Hot Toys posted a picture on their Facebook page of the “complete Age Of Ultron set of figures” and Quicksilver wasn’t there a lot of people weren’t happy, thankfully after a short time, they updated that picture to include Quicksilver and all was right in the world.

Finally, I have Quicksilver in my hands and even although I’m heading over to Japan soon, I wanted to at least get a few more reviews out before I left and I just felt inspired to do so.

 

Now onto the review of Hot Toys Age of Ultron Quicksilver!

 

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LIST OF PARTS

Inside the box you get the following items:

One Quicksilver figure

Eight interchangeable hands

One display stand

 

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SCULPTING

After the initial pre-order announcement for quicksilver came up, much like Scarlet Witch’s head sculpt being a close match to Elizabeth Olsen, the head sculpt was a very close likeness to Aaron Taylor-Johnson.  Even the test shot photos shared by Hot Toys master painter JC Hong showed an excellent portrait and paint application.

Of course, there were still a few nay-sayers, who for whatever reason just couldn’t see the likeness in the sculpt. Thankfully these people were ignored and what we have is pretty close, if not even more so improved from the prototype.

I’m very happy with what I have in hand and hopefully, my photos have done the head sculpt justice too, it’s an excellent representation of Quicksilver from AOU, in fact; all of the previously released characters from the Avengers so far have been immensely improved from their previous versions.

Needless to say, I’m happy with the head sculpt and you should be too.

 

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PAINT

Once again another great effort here, the paint really helps bring the figure to life and makes that sweet head sculpt even better. Even the paint on the hands is up to the expected standard we’ve come to know and love, he may be lacking accessories, be he’s not lacking craftsmanship and quality.

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ARTICULATION

Quicksilver has a little bit of a Frankenstein’s Monsters body in a lot of ways. Hot Toys have built up a vast catalog of arms, legs and torsos with each new figure they needed to make new parts for. Which means now they have a lot of parts to pick and choose from when putting together a body for a figure.

His arms are similar to the Advanced Truetype put out years ago, his torso similar to Indiana Jones or Hawkeye (with the shorter neck that torso has) and his shins are from the Tony Stark body they developed. So it truly is a bit of mix and match, but it works quite well I have to say.

Quicksilver has the following articulation: Ball jointed neck, Ball jointed torso, swivel/hinge shoulders, double jointed elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, ball jointed waist, swivel/hinge hips, double jointed knees and ball jointed ankles.

And it’s the ankles where he tends to fall down – literally. I had heard from other reviewers that Quicksilver had really loose ankles so I was curious to find out if I had the same issue.

Unfortunately, I did, but the fault lies in design. For whatever reason Quicksilver has the same long foot pegs that came with the T-800 (MMS/DX) which is fine if you have long boots to help hold the legs, not if you have nothing but the balance of the figure to hold you up and it didn’t help the ball joint was loose in the shoe too.

I changed out shin and ankle joints, matching the height but reducing the ball joint length, the ball joint was still a little loose in the shoe, but not as bad as he was at first. Still, I shouldn’t have to do that straight out of the box and I can’t help but wonder what Hot Toys green horns would do in that situation.

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OUTFIT

Here’s another category that should be an obvious win, but once again its a bit of a let down. Quicksilver’s outfit maybe basic, but it still is executed quite well, I love the look and feel of the running pants, they have even used a similar material that you would find normal running pants made of. (Hopefully, it does attract too much lint!)

However, the shirt, although looks great, I find it a touch too thick and it’s difficult to move Quicksilver’s arms and torso. Not to mention it can cause the hands to pop off too. But, that is remedied once you change hands a few times and the hole for the wrist peg stretches a bit on each hand.

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ACCESSORIES

You get some different hands and that’s it. But, they are all pretty appropriate, I guess. You get relaxed hands, fist hands, grabbing hands and running hands, two pairs of each, left and right. Considering all Quicksilver did was run and punch, you couldn’t expect much more than that. They are all sculpted and painted to the usual high standard we come to expect from Hot Toys.

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

There is really not too much to look out for, besides loose ankles and the always present fear of snapping a wrist peg, I find these larger male wrist pegs more susceptible to snapping than any of their older stuff, so of course, they then use it for everything!

Always be careful with Hot Toys wrist pegs, it takes 5 seconds to heat them up for an easy swap out, especially when it looks like if you broke one of Quicksilver’s ones you’d have to take off his shirt to change it out. Yeah, no thanks.

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PRICE

I paid $185 USD from Animarket, great price and as per usual great customer service. Best to shop around and get as good of a price as you can seeing Quicksilver isn’t one of the main Avengers or characters from AOU.

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OVERALL

I was quite excited when Hot Toys finally announced Quicksilver from Age Of Ultron and now I have him in hand, I’m still quite pleased with the finished product. He has a few flaws, but I’m still happy to have him in the fold. Really up to you if you need him in your collection or not. Personally, I did, hence why I bought him, plus he adds a little more depth and flare to my Avengers line up, even if he just looks like a guy out for a jog.

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Marvel Studios smash hit Avengers: Age Of Ultron was the next big adventure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, by not only introducing us to Ultron but also bringing us a number of new Avengers too. Scarlet Witch being one of them. Even if she initially wanted to destroy the Avengers she and her brother Quicksilver soon realized the error of their ways after Ultron revealed his master plan to them and they joined with the Avengers to help in defeating him.   

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Name: Scarlett Witch
Line: Movie Masterpiece Series
Product Code: MMS 301
Manufacturer: Hot Toys
Released: 2016
Price: $199 – $266 USD MISB
Scale: 1/6
Accessories: Various hands and items 
as well as a display stand

 

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I’ve been pretty sparse with my Hot Toys reviews, but with good reason, firstly, I don’t buy every figure anymore or as many figures as I used to and secondly, I was waiting for my pre-orders to come in and ship them all together to save on shipping costs and that day finally came recently, with a bundle of Hot Toys making their way to me in good time from the always excellent folks at Animarket.

Tonight I’m reviewing Scarlet Witch (with Quicksilver to follow very, very soon) but truth be told this isn’t my figure it’s actually my brothers, he’s more of a Scarlet Witch fan than me and when you live in the same house it makes it a lot easier to fill out collections when you aren’t buying every single figure yourself.

With that said, the more I worked with her during the photo shoot the more I liked the figure, so I might pick up the Civil War version for myself, seeing I know my brother isn’t getting that one. But we’ll see what happens as I keep my pre-orders a lot looser and a lot more commitment free then in the past, as the options online are quite plentiful if I happen to change my mind.

Now onto the review of Hot Toys Age of Ultron Scarlet Witch!

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LIST OF PARTS

Inside the box you get the following items:

One Scarlet Witch figure

Eight interchangeable hands

Two necklaces

Two Scarlet Witch power flame effects

One Ultron Heart

One display stand

 

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SCULPTING

One of the main focus points on any Hot Toys figure is going to be the head sculpt, with every new figure announcement there is always heated discussion among fans in forums and Facebook groups about how good or how bad the likeness is to the actor or actress.

Scarlet Witch was no different. However, most sane collectors agreed that the prototype was close and just needed some slight tweaks to make it a home run.

Thankfully Hot Toys have done just that, in my opinion. It was already a strong likeness to Elizabeth Olsen, (as Scarlet Witch) but now I feel it’s been refined just enough to make it close to perfect, the only thing they can do to make it better, is to refine the paint applications with each continued release.

(Like for the next two upcoming Scarlet Witch releases which use the same head, much like they are now doing for Hawkeye and Captain America’s Steve Roger’s Head.)

Which I’ve got to say, doesn’t bother me one bit, make an excellent head sculpt to begin with, there is no reason (or point) to constantly remake it when you don’t have to, that’s just smart business and a welcome change as far as I am concerned.

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PAINT

I don’t think there’s anything new I can really say here as far as paint applications go. Hot Toys continually put out the best mass produced painted figures in the market, no one can come close to surpassing them yet, they are all still struggling to keep up and it’s not just the heads, it’s the whole package! A lot of companies don’t bother to paint things like hands or bodies properly, not Hot Toys, it’s things like this that make them the best.

The care and attention to detail are second to none. Scarlet Witch is another shining example of this. The paint application on the face is extremely realistic and brings an unparalleled level of realism to the figure and excellent job by JC Hong and his team. If I had one nit pick, it would be that on the translucent hands, the flesh tones look a little flat when compared to the standard hands, otherwise, it’s what you would normally expect from Hot Toys.

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ARTICULATION

Scarlet Witch uses what I guess we can call by now the standard Hot Toys female TrueType body, which appeared around the release of Jill Valentine, Baby Doll and Resident Evil Alice figures. Which we haven’t seen a release of it by itself yet, either, but we can only hope and pray for that!

It’s a great base body and has a few different leg, arm and bust variants to make it quite versatile. This particular version has the following articulation:

Ball jointed neck, ball jointed chest, ball jointed shoulders, double jointed elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, ball jointed waist, ball jointed hips, double jointed knees and ball jointed ankles.

You can get Scarlet Witch into a good number of poses and she’s not hampered too much by her clothes, the only part where she struggles are her boots, the ankles are restricted a bit by the plastic, if the boots were a little softer, I think there would be no issues. So wider stances are a bit of a no-go for her. Otherwise, it’s all good, nice and tight joints, she is a pleasure to pose.

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OUTFIT

Yet another category Hot Toys by default excels in.  They have mass produced 1/6 clothes down to a fine art. Now there are other companies that are catching up. (in my opinion, Blitzway are the closest) But Hot Toys still consistently nail it with each new release and keep pushing that envelope more and more.

I’m very impressed with Scarlet Witch’s Jacket and multilayered dress the tailoring is great and they don’t look oversized at all, plus the darkened effects on the end of the jacket look fantastic.

The stockings or leg warmers are a bit annoying as they don’t really have a way to stay up, so from time to time as I changed poses I did have to pull them up and adjust them, but it was never a big deal, once you pose her up, they aren’t going anywhere.

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ACCESSORIES

You aren’t getting a lot of accessories with Scarlet Witch. A few extra hands, some “power effects” attachments and “Ultron’s heart”. Compared to other releases it’s not much, but then there’s only so many things they could have given us, maybe a few more magic effects in different sizes?

(BTW the magic effects were a little tricky at first to figure out which way they went on, seeing the instructions are pretty useless, but once figured out, you’ll never get confused by them again!)

Ultron’s heart is a nice inclusion, but not really needed and will be left in the box by me.

I feel the choice of hands is great, there is enough variety to get a lot of great poses from Scarlet Witch and I did have a lot of fun trying different combinations out and playing around trying to get the best poses out of her.

You also get what I’m calling the “standard Marvel display stand” which at first I didn’t think I’d like, but now I have a group of Avengers assembled I have actually come to like the stand a lot more now.

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

There aren’t really too many things to look out for with this figure, handle her carefully and read the instructions are two good pointers. Also, take care changing the hands out, I haven’t had a problem with the female figures wrist joints yet, unlike some of the males ones, but it never hurts to heat up the hands a little to make them a touch softer, if you want to be extra careful!

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PRICE

I paid $199 USD from Animarket, which worked out to be not too bad seeing after the deposit upon placement of the order when you finally have to pay the remaining amount it sure makes it a lot less painful on the bank account. Especially when you can have your orders shipped in one big box together (with plenty of bubble wrap and padding too btw) works out to be a pretty good deal, I have to say.

Also, because I refuse to support the local sellers as they do not know how to pack an order properly, let alone a simple thing called “business ethics”. Unfortunately, most Australian sellers of Hot Toys figures don’t know or have these two simple things, a shame really, but that’s how it goes sometimes.

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OVERALL

I was indifferent about Scarlet Witch at first, after having a play around and posing her up for this review she really started to grow on me a lot. Even though this isn’t my figure, it has really brought me around to potentially buying a Scarlet Witch for myself. But if you only want one in your collection I would strongly suggest this one as she looks great with Quicksilver, but it really comes down to what costume you prefer the most as to which Scarlet Witch figure you should buy. She definitely looks great on a shelf with her fellow Age of Ultron Avengers!

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After the original Transformers US cartoon series ended in 1987, A Japanese exclusive series The Headmasters continued the story and was followed up in 1988 with Super Godmasters. The series had a very human-centric story where humans connected with Transector bodies to become the power source and personality of the Transformer and also included the more traditional Transformer characters as pretenders.

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Name: Ranger C-305
Line: Super-God Masterforce
Manufacturer: Takara
Released: 1988
Price: Then: 1,980 YEN.  Now: 45,000 YEN more or less.
Scale: 5 1/2 Inches in height
Accessories: Godmaster Transtector, Napalm Blaster

Variations:  Joyride (The powder blue plastic is replaced with green)

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When it comes to G1 Transformers there are a lot of toys to be collected if you want to go all in, then you have a choice of if you want to collect the Japanese exclusive repaints of the tail end of G1 (basically recolours of toys released by Hasbro in the US and in my opinion the Japanese versions got the better colour scheme too)

The only problem in doing that is not only are they harder to come by, but the price increases quite a lot too! (Especially if you are looking to buy Minerva or Grand Maximus among others)

I’ve been lucky enough to acquire most of these toys over the years and decided I’d at least cover one in my blog seeing I’m sure lacking a lot of Transformer based reviews, for being such a big fan. Tonight I’m looking at Ranger from the Godmaster series of Transformers first released back in 1988!

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SCULPTING

Most G1 Transformers are quite blocky looking toys and Ranger is no exception. He’s quite square and chunky. His dune buggy car mode has a lot of nice details, like his suspension etc. Plenty of smooth surfaces too. Not too much detail in robot mode, these later toys relied more on their stickers for the details than anything else. He has a pretty nice face sculpt too.

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PAINT

The only paint on Ranger I can see is on his face. it’s neatly applied and a yellowy brown colour. other than that he’s got plenty of stickers to make up the details on him. and everything else has been cast in the colour it’s meant to be. His body is a really nice powder blue, with red arms and legs and a bit of grey here and there. Really nice colour choice I have to say pretty much screams Autobot.

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ARTICULATION

As with most G1 Transformers, his articulation is due to his transformation which is just his arms have any real movement. he can bend his elbows and partly swivel his arms at the shoulder and that’s about it! pretty much the definition of a ‘brick Transformer’. His Transector has more articulation then Ranger does.

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ACCESSORIES

Ranger comes with his ‘Napalm blaster’ and his Transector and that’s all he really needs right? A gun and his engine (not necessary required to transform the toy, however.)

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

He’s a pretty rock solid toy, if you are taking the plunge, I would make sure you are buying one that hasn’t yellowed (if you look at mine, in the pictures one of his mirrors and his suspension are slightly discoloured.) Other than that be prepared to potentially pay through the nose.

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PRICE

Ranger commands decent prices on the secondary market I picked up mine for about $450 AUD about 5 years ago, he was pretty much unused and in great condition. I would expect you would be paying more if you happen to find one Mint in sealed box after all.

"I have the POWER!!!"

“I have the POWER!!!”

OVERALL

I like the colour scheme of Ranger a lot more then Joyride, I can appreciate this toy a lot more than I would if I had just bought Joyride instead. Also, it helped that I watched the original Godmaster cartoon series as well so at least I was familiar with his character too. It’s really up to you if you want to buy him or not, just be happy with the decision as you can pay quite a lot for a simple repaint, but in my opinion, the colour scheme is far superior and makes the toy look a hundred times better.

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The Castle Of Cagliostro is a Japanese Anime action/comedy released in 1979 and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It follows master thief Lupin The Third as he and associates Jigen and Goemon attempt to find the source of counterfeit bills, but in doing so ends up rescuing the princess held by Count Cagliostro and uncovering the hidden treasure that the Count is after.  

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Name: Lupin the third – Castle of Cagliostro (series 1 and series 2)
Line: Kubrick
Manufacturer: Medicom
Released: 2003
Price: Then: recommended retail price 504 YEN .  Now:  varies depending on figure
Scale: 3.5 Inches in height
Accessories: Various (depending on figure)

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Medicom make a lot of different products, one such product they are known quite well for are Kubricks. For me the Kubrick figure is a type of toy/collectible I would only ever associate with Japan, even although it shares similarities with Lego, the design is still what I would call ‘very Japanese’ so much so that if I were to put together a short list of toys that instantly make you think of Japan Kubrick would be one of them.

Their simplicity is one aspect that really appeals to me, how a character is broken down to about as basic as it can be, but still is a great representation of the character, is definitely part of the Kubrick charm in my opinion.

Back in late 2002 and early 2003 Medicom released two series of Kubricks based upon the classic anime film, Lupin The Third: The Castle Of Cagliostro. listed below is a breakdown of each series and the ratio of figures per batch of 24, these were blind boxed so you never knew what figure you were going to get, on top of that Medicom loves to throw in chase figures which are really rare and can be quite hard to come by.

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Series 1 consists of the following figures:

Lupin The Third (5:24)

Daisuke Jigen (4:24)

Goemon Ishikawa (4:24)

Fujiko Mine (in disguise) (2:24)

Lady Clarisse (in wedding dress) (4:24)

Gustav (1:24)

Kage (Cagliostro assassin) (4:24)

Series 1 CHASE Figure: Archbishop (assortment ratio unknown)

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Series 2 consists of the following figures:

Count Cagliostro  (3:24)

Lady Clarisse (4:24)

Inspector Zenigata (4:24)

Police Riot Officer (6:24)

Fujiko Mine (4:24)

Lupin The Third (in wetsuit) (3:24)

Series 2 CHASE Figure: Count Cagliostro (in Cagliostro wedding ceremony attire) (assortment ratio unknown)

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The Castle Of Cagliostro was one of the first Anime films I watched when I was younger, at one time, one of our local TV stations (SBS) had a weekly screening of classic anime films and along with Akira, Ghost in the shell etc  The Castle of Cagliostro was one of them and after first viewing I found myself wanting to watch it and others again ( so it was a short trip to the video store for me!)

Also if anyone knows the full list of anime movies SBS screened during that time, let me know as I’m curious about what the full list was!

Needless to say, these movies left a big impression on me and made me a fan of anime from there on.

Now, when it comes to these particular Kubricks, on my first trip to Japan I picked up just Lupin by himself from Liberty 7 (back before they got raided for all their Kubricks) (and from the sounds of it, I should be placing the blame well and truly on that little box, if the stories are true from their blog page)

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As I obviously recognized him and was also won over by the Kubrick charm at the same time I could see he was from a set, but decided just Lupin was enough for me at the time, However each trip I would slowly pick up a new figure or two from each series, until it was starting to look pretty much complete outside of Gustav, the Archbishop and the chase figure of Count Cagliostro. (Thanks to Nakano, Osaka and other various Japanese stores selling Kubricks)

Thankfully as luck would have it I was able to snag all three from eBay from a Japanese seller who had them up for sale (series 1 in a complete set and the count by himself) after being able to do some research on the chase figures through Mandarake’s sold listings on their website (it’s almost like an archive after all!)

Seeing that there’s so few info on this set I’ve decided to review it as part of my ongoing effort to cover toys and figures that don’t get as much love as they should (pretty much my blog’s mission statement anyway!)

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SCULPTING

Kubricks are made using a base body and then adding extra pieces to them to make up a character, the base body consists of smooth flat surfaces it works well as a blank canvas for the character to be created on. Each figure is a pretty great representation of each character as they appeared in the anime, each with their own specific accessories. They all look great, even if some of the extra chest pieces look a little soft and a little oversized. (Fujiko, for example)

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PAINT

The paint application is the other part of the puzzle to really make Kubricks look great! Most of these figures are not too heavy with the paint applications, it’s quite minimal in all honesty. Still, it’s all very neat with little to no slop.

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ARTICULATION

Kubricks will in most cases share the same amount of articulation unless hindered by an accessory (the Alien space suits for example) Kubricks have the following basic articulation: swivel head, ball-jointed shoulders, swivel hands, swivel waist and ball-jointed hips. These joints are meant to mirror human movement and they accomplish that quite well for each joint’s simplicity. You can get some decent poses if the extra parts don’t interfere too much. But, In most cases, the neutral arms down by the sides, legs straight AKA straight out of the package pose works best.

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ACCESSORIES

Each Kubrick comes with appropriate accessories and Medicom really did a great job with these. As you can see in the photos each character has the appropriate gun or sword, but some of them don’t come with anything at all as that’s perfectly fine too as some of them didn’t have anything to begin with. (Lady Clarisse for example)

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

Not too many things I can think of. Perhaps, losing the tiny accessories or even the hands as they can come out fairly easily. These are made for collectors however, so they should be well taken care of.

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PRICE

Good thing most of the characters in these two series aren’t going to be very expensive if you happen to come across them. only the chase figures or ones that are short packed will have a higher asking price. So it just depends on how much of a completionist you are.

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OVERALL

Kubricks in general are always going to be cool. The designs are that perfect combination of simplicity and detail and I think Medicom have pretty much covered all the characters they possibly could from the movie. I think this is easily the most complete set of Lupin merchandise you are going to come across let alone from the Castle of Cagliostro. If you are a big fan of this movie like me, the two series of Kubricks are a nice set to have. it was fun for me to track down the complete set, even if it did take a bit of time to do so, but there was a lot of toy store hunting in Japan, with eBay ultimately filling in the last few gaps. Medicom have done an excellent job as usual.

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