Monthly Archives: September 2011


Masters of the Universe Classics
Leech
7” Scale
by: Mattel
$20 + shipping from mattycollector.com

I’ll never forget watching “Stand by Me” for the first time. Besides the obvious awesomeness of the movie overall there’s a particular scene that left a big impression. You probably know where I’m going with this, they take a short cut through the swamp and when they come out they’re covered in leeches. That left a pretty big impression on the young me and ever since I’ve been pretty freaked out by leeches.

I imagine that’s one of the reasons I’ve always thought Leech, the member of the Evil Horde that we’re looking at today, was so scary and awesome. He’s the creature that scared me so much in Stand by Me only magnified and made into a true threat, something that could actually hurt a full size person.

Leech’s old toy rode a long way on his gimmick, a set of suction cups that represented his ability to drain (suck) the power from his enemies. I remember sticking mine to every flat surface in our house and freaking out quite a bit when one of his hands came loose from me pulling on it to try and take Leech to his next location. While this new Leech isn’t sporting the same suction cups (boo) as his predecessor he’s still quite the scary looking fella. Does he live up to the spirit of the monsters he was designed to mimic, or does this new Leech just plain suck (sorry)?

Click inside to find out!

Packaging:
As usual, Leech is packed out in the standard, single card Masters of the Universe Classics card with the awesome green bricks and really well done paper inserts that look so nice. He looks really big in the standard bubble, it’s obvious from the get-go that this guy is going to be bulkier than most of the figures on my shelves. You can even see a little peek at his weapons hiding behind him which is a nice touch for Mint on Card folks. The packaging for my Leech is now sleeping with the fishes alongside an AFA Graded Jimmy Hoffa.

Leech’s Bio is alright, instead of him being a naturally dim-witted dude like he was in the cartoon he’s been “mindwiped” bye Shadow Weaver to follow orders. I like this sly mention of Shadow Weaver before it was official that Mattel could make a figure of her (they call her Hordak’s “lead witch”) quite a bit but the rest of the bio is very forgettable.

Sculpt, Paint, Looks:
Leech has a lot of brand new parts which is always very exciting for me, it opens up new possibilities and gives my shelves a bit more variety. The giant hands and feet, the huge toothy head and those teeth are all unique sculpts that won’t likely be re-used (unless they make BATTLE ARMOR LEECH one day). Leech has a decent amount of extra bulk, mostly from his chest piece. It’s not as big a difference as you’ll find between some Marvel Universe figures but it’s certainly noticeable.


I really love the scaley details on Leech’s hands and feet as well as all of the multi-layered plates sculpted onto his head and neck area. He’s also got this really cool sculpted armor that matches the lines of his body. It looks like it’s been designed specifically to be worn by Leech right down to the spikey spines that match up to his own vertebrae. I really wish, though, that something had been put on the flat bottoms of his hands. I don’t know what I’d want on there but they just look a little plain as they are.


It’s a bit of a downer that Leech is forever doomed to stare into the distance with his mouth wide open and it’s also a shame that the poor bastard can never see directly in front of his face. I’ve seen plenty of comparisons to the old toy that show why he looks the way he does but it doesn’t change the fact that Leech needed a closable mouth.


In general though, I am tickled green with the way Leech looks. The paint wash on his green parts give him a life that makes him downright fun to play with and to take pictures of. It’s really amazing to me how the same figure can, with a simple re-posing, go from hilarious and silly to menacing and scary.

Articulation:
Leech has all of the standard MOTUC articulation points and they allow him to get into just about any pose you’d imagine. He’s also has bonus hinges at the wrist which allow him to “POWER SUCK” your heroes powers convincingly! Even with the extra hinges it can still be a little tough to find a natural looking position for those giant hands but that’s not really a problem with the articulation.


Leech has a great ability to balance in several stances that would be tougher for other figures. His big ol’ feet make it really easy to find a pose and then make it work. The swivels and hinges work so well to give him that strong, steady base that Leech needs. Playing with Leech has just reinforced my great sadness with other toy lines that have eliminated the ankle rockers.


My Leech figure’s joints are all extremely tight to the point where they squeak when moved. The only exception to that is his ankles which are quite loose. I’ve used the squeaking as a kind of action feature to annoy my wife and it was only by making Leech look bashful that I avoided a serious beating.

Accessories:
Leech comes with 2 items that are pretty neat but probably destined for the parts bin. He has the usual Horde Crossbow that came with Grizz and Hordak as well as a brand new rubber net. The crossbow is just sort of there for me. It’s based on the same sculpt as the previous crossbows but has it’s own details as well as a nice clip to allow Leech to use it. It looks nice but I can’t really imagine Leech standing at a distance, taking pot shots at the good guys.


The net is a bit better in that it’s all brand new. It’s meant to be a sort of stand in, I think, for Leech’s old suction cups and it’s a nice idea for sure. It’s made of thin but durable plastic that makes it both easy to pose and infuriating to try and keep in one place. The suction cups work about half the time making it pretty frustrating to try and trap anyone in the net. I like the idea of the net and I absolutely love the Horde themed sculpt but it just doesn’t work very well in reality. Obviously Mattel didn’t have to include anything else at all with Leech and so I’m not complaining in the least.


Value:
Leech comes out a little ahead on the value for 2 reasons. He shipped during a month where he was able to split the box fare with another figure (Hurricane Hordak) saving me around 30% off the usual shipping per item. Leech also feels like a better value just because he is a bit bigger and has a lot of parts I’ve never seen before.

Leech is just as well made and sturdy as the majority of the previous MOTUC figures and so I don’t have a problem spending around $26 for him.

Summary:
Leech has gotten a bit of a bad rap around the MOTU community. I’ve read complaints about everything from his open mouth to his cartoonish looks to his size and everything in between and none of those gripes are completely without merit. The thing is, if you look past your own expectations or those of the internet mob and take Leech for what he is, this is a great looking action figure.

It’s really not fair to compare Leech to the NECA Staction like so many have done. MOTUC Leech has joints, accessories and play value. The Staction was a statue, a 100% unique sculpt not restricted by the need to re-use parts or be able to move. I can completely understand folks who would’ve preferred a more 2002 style figure (even if I don’t agree) but you can’t use a mini-statue as proof of how MOTUC Leech should’ve been handled.


I’m excited every time we get a brand new, unique looking MOTU character to play with. Leech is a giant, green monster with sucker hands and mouth that is big enough to fit another character’s head into! I don’t think you need to have any nostalgia for the old Leech toy or even be a big fan of MOTU to appreciate that.


It’s time for a double dose in today’s Classic Comic Ad as this ad is split between two companies. The top ad is rather uninteresting to be honest, as it’s advertising a company that sells back issues of comics. Certainly it would be nice to catch up on those old issues, but that’s not really the star of this show.

Instead turn your attention to the lower half where the Hulk guest stars for the Boys Town National Hotline. With the tagline “We ALL must deal with the MONSTER WITHIN!”

I don’t have anything against the Boys Town Hotline, but I do wonder what problems this kid could have that would be comparable to being the Hulk. And if the Boys Town Hotline can solve the problems of the Hulk, why didn’t Bruce Banner ever call?

Anyone know if this number still works? Do you think I’m too old to call? I have a lot of mental issues. Maybe I don’t turn into a raging green purple pants wearing beast, but I got issues, man. I review toys for crying out loud!

This post brought to you by Untitled Jersey City Project. All opinions are 100% mine.

“I’ll tell you anything you want to know, because I’m not what you think at all…”
 
UNT_091311_Title_bmb_v01.ai (1 page)
 
Who wouldn’t want a beautiful woman saying that to you in the dark shadowy front seat of a 2012 Audi A6 as she prepares to shove her tongue down your throat. That’s a question asked in the Untitled Jersey City Project’s second episode. The question is a valid one, at least until the front of that car is busted open by a madman…
 
Just 32 hours earlier, Ledger reporter Jane Kaplan was grilling Frank about his associations with the troubled Waterfront Stadium Project and lambasting the man behind the project, Larry Tireman. In fact she manages to put her foot in her mouth by calling out Mr. Tireman, right in front of him, unbeknownst to her. Obviously you could cut the sexual tension between Frank and Jane, but that’s clearly not the best of interests to Tireman, who ends the episode by berating and punching Frank’s associate Ray, asking him “What do you do?”, as if he’s failed at his job.
 
Is he upset because Frank and Jane are hooking up? Is he upset that Jane Kaplan has so many details about his financial woes or perhaps his criminal ties? These are questions that will have to be answered by filling in the blanks and continuing to watch the Untitled Jersey City Project.
What is the Untitled Jersey City Project? It’s the exciting new television project from the folks at Audi and FX, which combines real ongoing drama and high stakes concept media to create an episodic experience like none other. Check out the episode and leave your thoughts below.
 
 
I find the characters to be very interesting and I’m wondering if Kaplan isn’t in cahoots with Tireman. She almost hinted as much in the opening line of this episode. Clearly there are lots of twists and turns in this bold new drama. What will become of them all?
 

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Doctor Who – Series 5
Cyberman Pandorica Guard
5 Inch Scale
By: Character Options
$14.99

You know, as soon as I started photographing this horrific monstrosity, the more I started thinking I should have saved it for the 31 Days of Halloween! Seriously, this guy is creepy. Appearing at the conclusion of the Doctor Who Series 5 Pandorica Opens finale, this version of the Cyberman really emphasizes the brutal nature of the Cybermen race.

With a broken head that’s opened to reveal the charred, ancient remains of what was once a human who became trapped inside the mechanical concentration camp. Character Options has passed along this figure to us now and I’m taking a look at it today. This is the “NON-CD” version of this release, aka, the second release. Originally these figures were packed with audio Doctor Who stories as part of the “Build A Pandorica” wave. This still includes the Pandorica part, but no audio CD.

Packaging:
I don’t believe I’ve reviewed a Series 5 figure yet, so I’ll talk a bit about the packaging. This is a new package with a design that’s influenced by the more current version of the show. It’s also plastered with information on the “Build-a-Pandorica” and the CDs.


The front also has a huge sticker on it saying that there is no CD in this version, but the back of the package still rambles on about the audio CD and stories. They probably should have changed the packaging for these re-release waves, but I won’t fault them too much. I mean if you can’t read that big yellow sticker that says it doesn’t have a CD, you must be blind.


Inside is your usual assortment of twist ties. One nice thing is that the Pandorica piece actually has a little rubber band around it to prevent the CD or in this case the phony CD shell from popping loose. It’s a minor thing, but a nice touch.

Sculpt/Paint:
Wow, this guy has some really fantastic paint work. I know a lot of people expected this to be a cheap repaint of the Cyberman figure, but Character Options and DesignWorks once again went above and beyond to present a truly unique figure. It should be noted that Argos (a UK store) also had an exclusive set with a different version of the damaged Cyberman which is quite different, but I’m glad we got this version in mass retail.


For starters the head is detachable. Actually as you can see in the package above, the head doesn’t even start on the body. This definitely sets it apart from most Cybermen figures.


The reason for this is simple, in the show the Cyberman started without his head. He then “came to life” and his head sprouted little cords and grew back onto the body. The cords/tentacles are included here as a separate piece and can be plugged into the head’s neck joint, should you decide to display him in this fashion.


The Cyberman face plates are not hinged, but because the rubber/plastic is soft on the figure, you can squeeze it together if you want. It won’t stay, but I’m sure clever folks could rig something up if they wanted to make it so that you could open and close the head.


Compared to a regular Cyberman there are quite a few key differences. Obviously the paint and head are pretty clear. The chest also has extensive damage.


The damage goes all the way around and isn’t just a new front portion of the torso. It’s also on the shoulder and back areas.


There is also a shoulder “bolt” that’s dislodged on the damaged arm.


Finally there is also some damage sculpted into the legs.


And if that wasn’t enough, there are some parts choice differences. The gun is on the opposite arm, the fist hand is now open and the other hand is the open hand from the Cyber Controller figure. Making in essence, this figure a completely different experiance from the traditional Cyberman that most of us have one or a hundred of, in our collection.

Articulation:
My Pandorica Cyberman feels really loose and hard to stand up straight. I guess it plays in well with the character. For the most part the articulation is very similar to the regular Cybermen figures.


He has a neck that’s more like a cut joint because of the removable head, ball jointed shoulders (with somewhat limited movement), elbow hinges, cut wrists, knee hinges, a bit of a cut at the upper torso which allows just the tiniest bit of movement but not enough to seriously consider it a point, ball jointed hips that are very limited and ball jointed feet.

Accessories:
Doctor Who figures don’t always come with a ton, but this guy manages to have a few accessories. Since this is part of the Pandorica wave, you get the piece to construct it. I don’t think it matters which pieces you have (but don’t quote me on that) so long as you have enough to build the box.


You also get the head and tentacle wires. Obviously the head is a no brainer (pun not intended), but the wires are a nice touch.


The Pandorica piece isn’t anything impressive, but I suspect this looks a bit better than the CDs. On the down side you don’t get an audio adventure, but on the plus side you can leave this displayed all the time. The “CD” still pops out too, if you’re curious.

Value:
At about $15 these guys aren’t cheap. However in the age of DCUC figures being $16-$18 at most places and MOTUC upwards of $20, I don’t feel bad paying $15 for a well made, highly detailed, largely screen accurate import figure. Even if you have a few Cybermen, you could definitely add this one to your collection and not feel bad. The detail on the skull alone is worth it.

Score Recap:
Packaging: 8
Sculpting: 8
Paint: 8
Articulation: 6
Accessories: Pandorica Piece, Tentacle Wires
Value: 8
Overall: 8 out of 10


“Hey the only box I’m getting into is Rose’s!”

This is a solid little entry into the Series 5 figures. Series 5 was definitely short on villains and this new take on the Cyberman makes for a very fun bad guy. I am glad I went ahead and picked him up, despite being on the fence at first.


WWE Legends Series 2
Kamala
7 Inch Scale
By: Mattel
$15.99

Kamala is one of the most recognizable faces on 1980’s wrestling and he maintained a presence until the mid 1990’s throughout both WWF and WCW. Kamala actually got his gimmick in Memphis, battling Jerry Lawler and his storyline of being a untrained savage from Africa was hardly out of place in the territory. He was able to take that gimmick and turn himself into an international superstar.

One of the more interesting things about this Mattel WWE Legends Kamala figure, is that it was even made in the first place. Kamala has been very outspoken about how poorly the WWE treated him. He has claimed racism and among other things, said that many upper management in the WWE wanted gay sex for pushes.

Perhaps the most interesting of all the allegations that Kamala has leveled against the WWE, is that he never made any money off of his figures. Kamala had an original LJN figure and he said he never received any money off of that figure. He apparently was owed 1/4 of a penny per figure sold. He then received a Hasbro WWF figure and he says he made about $10,000 total off of that figure. Even the 2005 Jakks figure, he claims he only received a few thousand dollar for. So yet, despite his claims of receiving little to no money and various accusations of unscrupulous business practices of Vince McMahon, somehow Kamala has yet another WWE figure.

I don’t know if poor Kamala is getting paid for this figure, but I can tell you that it’s his best figure yet!

Packaging:
The Legends packaging is pretty much the same as always, with a stylized photo of Akeem on the front and back. The back of the package talks about his infamous SummerSlam match with the Undertaker. It doesn’t mention this on the package, but according to Kamala, Undertaker was paid $500,000 for the match. Kamala’s paycheck? Only $13,000.


Actually, this sort of depresses me. Let’s hear Kamala sing and shoot in his semi-reality YouTube show…


Sculpt/Paint:
This figure was listed as one of the Mattel WWE design team’s favorite figure and I can see why. It’s really one of their standouts and arguably the best figure they’ve done in the line.


The head scan is fantastic. Typically I don’t like a scan where the person’s face is doing an exaggerated expression, but in this case it works because Kamala is doing one of his patented face poses. Kamala was always making crazy faces and smacking his belly, so it works quite well. It also probably doesn’t hurt that Kamala looks the exact same today as he did in his prime, so Mattel didn’t have to touch up the scan at all.


The body is the same fat body we’ve seen a couple of times from Mattel in the WWE line, but it works quite well here. Kamala was never this buff, but I can appreciate the muscled look. It’s certainly better than the Jakks Kamala fat body.


It seems to me that part of his black skintone is painted on, but I can’t say for certain. One odd thing is that his skirt is made onto the figure. So you can’t remove it. You can lift it up, but you can’t take it off. The skirt doesn’t get in the way too much with posing, either.


The rest of the figure is pretty nicely done, with a nice barefoot mold in place of boots. It’s nice to see that Mattel went ahead and molded these, especially when it’s unlikely that too many others will use the barefoot fat mold.


The paint is really well done with the moon on his belly and the stars on his boobs. He has excellent face paint as well and there’s good paint work on his accessories. This is really fine work from Mattel.

Articulation:
Kamala has the standard Legends/Elite articulation with double knees, ball neck, torso hinge and the ball hinge legs. There are the normal assortment of hinges and swivels as well in the arms, wrists and legs. Because Kamala is a big man, his leg articulation is a bit more limited by the sculpt, but for the most part he is quite poseable.


He can do most of his poses decent, although I would have loved some chop hands. Kamala did a lot of chops and he can’t properly smack his belly with the regular hands. Not a major deal, though.


Kamala wasn’t exactly a mat technician, so you can probably get him into most any pose he actually did in real matches.

Accessories:
Kamala has more accessories than most WWE figures. He really makes out quite well.


He gets his African tribal mask, which is a must. It’s really nicely done and fits on his head perfectly.


It has a little strap on the back to keep it on.


He also gets his shield. He doesn’t have a spear, but I’m not too bent out of shape about it.


The shield has a handle which fits snug in Kamala’s hands.


His necklace is also removable and he gets a nameplate stand as well. This really feels like a great value at the price.

Value:
With a great head sculpt, great paint and a ton of logical accessories, Kamala is one of the best WWE Legends figures out there. He perfectly recreates a classic character and is bar none the best Kamala figure to date.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 8
Sculpting – 8
Paint – 9
Articulation – 8
Accessories – Mask, Shield, Stand, Necklace
Value – 9
Overall – 9 out of 10


“Why your paycheck so much bigger than Kamala’s?”

“Kim-Chee doesn’t get a cut.”


Kamala is probably the best Legends figure in Wave 2 and one of the best overall Mattel WWE Legends to date. He’s got a ton of great accessories, good sculpting and he channels the legendary wrestler in every way. Hopefully the real Kamala gets some money out of the deal this time around. PUSH IT and PULL IT!