Rob


Doctor Who – Classics
Leela Face of Evil
5 Inch Scale
By: Character Options
$25.99

Another Who figure for me this week. I must get back to DVD reviews, although writing these does make me feel justified for paying the money to get the figures. This week I am looking at the new Leela figure, part of what I hope is a great new line of classic companions. Fingers crossed we might get a Sarah Jane, or Romana, or, hope of hopes, a classic Susan Foreman? Time will tell.

But that is for another day. Today we have Leela.

Packaging:


When I first saw the new package design I was less than impressed. Mainly because I am tired of CO changing the packaging as much as they do. I am a display guy at heart, and my figures do get displayed in their original packaging. It annoys me when they all look like they are from different things instead of maintaining some uniformity. Sigh, such is the plight of the nerd 🙁

Upon getting my hands on this package, though, I find I am really digging it. The plastic is nice and clear, and displays everything very well. The backer board is really vibrant and not full of crappy blurbs like the River Song figure I reviewed last time. And the Doctor Who logo is raised, which just really looks nice overall.


The back is also nice, giving a mini bio of who Leela is, and how she came to be a companion to the Doctor.

Sculpt:
It might be picky to complain about the lack of accuracy on a toy of this scale, but when you look at how closely they managed to match all of the Doctors it seems a bit rushed.


First, I have no idea which face they were looking at when they sculpted this, but it darn sure wasn’t Louise Jameson. She looked like this:


It might be picky to complain about the lack of accuracy on a toy of this scale, but when you look at how closely they managed to match all of the Doctors it seems a bit rushed.

And that’s not the only thing rushed. From top to bottom this figure feels like something they slapped together in a weekend. Many of the body pieces have paint slop on them, and a number of the joints feel loose or painted stiff.

And if you think I’m just being picky, look at these:


The pic on the left shows two instances of really sloppy work. The lines down the back, which I assume are the strings that are supposed to hold up her top, are really poorly painted. And her shoulder not only has a massive slop of black paint, there is even a fingerprint smudge underneath it. The pic on the right shows the shoulder socket, and as you can see, the first time her arm was raise the socket basically stripped all the paint off the joint right down to the plastic underneath.

This is really crappy quality control, and really bad design work. Again, I have to call on Character Options to work much harder on their quality control, and really rethink how they do paint on these figures. This has been a common problem for me, and I think it is time they consider plastics that are colored the right color instead of trying to paint on the details with such slop.

For something that costs around 20-30 bucks each, a lot more time should have been spent on at least making sure that slop like this was not passed on to packaging. I actually picked up two of these figures and was pleased to see the second one did not have this smudge on the shoulder, but I wish this one had been caught before it was shipped.

Articulation:


For a figure that bills itself as poseable, this figure has some problems. Like the Amy figures, the hair prevents the neck from turning at all. Also, the legs go into the hip joints in such a way that they can barely move more than a few centimeters forward and back. To make up for this, I guess, the legs rotate at the boot, although I’m not really sure of the benefit of this. Yet another female figure from Character Options that cannot sit down. Good thing there are not a lot of seats on the Tardis.

Accessories:


Leela was a warrior, and so it is nice that she comes with a lot of weapons. The problem is when you try to get her to use them.


She’s OK as long as she is always attacked from her left!

Her knife fits nicely in its holster, but not in her hand. The gun just barely fits in her hands, and when you twist it to face forward the armrest pushes it out of her hand. The crossbow has a strap to go over her shoulder, but because of her hair it has nowhere to rest and slides off, and when she does hold the bow, the arrow just kind of lies there, waiting for a stiff breeze to knock it off.

The Verdict:
If you only plan to buy this to display it in the box, then I would encourage you to consider picking it up. In the package it looks great, and none of the problems I mentioned will be an issue. If, however, you have the audacity to take it out of the box to actually pose it or play with it, then you will be fairly disappointed. Character Options seems to be getting better and better at making figures that look great on display, but fall apart once you look closer at them. I really hope they get things back on track over there, or we have a lot of garbage to deal with in the future.


Listen, don’t take this the wrong way, but I’ve found a new Leela, and her gun doesn’t fall out of her hand when she moves. Best of luck to you though!



Doctor Who – Series 5

River Song

5 Inch Scale

By: Character Options

$16.99


Ah River Song, you finally get your new series single card figure dues. I’ve waited a long time for this figure, and I am really glad that Character Options is finally getting around to making some of the actual regular characters from the show into figures. Their methodology for choosing which figures to release is perplexing at best, but until I take over the company in a massive display of insider trading, we’ll just have to keep calm and carry on.



Packaging:



Nothing really spectacular here. The back board just lists a bunch of characters that they are releasing. It gives you a good idea about what kind of planning is going on at headquarters because we have another doctor figure without any real difference, and a ganger figure with the same body, just different hands and feet. The astronaut does look neat, and might be nice to have just as a standalone figure, but why Uncle was chosen and WE STILL HAVE NO RORY FIGURE is beyond me.



Inside each package you get not only the character, you also get a small bag of “The Flesh.”



It’s taped to the inside of the board, and because it is right behind the figure this has lead CO to slightly modify the way the figures are packaged. Instead of the standard wire binding their figures usually come with, these figures are held in with much less potentially pokey plastic thread ties.

Sculpt:

This sculpt has some really nice things going on with it, and some really bad. We’ll start with the good.



The Good:

This figure is very detailed, and it is nice to see so much time went into the actual sculpt. There are little details all over the place that really make this figure pop, such as the show accurate props on her belt (which sadly do not remove) the working holster, and the layers in the jacket. The figure is also fairly steady and stands with little effort, even in different poses. There was no stiffness in the joints, or over looseness, which has been a problem for me with some of these figures.

The Bad:

There are really two complains here. The first is the messy paint. There are several places on the figure where the white paint on the jacket is not doing a good job of covering up the pink underneath. I do not know why this figures torso was not just molded from white plastic instead of molding it from colored and then painting it white.

The entire figure is painted, like all CO figures, and that is really odd to me. Unless changing colors in molded plastic is really, really expensive, I cannot think why it is cheaper and easier to pay someone to repaint the entire figures. Paint slop is frequently an area that I have problems with in their figures and I really wish they would consider a change.



The Ugly:

I know hair is hard to sculpt with a plastic toy, but seriously, this looks like plastic dreadlocks. There is no bounce or vibrancy or anything . Character options has really not done a great job with hair, especially on their female figures, but at least this hair lets her neck turn.

Also, I can’t shake the feeling that this sculpt originally was based on Zoe Wanamaker and then quickly adjusted to Alex Kingston.

Articulation:

The other problem is with how they sculpted the hip joints. I just do not understand this. This just looks terrible. I know this is a typical bend for Who hips, but on this figure it really looks grotesque. And the top of the legs are covered in plastic burrs and paint, so it just really looks messy. Standing, the figure looks fine, but when you try to flex you get this mess.



It’s not as if they don’t have better female hips. The Amy figures have featured more natural and less freakish hip bends, but apparently that would be too easy.



This figure has the standard Who joints: Shoulder with ball sockets, upper arm, elbow, wrist, torso, hips, knees, and neck. They all worked well and had no problems flexing.

Accessories:



A nice piece, although a bit confusing again with the paint. In the show the gun was white with black smudges. On the toy it’s black with white Christmas flocking sprayed on it. She holds it well, but since her fingers are all together she can’t really look like she is firing it. It does fit nicely in the holster though.



Yeah, all the figures in this wave come with these, even the astronaut I think. I guess that’s the big selling point for kids? It fits well but really doesn’t add anything to this figure for me. Also, since this River figure is from series 5, not 6 there never was a flesh connection there in the first place, so, yeah…

As stated before, all these figures also come with little pouches of the flesh. I guess it’s for kids, although it’s interesting to me that the point of the episode with the flesh is that the flesh was a living thing and should not just be treated like disposable gunk to be tossed aside when it wasn’t needed anymore. And to honor this, they give you a pouch of it to squeeze on the floor, and then throw away when it isn’t needed anymore. So, again, yeah…

The Verdict:

This figure is going to cost you around 30 bucks on the internet. It looks kind of cool, and has some nice features, but is also has some big problems for that price. And now that they have a River face sculpt they are bound to start dropping it on other bodies that will hopefully be better planned out. Personally I am hoping we’ll see River in her US denim outfit, as well as her Cleopatra outfit, but only time, and I guess sales, will tell.

If you can get it cheap, it’s worth it, but don’t break the bank if you can. You might want to hold out for the next one.


Simpsons Kidrobot Vinyl Mini Figures
Homer & Marge Simpson
3 Inch Scale
By: Kidrobot
$9.95

Kidrobot is a company that is perhaps best known for their vinyl Dunny figures, tiny, rabbit eared figures that have as many designs as they don’t have body types. These little handcrafted gems have become quite collectable among various groups, and Kidrobot has been eager to branch out. Which brings us to their Simpsons line.

Continue reading

Hello all, it is good to be back. As Newt mentioned in his report of the Wizard World con, I was also in attendance, although I did not take nearly as many photos as Newt did, so please bear with me if this is more talky talk than photo.

I figured the best way to describe my day and a half was to break it down in chunks, so here goes

Chicago Comic Con Report:

10 AM

We arrived to find the Con not nearly as crowded as you would think on a Saturday morning. As VIP ticket holders we were able to walk right in without having to wait in the line, which is nice. If you are planning on going to the con yourself next year, make sure that you consider picking up one of these packs. It’s worth it not to be trapped outside. Even thought the doors opened at 10, because it was run by volunteers things did not really go that smoothly at the doors, and some people didn’t get in until almost 11.

11 AM

I have already spent 100 bucks at this point. And 90 of that was on a single item.



Yep, I know some Who fans are on the fence about River, but I like her. She adds an interesting level of depth to the Doctor, and is a character that isn’t just there to be wowed by how smart the Doctor is. (The fact that she kind of looks like my wife doesn’t hurt either.)

In fact, my wife was the one to encourage me to actually buy this! Little word to the wise, if you are going to buy an autograph make sure it has a certificate of authenticity, and that you save the receipt from the vendor. There are lots of shifty people at these things with huge books of autographs, and if you plan on reselling them you better be able to prove they are real.

12 PM.

This con is huge, and I was a little overwhelmed by how much there was to see. However, despite the hugeness I was a bit bummed by how little Who stuff there was in general. There was one booth that had some stuff, and a cool Dalek outside, but really there was not much to be had. I hate to say it, but my beloved internet is probably partly to blame for this (by partly I mean mostly). It’s just not worth it to order stuff off the internet and then try to resell it for more when people here can buy stuff off Ebay for less. I really wish that the BBC could work out some kind of deal with a US company to make and distribute Doctor Who merch, but sadly that may not be.



Nope, not me. I am prettier than this man!




1 PM.

At this point much cash has changed hands. I picked up a plethora of cool posters, including a neat Dalek blueprint poster and one of the Van Gogh Tardis explosion, and now it’s time for the Bruce Campbell VIP treatment.

Take a good look at this photo, for therein lies a tale:



This photo took about 20 seconds to take, including posing time. When they finished, they told us they would put the pics out on some nearby tables for us to pick up later. So we went off to see Patrick Stewart talk, and figured we’d get the photos then.

Yeah…

2 PM.

Patrick Stewart was awesome. The panel was run by Chris Hardwick from G4, and he did an excellent job. He was so good that at one point Stewart told him he was very funny (at which point Hardwick said he could die a happy man)



He began by telling us a story about falling asleep while acting in ST:TNG, and went on the tell us how he got the part in the first place (he told us Roddenberry didn’t want him because he was bald, British, and middle aged). He also recounted to us how he didn’t want to play Xavier, and how his family talked him into it.

There were also a number of stories about how he started Star Trek as a very serious actor, and how he now is much more open to his comedic side. He made many jokes, and his son was able to add some very interesting bits in as well, which was nice because no one knew what to ask him (he’s only done a single episode of ST:TNG, and as he told us, he basically played the part in movies of the computer tech working for the evil mastermind, which fits when you look at him)

The Q and A was short, but good. One person made a crack about the film Mastermind which lead Hardwick to ask the questioner if he was looking to get his backside kicked by trekkies. Stewart laughed and took the guy’s photo so he knew to avoid him in the future, then told us he thought that movie was going to make millions and be the next Home Alone.

Wizard World has a youtube channel with several of the panels available to watch. If you went and missed a few, like I did, they are fun to check out.

The Patrick Stewart panel wrapped up at 3, with everyone happy and in high spirits. Then things went downhill.

3 PM.

For some reason the Levar Burton panel was right after the Patrick Stewart one, so people who went to the first didn’t have time to make it to the second. Bummed by this, we went down to see if our pics were out.

Some were, but ours was not. We waited for half an hour before I gave up and went to stand in line to get the autograph that was part of our package. At this point I was told that the line had been cut, and that no one else would be able to get an autograph because Campbell had a speaking venue in a few minutes.

So we went back to find out photos, and still, nowhere to be seen. Apparently the Buffy cast photos were taking way too long, so no one could help us, and we were told to come back the next day.

At this point we were feeling kind of burnt, and the photo situation didn’t help. We waited around for another hour, and then headed for the hotel.



Even my new mini-Who poster could not ease my sadness 🙁

Day 2.

Full of Waffles, and a surprise encounter with a member of the bWo from the WWE who was apparently staying at our hotel (it was a nice, but cheap hotel, so looks like old Vince is still a sweetheart) we decided to swing by the con on our way home to see if they had our photos.

Well after an hour of arguing with various underlings I finally got a hold of the head photographer, who printed out new copies of both photos, mumbles something about pics getting damaged by water, and then was on my way home to Michigan. Sweet, sweet Michigan.

Overall:

This is a cool con, and definitely the biggest one in reach and price range for me. We had a lot of fun and I picked up several little items I will be writing reviews on. They had more stuff than I could cover in one write up, and that was after a single day of walking around.

It also was a lot of fun, and I will probably be back next year. And I promise to take more photos 🙂

If you’ve never been to a big con I do recommend you go, and go early, because things get crowded fast. I really wish the Chicago con did a better job of arranging things, because for some reason they always cram all the celebs right up by the entrance, and that just makes things up there a huge bottleneck.

Also, next month in Michigan there is the Detroit Fanfare fest at Cobo hall. Bruce Campbell will be there, and I will get my photo autographed!

So next month, if you can make it, look for the guy in the awesome Infinite Hollywood shirt, and buy him something nice! 😉

Hello all, been a while. I’ve been out getting married, which surprisingly has really cut into my dvd watching 😉 So today, before we get ready to wing our way to a fabulous northern Michigan honeymoon, I snuck off for a few minutes to write a very special review.

As I have previously mentioned, I married a wonderful geek like me, who was perfectly happy to have an unusual wedding cake. The result?


I’ve never done a food review, so I’ll do my best. The cake was made in a little local bakery, which is known for doing cool and unusual cakes. The funny part was how many times I had to explain to them what the heck the Tardis was! They kept asking me if I was a police officer, which I guess is not surprising, but still, come on Doctor Who, you really need more influence on that US market!

The Structure:
The base, up to the tops of the windows is actually made of foam blocks, and just the top is two layers of cake. Between them there was a vanilla butter cream frosting. The cake was secured to the top by two wood rods, to keep if from shifting.


The windows, sign, and lights are all fondant coverings, which did not taste great, but the frosting and cake itself were delicious. And yes, the frosting does turn your teeth, mouth, and everything else it touches blue.


The cake was a little tricky to cut, since the light was in the middle so I had to kind of cut at an odd angle. Not the easiest thing to do in the world, especially when there are a hundred people watching you! Still, I managed, and received rave reviews.

Later on…

In order to make sure our guests did not all have blue mouths we instead had the bakery provide us with a number of sheet cakes with plain white frosting on top, which was also a big hit. The Tardis cake was wheeled to the back until the end of the night when we asked for the leftovers.

This is what they gave us:


Suffice it to say we have plenty of blue teeth moments ahead of us!

And so I sign off for a while, as we get ready to leave on our honeymoon soon. I probably will not be back until August. However, one of the gifts we received was an all expenses paid trip to Chicago to Wizard World, on the Bruce Campbell experience package, so you know I will have much to say and show after that.