Action Figure Review, Star Wars CUSTOM Black Series Mara Jade

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This figure is a custom design done by Eric LeFeber of Insidious Customs and has been featured on several websites, including StarWarsCustom.net.

I saw it on Ebay a few weeks ago and instantly fell in love with it. Hasbro and other companies have yet to release a 6in figure of her and the selection of figures available for this character are… well… let’s just say there’s not much to choose from. The 3.75 inch figures either have weird faces, bulk body sculpts (huge shoulders), or the hair is insane. For such a beloved character out of the now-Legends series, you’d think there would have been better options made. There is a large anime statue of her that isn’t terrible, but it’s super expensive and the art is from a form of Japanimation. If you’re not into anime, this isn’t for you. So that one caters to a specific audience.

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So Mara Jade has unfortunately been all but forgotten in the action figure world… or so we thought. Then this little magnificent piece shows up…

So let’s take a look at it!

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She comes with a purple lightsaber, a removable gray cape, and a blaster. Her belt is not removable, but the goggles are.

I absolutely love the design of the figure. The creator got her almost perfect, down to the little details. Her eyes are green and her hair is the correct color. The paint quality is top notch and feels very durable. This has been a problem I’ve had with other customs where the paint can and often does rub off when you’re trying to put the figure into a new pose.

Her belt and lightsaber appear to be taken from the Jaina Solo black series figure and repainted. It’s a nice touch as they both resemble the what we see Mara Jade with in the mediums she actually appears.

One thing I will note is that it seems people can’t decide if the color of her outfit is blue or black. The creator went with black and that’s fine by me as some of the action figures did as well. This figure appears to be from the Emperor’s Hand time period, so that makes sense.

It can do several poses and the body looks like it’s the female Marvel Legends mold (I think), thus it is quite versatile. However, here’s where we run into our first problem. One leg appears to be a few millimeters longer than the other leg. As such, the figure cannot stand straight up on both feet without bending one foot slightly. She looks better in a ‘ready’ stance because of this.

Another issue is that the belt doesn’t quite fit her properly. I think I might try heating it to see if I can get a better mold to the figure from it, but I have not decided yet. It’s a minor quip, but one I thought I should bring up.

My last and final issue with the figure is gun.

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It actually looks like the gun she uses, so credit where credit is due… however, the gun seems a little big for her and not really to scale. (look at it in comparison with the one in the photo. Arguably it’s not super huge, but it is noticeable. It also goes to my only MAJOR complaint with the figure; the gun does NOT fit into the holster. Not even close. There is no way to jam it in there. As a result, there is no way to get it to fit, and because the character can only grip one accessory (the other hand is open), you can’t have both on her at the same time.

My rating… 3.5/5

This is a tough one, because while the figure has some problems, but I really do love it. The creator clearly put a lot of time in choosing the correct parts and sculpts so that it actually looks like Mara down to perfection. The problems with the figure are mostly minor and even the most critical of collector can live with.

If you’re interested in this one, I’d encourage everyone to keep an eye on Eric’s blog and his ebay listing. He posts some really great stuff there!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Action Figure Review, Star Wars Bandai SH Figuarts Padme Amidala

All I can say is thank God for the secondary market. Half of the best figures would be impossible to acquire otherwise!

I haven’t done one of these reviews in a while, so I thought I’d make today’s offiering a good one!

Today I’m reviewing the Bandai S.H. Figuarts Padme Amidala Episode II Japanese (sigh) exclusive!

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Let me just start off by saying that I LOVE these figures. The detail and the painting are great, but the big winner is the face sculpts. These put even some of the more details PVC statues to shame! It is actually kind of freaky how much these look like the characters they’re meant to portray. So let’s delve into this figure.

We’ll start in the obvious place… the box! This figure comes packaged in two boxes and I really do recommend keeping both if you plan on keeping her as a collector’s piece. Most people won’t care about the cover box, but I’d still say keep it.

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(… obviously, you’re not going to keep her in the damn thing!)

So after opening this box, we move onto the second package.

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This is where one of my few complaints comes from with this figure. There is no window! This will be a pretty big problem for the purists that don’t even want to open the damn box! Which I do not agree with, as long as you keep the box in perfect shape and it can be opened or resealed without damage, it should be okay, but that’s an argument for a different day. I know a lot of people, myself included, like to display these figures in the box. I don’t think you can really do that with this one. So that’s a bit of a letdown.

Anyway, let’s move on to the happier aspects of the figure.

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(I apologize, my camera sucks!)

She has almost complete poseability in terms of how humans can move. She is jointed at the hips and under the shirt, her legs are ball jointed at the hips. Her knees have a conventional joint and really can’t rotate her lower leg. her feet and toes also have joints, which is something I’ve only seen on Figma anime figures. It’s a nice touch.

Her shoulders have a very weird double joint. It does allow for more movement, but it’s just an unusual design. Her elbows, unlike her knees, are ball jointed, and her wrists also have a nice ball joint.

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She doesn’t come with a base, but she is fairly easy to stand, even with all the joints.

The paint job is incredible. Where most figures from this particular part of the movie are completely white, not showing any dirt or anything. It’s always been a little irking and a reason why I’ve never purchased one of them. This one is painted, showing the dirt and stains from the Geonosian sands. It appears to get a darker tan as it goes down the figure, and is dirtiest at the feet. This is an attention to detail that really makes this figure stand out.

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My camera really doesn’t do this figure justice, but it’s what I have to work with.

Now, let’s move onto accessories… she comes with the droid blaster that is pictured above. She also has four spare hands. The two full open ones are attached, but then you’ve got two semi-closed, and two gripping hands so that you can put the blaster in.

This is where my second complaint comes in. Semi-closed hands don’t really do it for me. I would have preferred fists, personally. I just don’t get the point of semi-open. However, this is just me.

Since we’re dealing with complaints right now, let’s move onto the last one; the blaster. It is next to impossible to get into the figure’s hand by simply applying pressure and moving the thumb and fingers. You risk breaking either the blaster or the figure’s hand. Not a good move. The blaster’s handle is only held in place with friction. So pull it out, and push the handle into her hand from below before attaching the blaster. I don’t particularly care for this setup as even the slightest amount of pressure will cause the gun to fall apart. This makes for easy losing.

All right, onto the final accessory. she comes with a second head attachment. This one with clenched teeth:

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I know a lot of people say that this one looks more like her, but I do not agree. I think the first one, looking at it closely does bear a slightly closer resemblance. As you can see from the details, they went to great lengths to get her face perfect, down to the damn beauty marks!

I should also note that this is currently the ONLY 6″ Padme Amidala figure. They have another one coming out from Hasbro’s Black Series, but the face sculpts on those are hit or miss… and what I’ve seen from the prototype… well…

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Geesh… and that’s the prototype. The production models tend not to look at good as those… So, yeah, I think… I’m going to pass on that one.

Overall…

I’m giving this figure a 5/5!

She’s joined perfectly, the sculpting is perfect, the paint is perfect, the detail is insane, and it’s actually eerie how much it looks like her… like seriously, I look at the figure’s eyes and expect it to blink. The problems it has are minor and more preferential gripes than anything else. Except for the fact that it was a damn Japanese exclusive, that really sucks!

I was lucky enough to get this figure off a collector for >$100… however I see them on Ebay for around $200-$300. That’s insane! Geeks are known for spending a ton of money on merch, but… I dunno, I guess this figure would be worth the pricetag, but when they retailed for around $65 originally… that’s a tough pill to swallow. If you can find it for under $200, I’d say scoop it up quickly! Otherwise, it’s going to put a dent in your wallet!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Action Figure Review, Modded Serana. Skyrim Figure

This review was a year in the making. As everyone knows, the Funko Skyrim figures have been… limited. No, I’m serious, there are two. The Dragonborn and the Daedric lord. I don’t own one of the Daedra, so I can’t speak to it. (give me a break, they’re like $150 – $300 on eBay)  However, I do feel like the Dragonborn figure is fairly detailed, but somewhat cheaply made… and I don’t care for the choice of outfit. I get that it’s the cover image, but still.

That’s it. Those are the only figures. There’s no Serana, no dragons, no Jarl Ulfrich, no Whiterun Guards, nothing. I know a few statues have made their way onto the market, but those are not the same as action figures, and again… it’s always the Dragonborn.

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I wanted a Serana figure pretty badly because she’s one of my favorite companions in Skyrim. She’s tough, uses various magic and necromancy, her AI is significantly improved, she’s a vampire, and her backstory is pretty awesome. Plus her interactions with the Dragonborn come off as genuine and very well-written… and she’s voiced by my all-time favorite voice actress; Laura Bailey.

Yes, THAT Laura Bailey:
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If you’ve never encountered her work, then you have no business considering yourself a geek/nerd! Her roles include the following:

Lucina – Fire Emblem Awakening/Super Smash Brothers
Jaina Proudmore – WoW
Rayne – Bloodrayne
Bianca – Dragon Age 3
As well as a library of Anime and Comic titles!

So chances are you’ve encountered her work at some point. Needless to say, I’m a pretty big fan.

However, that’s a different topic for a different time. So two problems I had… there are some sites out there that do actually make custom statues of her and sell them on Etsy… but I look at them and… they just look low quality to me. I was also not a huge fan of Serana’s generic appearance. It was fine for what it was, but like all the other characters, it came off as very generic. So wanted to make some changes. Fortunately, Nexusmods has several to choose from… several…

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Just to showcase a few. So I went through a bunch but didn’t really find one I loved… I did some tweeting to her on my own and came across a mod known as Serana BVFE.

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I downloaded it and tested it against Laura’s voice… it matched up pretty well! So after all that tweaking, I finally had my modded Serana to match the rest of my… rather absurdly modded Skyrim…

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So now the chances of me getting any sort of collectible that matched what was in my game were Zero from the market. I had to find other means. This time around, it wasn’t difficult. Remember my previous review of my Aranya figure?

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John Harmon from Mint Condition Customs is an artist when it comes to these types of things. I commissioned him to create a figure for me of Serana BVFE.  The results were… stunning to say the least…

I don’t use the term ‘artist’ loosely, but needless to say, I was super pleased with the figure I received. No detail had been spared in making her.

I was sent pictures of the parts he used in creating her, molding the custom parts, and fitting everything together. As always, I’m skeptical at first, but as time went on, I began to see it more and more.

In terms of her articulation, she is somewhat limited because the cloth skirt attached to her legs is somewhat delicate, but she can still take on some rather threatening stances…

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Now it just falls to me to make a case for her. I’m already working on that, using the box from my Funko Dragonborn figure… I gave him to my kids so God knows what’s become of him.

Her paint is terrific, her articulation is pretty good and all in all, I’m very happy. If anyone does see this and get inspired to commission one, be wary of a few things;

  1. They are not cheap. Who said being a geek wasn’t costly, right? It’s not unreasonable, given what geeks typically spend on collectibles, but it may not be for the average figure efficianato.
  2. These are technically not toys. While they can withstand some abuse, the paint job can and does rub a little, so it’s something to be aware of.
  3. Creation takes time. John gets many requests and while he’s prompt to respond and begin work, expect a turnaround of 6mo – 1year + for completion.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this little… gush fest from me! Thanks!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

DC Teen Titans… I have a bad feeling about this…

All right, full disclosure here. We haven’t seen much yet. Admittedly we haven’t seen much, so this may all be over nothing. I’m usually one to reserve judgement until I see the show… but I guess Marvel’s Inhumans has made me a little bitter.

Unfortunately… so far, I’m getting the same vibe from Teen Titans that I got from The Inhumans. Take a look at the cast photos that have been released so far…

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Okay now… maybe they’re not in full makeup yet, but even here… from what we can see of the hair and costumes, I think that there is cause to be concerned. For starters, the hair color looks cheap. I did a better job with my kids at Halloween with a $3 can of hairspray.

Secondly, let’s consider Starfire’s hair and outfit. On the surface, one could say that… maybe they’re going a little bit more for the DC Kid’s version, which if this is going to be on public television or something like that (from what I understand, it won’t be) then I could get that decision.
I know a lot of people have an issue with the skimpy and/or form fitting costumes that Starfire wears. On the other side, there is the credible argument that Starfire is an alien from a culture with little to no concept of modesty and thus the skimpy outfit makes sense for her character. I don’t take a side on this one, frankly both sides have a point. That said, the outfit looks cheap and the hair is making me very worried. Especially when you compare it to a fan Photoshop job of the actress:

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This is pretty perfect. If this were one of the initial peaks we got of the Titans, I’d be very excited right now. Sadly… I’m not. It’s still very early, so this may be over nothing. However based SOLELY on what we’ve seen so far… this has Inhumans level of disaster written all over it.

More recently… they’ve released an image of Robin.

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Admittedly this does look a lot better than the above images. However it still looks a little too much like Joel Schumacher’s Robin. On the other side… I get it, it’s Robin, there’s only so much you can do with the sidekick who was basically written to give Batman someone to save… and is basically a human target, but still.

On a side note, to the people complaining on both sides regarding the race of the actress chosen… She’s an orange-skinned alien. Unless orange is now part of the Caucasian people thanks to Trump, she was never Euro-centric in anyway. On the other side, not everyone criticizing her casting is doing so because of her race. There are plenty of legitimate reasons for not liking a casting outside of race. Everyone needs to grow up a little on this argument.

Okay… so what does everyone think? Is there cause to worry or are people getting all up in arms over nothing? Let me know down in the comments.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

A Part of our Childhood Dies

I know, I know…. #FirstWorldProblems! I don’t care.

Being a toy collector, and a huge proponent of geek culture, I felt I had to address this. For people around the world who may not know, in at least the United States and Canada Toys R Us was a place most of us looked at fondly ever since we were children and we’re really sad to see it go.

When I was little, I got my first Gameboy at the one in Dedham, Massachusetts. I remember getting Nintendo, Gameboy, all the way up to Sony Playstation games there before I went to college. You always went in and grabbed a slip of paper that you brought up to the front to check out. There were literally three isles of games to look through. Back then, they had everything.

This wasn’t just with video games though, back then, Toys R Us was a one-stop-shop for all things a kid or geek could ever want. They had model kits and paints, arts and crafts supplies, bikes, an endless supply of action figures… going in there as a kid and being let loose to find the one treasure that I’d been hoping to find (within reason of course), and the joy if finding it still in stock.

I do realize that the place has changed, pricing there has gotten a little crazy, and it’s not anywhere near what it was when I was a child, but being a parent now myself… watching my kids experience the same thing when we go in there… that magic never left. I’m just really sorry that my kids will no longer be able to experience that. Yes, we still have targets, walmarts, etc. that have their toy sections, but it’s not really the same thing.

So if you found this post to be tripe and focused on something that really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, well I’m sorry you feel that way, but it’s always tough to watch a piece of nostalgia disappear forever and I will miss it.

However I’d like to hear from some of my readers. Do you have fond memories of this company or another that no longer exists? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments. I’d love to hear about them.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Action Figure Review: The Good, The Bad…

So I recently got my hands on a pair of action figures that I was really excited to get.

The first one was the Toys R Us limited Edition Black Series Rey. I wasn’t planning on purchasing this one as I got the standard version of this figure… but when Toys R Us going out of business, I got it for $8. and honestly, I would have paid the full $25-$40 for it.

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The other was the DC Multiverse Bernside Batgirl.

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All right. So let’s start with Rey:

I bought the original with plastic robes and honestly… it was okay, the painting and detail was fine. However the face… one looks a little too chubby, two looks like she hasn’t slept in days.

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Like I said, it’s a decent figure. The detailing is great, the accessories are great, and the articulation is pretty good… the plastic makes it hard to do certain poses, but for what it is, it’s okay.

The Toys R Us limited edition on the other hand… They went with cloth for both the robes and the skirt. Not only does this look better, but it helps a lot with the articulation. So what about the face?

It has a more enhanced paint job that is more detailed and has more flushed colors to the face. Let’s take a look side by side:

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The paint detailing on the face really makes a huge difference. You can really tell that they put a lot of work into this one. You can also see that they enhanced the paint on her arm straps, and belt. Even the cut on her arm is enhanced with small dot matrix print.  Honestly, I was very happy with it, especially given the price I paid.

I highly recommend her, even if you have to pay full price.

So what about the S.H. Figuarts version?

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It’s all right… I mean some of the face sculpts are better than others, but I can’t stomach the $60 price tag I keep seeing for it. There is also a Sixth Scale Figure… but… um… it’s expensive, and honestly it is impressive, but I don’t see spending that much money for it.

So in case it’s not abundantly clear, the Toys R Us exclusive Rey is the good, I would pick it up because with Toys R Us out of business, they’re going to become scarce.

So what about the bad?

Well let’s move over to the Batgirl…

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I admit that I’d been waiting for a figure to come out of her. I love the new costume and couldn’t wait.

The figure… well… My heart sank when I got it. I should have been more prepared. DC and Marvel figures, by in large, have been very cheaply made. Either the heads were too big, the joints didn’t work, or the paint was wonky.

This figure… it just looked cheap. The plastic feels cheap, the joints aren’t very tight, and the two accessories are… well unimpressive. She comes with a bat boomerang and a cell phone, to perform the mirror selfie scene from her first appearance.

The only thing I like about this figure is the face. The face looks like the comics. The head sculpt was dead on. It seems to be that either I get a good head sculpt or good body. So while the head and face get high marks… the rest of her, however… not so much.

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For starters, her arms do not bend very far. They don’t even make 90*. The waste can twist, but not without breaking the mold. The legs are not ball jointed… so you know that selfie pose she does in the comic? Can’t post her that way.

The paint around the belt is cheap and actually flows onto the outfit… and worst of all… absolutely the worst part… is that abdomen joint. That almost completely ruins the figure for me. Unlike the others, you can’t make this separation go away. It was molded in a way that makes it stand out. Honestly, it just looks terrible.

I’m not against the idea of having a joint there. The Jaina Solo figure, one of my all time favorites, has a very similar one. However it’s far more well hidden:

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Take a very close look at her. It’s very hard to see. This is how you do it right.

So in the end, I recommend the Rey figure, but would urge everyone to pass on the Batgirl one.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Comic Collecting…

 

So for the longest time now, my comic book collecting has been fairly minimal. Since I cancelled all of my Marvel pulls and have restricted myself to Teen Titans, Lady Mechanika and a few indie titles, my monthly box at The Hall of Comics has been kind of bare.

That being said, every now and then, I do get a diamond or two…

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Lady Mechanika The Clockwork Assassin #1 SDCC 1/250, Autographed by Joe Benitez and M. M. Chen. I picked it up for a steal on eBay and had it tableted. This is why I love low-ball mercy bids, you never know what you might win. So an extremely rare, autographed copy of one of the first Lady Mech appearances was pretty awesome.

The other comic was likely not every worth the price of getting it tableted. So why did I bother? Well… honestly, because the person who did the cover happens to be my favorite artist on the planet, Chrissie Zullo.  This comic was her first professional work in the comic industry and, despite it costing me a measly $5, I was thrilled to get it and have it autographed. Plus, Chrissie seemed pretty grateful that someone went out and found her first cover to sign. I’ve met her a few times and she is pretty nice to her fans. A lot nicer than some others I could name… *cough* Neal Adams! *cough!* (But that’s a story for another time).

So monetary-wise, it’s not worth much. To me though, it was worth every penny.  Zullo’s art has always been incredible… though I do like her old stuff from like 2014-2015 better than what she’s currently doing…

An old Commission she did for me (Check out her site above and compare):

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I don’t know what happened, but these days it seems like she’s trying to do a more family-friendly version of Chris Uminga’s work and as a result, almost everything comes out looking like Disney princesses with the same face. I get that an artist’s style changes over time… but I really think she took a step backwards compared to what she used to do in things like ‘The Wolf Among Us.’

That said, I’m still a fan and still will be. I can’t wait to see where her art goes next. Who knows? Maybe it’ll go back to the way it was.

Anyway, so this was a bit of a ramble, but I wanted to showcase a couple of recent acquisitions. Also, don’t let anyone tell you that a comic that may not be worth a ton, isn’t worth getting or preserving. The thing about collecting is that it isn’t always about what’s rare or monetarily value, but whatever catches someone’s eye. A personalized signature on From Fabletown With Love will definitely do that.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Star Wars Figure Review: Jaina Solo, Black Series

 

She finally came! That’s two of the three figures I’ve been waiting for and after delay upon delay, she finally arrived:

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Da da da daaaaaa!!! Ladies and Gentlemen, from the Legends series, the daughter of General Han Solo and Princess/Jedi Master Leia… Skywalker Organa Solo (jeez lady)…

Character Story:

Jaina is one of the three Solo kids from the Legends series. Her brother Anakin was killed fairly early on in the stories of the New Republic and eventually became an only child when she was forced to kill her twin brother, Jacen Solo AKA Darth Caedus. She is extremely powerful in the force, a member of the Jedi council and a crack pilot. In other words, she’s the Legends’ equivalent of Rey.

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Eh… kinda? Anyway…

Figure Back Story: 

Believe it or not, this figure has a storied history. Up until now, the Jaina had only a couple of outlets in terms of figure creation. She had a 3.75″ figure that came out during the early 2000s that was widely unpopular and didn’t survive on the market. As such they are rare and go for the not-so-cheap costs of between $45-$179, depending on if you want it loose or in its package. I honestly have one of these which I bought way back when they were in stores and… it’s good, but it’s not that great. The other choice is a Kotobukiya statue… which is basically an immovable anime girl in a Star Wars pilot suit. It goes for close to $300. Those aren’t really my cup of tea. I love anime characters, but this one really never struck me as accurate or well done.

Well a few years back, Hasbro came up with great idea of allowing the public to select and vote on who they would like to see made into a figure.

To their surprise… the majority of fans, myself included, selected Jaina Solo out of the legends series. An unnamed source told me that Hasbro was actually pretty surprised that the public wanted a legends character made, but thankfully decided not to pull a Boaty Mcboatface and pledged to begin work crafting a figure. Last year at Star Wars Celebration Orlando, fans were treated to the initial sneak peek of the figure in question… and all jaws hit the ground.

Given how many of the black series figures had looked, I was cautiously optimistic for a reveal. When I saw the initial reveal, I remained cautiously optimistic as the prototype is usually a lot better looking than the actual mass-produced figure. You have to expect these things as a collector. The Hasbro Black Series has a history of making insanely detailed figures… but the head and face sculpts have always been hit or miss.

So… did Hasbro do good this time? Let’s dive in…

Introduction: 

So Jaina comes in the black and red box, typical of the series. She’s number 56 in the collection for anyone counting. I love these boxes. They are easy to open, easy to re-seal so they can retain their collectability.

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Articulation: Her head is on a ball joint and her hair is a soft rubber, giving her head limited articulation. Her shoulders are on ball joints, as are her wrists. Her elbows have a standard joint and a second rotatable joint. Her knees have a double-joint which is a fairly new thing. Her feet are double jointed, and she has ball joints on her hips and waste. Her upper thighs also have a rotatable standard joint, but it’s not very good.

All in all, her articulation is absolutely outstanding. Her obtrusive equipment can be removed if desired (I don’t), thus giving her even more articulation. The only problem is that some of her joints are fairly stiff. When trying to loosen them, I highly recommend caution. HIGHLY recommend it. These joints can be easily broken and this will NOT be an easy figure to replace.

Rating: 4/5 


Appearance: This is where the figure gets high marks. She is insanely well done. Her outfit is a Legends New Republic Pilot’s outfit. Black on gold lining. Her boots have quite a bit of luster, and her holster is black on gold. Unlike most of the figures coming out, this one doesn’t feel like a woman’s head slapped on a generic… I want to say androgynous body. She’s slightly petite, but this looks far more like how she looks on the covers of most books and comics.

So what about the face? This is where I’m typically critical of the Black Series, nay mid-high end figures in general. The face is where they typically screw up. It happened on Luke, who looked more like the Dude. It happened to Rey who looked kind of butch and really either bored or exhausted. Did it happen here?

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Actually no. Granted, Jaina never appears in physical form, just in still artwork and… some really well-made fan films:

Hasbro clearly wanted to do their own creative take on this. Her face looks like Leia’s, but that smirk on the right side of her lip definitely reminds me of Han. So you can see both of her parents in this figure and I can easily say, yes… this is what a Han and Leia’s kid should look like. Others have said that the eyes look slightly ‘derpy’ and I can see a small articulation issue there, but really… it’s only noticeable if you look very closely and… if that’s the only issue, I can live with that. I can’t see docking the figure for something so minor.

Rating: 5+/5


Accessories: Jaina comes with three pieces; a blaster, a lightsaber and a helmet. I want to talk about the helmet separately, so let’s look at the lightsaber and blaster first.

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The blaster looks like an enhanced version of the broomhandle gun that her father carries. It is slightly more streamlined, but you can see the similarities. The muzzle has some gloss, while the handle is a very nice matte black.

The lightsaber is pretty cool. The unique purple blade is a nice modification from the pink blade of the previous figure. It is a fairly glossy black and gray paint scheme. I also love the purple on the hilt itself as well. The blade is removable and the hilt can be attached to her belt. The blade is slightly loose, but a quick twist does keep it in place.

Now let’s move on to the helmet. I LOVE THIS THING! It looks like the pilots helmets from the movies, except that it’s black. The symbols are highly detailed and it has even been distressed in some places to make it look like Jaina has seem some serious action in combat. The eyepiece is transparent and it slides on the figure’s head without much push.

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I love that her hair falls out under the helmet on both sides and the back, and will probably display her with the helmet on. I haven’t decided yet.

Score: 5/5


Overall: I love this figure. As someone who originally voted for Jaina, wanted to see a better figure made of this popular character, and didn’t want to see the Legends characters disappear into… well Legend, I anxiously awaited the release of this one with cautious optimism. Not only was I not disappointed, I was thrilled. This figure will have a front and center place on my figure shelf… and I don’t think she’ll be moved back for a very long time, if ever.

Score 5/5


So what does everyone think? Has anyone else grabbed this figure? What was your assessment of it? If not and you’re a figure collector, this one will not last long. It retails for about $25 at the moment. Later it will likely be a lot more expensive.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Play Arts Figure Review: Rinoa Heartilly (Final Fantasy VIII)

I think I might start this as a normal thing when I get new figures. It happens regularly, so at least I can tell people the good and the bad and maybe encourage or discourage some people from grabbing figures that may or may not be any good. So this is… I think the third figure I’m doing a review of? I did a Spider Gwen, a Corrin… there may have been one more, I don’t remember.

First off, a little introduction to the character for those who may not know who she is…

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Rinoa Heartilly, per DeadFantasy Wiki:

The daughter of Fury Caraway, a high ranking general of Galbadia, and Julia Heartilly a concert pianist who died in a car accident when Rinoa was young. Her personality is everything that Squall is not: feisty, compassionate, warm, and friendly, and these traits initially annoy him at first. However, She slowly wins over the irritated Squall, and eventually he returns Rinoa’s feelings and in the later part of the game the two become a couple. She has been participating in various underground protest movements against her government’s dictorship and is a member of Forest Owls. Rinoa later discovered that she would inherit the magical powers of a Sorceress from Edea Kramer and Adel

Rinoa made her first appearance in the rushed, but arguably ample followup to the smash hit, Final Fantasy 7. (I would argue that it’s better.) She is the primary heroine next to Squall.

Figures were initially released by the Bandai Anime @ 5.5″-6″ tall, however they little to no articulation, limited to SOME leg movements and the ability to remove their weapons. These came out in ’99 and for a while were our only options. I remember picking up a few at Funco Land (yes, back when that was a thing), and being somewhat disappointed by them.

By 2006, I was graduating college and my action figure collecting had ground to a near halt. I had mostly focused on Star Wars figures, and found the ones coming out around that time to be somewhat lacking. As such, I missed the release of these figures. It wasn’t until years later when I was doing research for my post about Rinoa’s absence from Kingdom Hearts. Seeing it on Ebay, I had to grab it, especially given the fact that the listing was >$40 and I saw it going elsewhere for $100+, including Amazon.

So it came a day or two ago and I’ve been getting a feel for it ever since. So let’s start off… This figure would likely be classified as a 1/6 scale figure though she’s slightly below that. She comes in a fairly large white box with windows on each side:

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Nothing particularly special there, but still nothing really to criticize. It’s easy to get her out of the package without damaging it, so she can be displayed either/or, which is great. So let’s get into the various features of this figure:

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Articulation: 

Pose-able, but not anywhere near the same level as a Figma. Her head is on a ball joint, her legs rotate on their pivots and she has standard joints at the shoulders, elbows, knees, and ankles. However her mini skirt prevents much movement of the legs. This is a minor complaint because… well what else would you expect? The only other option would be to put a slit in the sides of the dress, which I don’t like the idea of doing. So I’m fine with the lack of movement. All in all, standard movement and articulation that is slightly limited by the outfit she wears.

Score: 3/5 


 

Appearance: 

There’s a lot to talk about on this one. First of all, this figure is super detailed, unlike the ’99 Bandai. The smooth surface of the original figure has been replaced by a patterned look, giving it the appearance of fabric. Also, the chain around her neck is an actual metal chain with rings on it. Everything seems carefully detailed and really well made.

My only complaint… is actually my main complaint about the figure in general… the face. I don’t know what it is with some of these higher quality action figures, but they seem to either have an abundance of detail on the bodies… but then fall short on the faces…

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I wouldn’t say it’s a bad sculpt, but any stretch, but Rinoa’s face is slightly rounder in the game… and her eyes here have a tired and sad look to them as opposed to the spunkie one that we’re used to. This is one area where the Bandai figure may have actually done better than the Play Arts one:

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Don’t get me wrong, it’s not terrible, but it’s not exactly fantastic either.

Score: 3/5


Accessories: 

This category really kind of hurt the figure. All she really comes with is interchangeable hands, including the finger point that she does at the beginning and end of the game. She does not come with her glider weapon or dog, which is really a negative, especially given that her weapon is so unique in the game. What’s worse, other characters in this line appear to have theirs. I hate to say it, but that was really disappointing…

Score: 2/5


Overall: 

It’s bigger than I thought it was going to be. My collection is usually no larger than the 1/6 scale. Even so, I do love this character and the figure is pretty well made. She seems pretty durable for standard play, though mine will be going on display with my other figures. It’s not the pride or a jewel of my collection by any stretch, but it is a nice figure and a vast improvement over the previous incarnation.

Score: I’m going to give this figure a solid 3/5. I do really like it, despite its lack of accessories. Is it worth the $100+ price tag I’m seeing it for on Ebay and Amazon? No. So my advice would be to wait and keep your eyes open. One for between $30-$50 should pop up every now and then.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Figma Figure Review: Corrin Fire Emblem Fates

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So I promised to leave a review with my thoughts on this action figure during one of my last action figure posts, and I am a man of my word.

Finally, after a year of waiting, I got an email that the figure had shipped. It arrived at my house over the weekend much to my joy. I took her out of the box… being careful not to damage the box so that she can be repackaged later for display. She looks amazing:

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I’ve got a lot to say about her, so let’s dive in. I’m going to be grading on a few areas. Let’s look below…

Appearance:
This one should be obvious. These are high grade figures with a lot of detail. The eyes are great, the armor detailing is spot on, as is the face and various posed hands. Even the less conspicuous areas such as the under armor and areas behind the cape.

The sword (Yato) and dragon stone are also quite well done and very detailed. If I were to find one area to nitpick about, it’s her hair. Personally, I wish it would have been lighter in a few places, perhaps white highlights in a few places. However it’s a minor quip. I’m also not a huge fan of the joint in her hair.

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The other area that I find a bit off is the lower legs. They are almost  slanted back further than they should, not unlike how a horse stands. I mean I get that she’s technically a Manakete, not a human, but still. Maybe I’m wrong, if so let me know in the comments:

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Beyond that, she’s great. She looks exactly like the character and has clearly had a lot of work put in.

Score 4/5


Pose-ability:
As with most figma figures… these things are crazy pose-able. They can be posed any way a human can move and… arguably even more in some cases. Her cape is in two pieces on a ball joint attached to her back:

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Heck, even her bare feet have joints so that she can stand on her toes:
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She also has two joints on her waste, one on each knee, hip, a ball pivot on each elbow and wrist, and one I’ve never seen before on the shoulder. I will say that I try to keep the one on the shoulder pushed in, otherwise she looks robotic.

As you would expect, this makes trying to stand the figure up very difficult. It’s possible, but its hard to do. As a result, these figures come with stands to allow for all kinds of battle poses. That said, she has armor plating on her left hip that does impede her pose-ability on that side, slightly.

Score 5/5


 

Durability: 

I hesitated putting this category in because frankly, these action figures are collectibles, not toys. If you play heavily with these figures or give them to your kids, they will break, guaranteed. These are meant for display, and are definitely not made for little kids.

That being said, I will say that they do come with a few spare joints in case anything is lost or destroyed and the paint work does seem durable and resistant to scratching.

So based on the idea of LIGHT USAGE, not heavy play…

Score 4/5


Overall: 

I love figma figures. They’re extremely well detailed, they look like the characters in question… unlike some of the more recent Star Wars and Super Hero figures. She comes with several accessories including the Yato sword, her dragon stone, several hands that can replace the standard ones for different poses, and a clear stand to pose her on.

These figures are not for the average kid who likes figures. They are specifically designed for collectors. They are durable as they are but won’t survive heavy play. They’re not cheap, but given the quality and how beloved Fire Emblem characters are, any collector will gladly shell out the $70 for one, and I do highly recommend  it to figure collectors.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim