Category: PlayArts

Val’s Toy Chest- Heroes and Villains to Gather

As we get further and further away from the beginning of the year the toy releases are starting to trickle in slowly. I’ve got some intel on what Hot Toys we should be getting within the next few weeks(should release schedules hold up), as well as details on what will be here this week. Lastly- CW shows are back on this week and I am heading to Heroes and Villains Fan Fest this weekend to meet a bunch of the actors from these very shows.

First we’ll talk about the new releases schedule to come out this week. The latest figure in the Marvel Play Arts Kai series is due and it just happens to be my favorite Marvel character- Natasha Romanov- the Black Widow. Black Widow will come with an array of accessories including weapons and blast effects and is fully articulated. Another of my favorite characters makes her dazzling debut in the high-end Robert Tonner doll collection with the release of the Classic Batman TV Series Batgirl. Batgirl will be 16″ tall and dressed in her glittery purple bodysuit with gold emblem, a purple and gold cape, a belt and will feature the likeness of the original live-action Batgirl, Yvonne Craig. The doll will have a removeable brown wig to simulate Barbara Gordon’s look on the show as well as a mask with attached red hair to complete the Batgirl ensemble. Elsewhere in the DC Universe- the Mattel figures I mentioned in last week’s column should start to hit this week. The first Mattel product will be the basic Batman V Superman movie line which will showcase Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. There will be three versions of the Caped Crusader, two of the Man of Steel and one of the Amazing Amazon in this initial shipment. All figures will feature limited points of articulation as well as kid-friendly gear and weaponry.

Now as far as Hot Toys go- we’ve gotten notices for two very exciting figures to be released within the next few weeks. First among these is the long-awaited Guardians of the Galaxy Thanos 1:6 scale action figure. Thanos will come with a newly developed muscular body sculpt with body armor and a light-up throne for him to rule the galaxy. The other even more exciting release in this author’s humble opinion is our first non-Stormtrooper Hot Toy from the recent box-office smash Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I’m speaking of the villainous Kylo Ren. Kylo will come dressed as he appears in the film and will come with his lightsaber and the usual Hot Toys articulation and interchangeable parts. Another Star Wars Hot Toy that should be here soon is the First Order TIE Fighter Pilot featuring the character as it appears in the new movie.

The Flash returned with a new episode last night and tonight sees the return of Arrow. Will Oliver Queen find his quarry Damien Darhk after the attack on his –groan– fiancee Felicity Smoak? Will Felicity become a low-rent Oracle in everything but name? Will Diggle, Thea and especially Laurel ever get a meaningful storyline for the rest of this season? We shall see. The long-awaited debut of Legends of Tomorrow will bethis Thursday and I am excited about it. The show follows the adventures of a ragtag team that includes fan-favorites like The Atom and ex-Canary Sara Lance (now going by the name White Canary) alongside new heroes Hawkman, Hawkgirl and Firestorm and Flash rogues Captain Cold and Heat Wave gathered by a time-traveler named Rip Hunter. Their goal: stop Vandal Savage from becoming a threat in the far future.

Speaking of the Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow– this weekend at the Meadowlands will be the inaugural Heroes and Villains Fan Fest put on by the same people that run Walker Stalker Con. This particular show is also co-organized by one Stephen Amell (Oliver Queen/Green Arrow) which explains the high volume of his fellow castmates attending the show this weekend. If you’re a fan of Arrow, Stephen will be there along with Katie Cassidy (Laurel Lance/Black Canary), David Ramsey (Diggle), Willa Holland (Thea Queen/Speedy), Paul Blackthorne(Detective Lance) John Barrowman (Malcolm Merlyn), Colin Donnell (Tommy Merlyn) and Katrina Law (Nyssa Al Ghul). Flash fans have Danielle Panabaker (Caitlin Snow), Robbie Amell (Ronnie Raymond/Firestorm) and Teddy Sears (Jay Garrick) to look forward to. Legends of Tomorrow fans will get to meet the two lovely ladies of the series with Caity Lotz(Sara Lance/White Canary) and Ciara Renee (Kendra Saunders/Hawkgirl) scheduled to make an appearance at the show. Fans of Gotham will also have a couple of castmembers present and Doctor Who fans can look forward to Karen Gillan(Amy Pond) in addition to the aforementioned Barrowman. I will be in attendance both days and I will try to have my con experience for all of you in my next column.

On that note- catch you guys next time!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Fabulous Fighting Females

Hello readers, it’s a new month here at Forbidden Planet and we’ve got some cool new toys coming in this week. Almost all the new toys releasing this week are characters from motion pictures past and present.

Kicking off the excitement this week is the long awaited Marvel Select Avengers: Age of Ultron Black Widow figure. Based on the likeness of Scarlett Johansson, this figure comes attired in her costume from the recent film. I first teased this figure as coming out back in May since that was when Diamond initially said it would be released, but that date got pushed back and she will finally be released on Wednesday. I would move on this figure soon as she will not last long. Natasha’s fellow teammate Thor will also make his way into our shop appearing as Chris Hemsworth did in the current film. Recent Marvel silver screen superhero star Ant-Man will also arrive this week courtesy of Diamond and Marvel Select, I’d also recommend buying Ant-Man as soon as you can as he is sure to shrink away from our shelves quickly. Both Avengers figures will feature multiple points of articulation and diorama bases that will connect to one another, while Ant-Man will also be well-articulated and have his own dedicated character base. Just as an FYI, Marvel Select/Diamond doesn’t typically do more than one run of the movie-style figures, so I always advise those who want the movie-based ones to buy them as soon as they see them.

In terms of other movies, Diamond Select has a series of toys in their Select style for Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back featuring Bluntman, Chronic and Mark Hamill’s villainous character whose name I will not write in this family-friendly newsletter. Diamond Select strikes again with more sets of Minimates in their Kill Bill and Sin City collections. The Kill Bill set features three of the deadly assassins that Beatrix Kiddo aka the Bride takes on in the Tarantino film, along with a figure of the Bride herself. The Sin City four pack features Gail, Miho and two others from the original film.

In import toys news: This week sees the release of the Previews Exclusive Mafex Dark Knight Rises Selina Kyle action figure. Sculpted to resemble Anne Hathaway from the 2012 film, this figure is super poseable and stands about 6″ tall. She joins the previous Mafex Joker figure from The Dark Knight, which is still available as of this writing. Square Enix has been known for their heavily articulated video game and DC Comics figures and now they are unveiling their Marvel Play Arts Kai figures. We’ll be getting our first one in this week in the form of everyone’s favorite armored billionaire Tony Stark in his guise as Iron Man. Iron Man will have blast effects, interchangeable hands and a display base and features a red, black, and gold color scheme.

DC Collectibles drops the next statue in their continuing Bombshells line this week with the release of Superman’s favorite Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane. Lois is done in Ant Lucia’s pin-up style with a very Newsies influence, holding up a copy of a major Metropolitan newspaper. Other Bombshells statues still in stock are Supergirl and the Bettie Page-esque Wonder Woman. DC is also doing Bombshell variant covers on select titles this month and we’ve got two of those issues out on Wednesday with the current issues of Detective Comics and Green Lantern. There is a plethora of other Bombshell merchandise available in store including stickers, buttons and other licensed product. For fans of TV superhero adaptations, DC Collectibles is issuing a neat replica police badge from the Fox series Gotham. The badge is a chrome plated metal cast from the actual show prop and comes attached to a leather belt strap.

That’s pretty much it for the Toy Chest this week. See you guys with more toy talk next time!

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A Belated look at new Play Arts

Alright so y’all bought Hawkeye #11 this week right? You better have, because I’m going to be writing all about it. Soon. This time it’s all about toys.

So we’ve gotten a but-ton (Ton O’ Butts?)  of new toys in recently, mostly Play Art Kai figures because Q1 2013 was not fair to Square Enix and they need the money. I’d feel bad, but yo, Tomb Raider was not selling 5 million copies in the first month, that’s strictly a Call of Duty number right there. A shame, because the game was great, NOT UNLIKE THIS NEW LARA CROFT PLAY ARTS! Solid transition, I know, thank you.

FLASH FACT: Lara was originally available back in March if you pre-ordered the $100 special edition of the game. Looking back, I probably should have picked that up, because that would have resulted in a $40 Play Arts figure. OH WELL, AT LEAST THIS WAY I CAN WRITE ABOUT IT FOR THE BLOG RIGHT?!? :: weeps bitterly ::: Anywho, I don’t know what’s up with the elbow joints with these newer Play Arts figures, but I’m not a fan of em. However, the rest of the figure is dope. I like how the paint job given to the figure makes Lara “dirty” which makes a ton of sense given the survival element in the game. Also man you need to say why you dig it or you sound like a creeper. And while it’s not a big deal, I really like the packaging. The white looks a ton nicer than the usual black boxes, and the cover photo is sweet too. Accessory wise, Lara is strapped with a hand gun, axe, bow and arrow and a quiver, plus variant hands. This is without a doubt the most excited I’ve been for a Play Arts in awhile, and she’s worth the $70 if you’re fan. Which I am. GOODBYE $70 I WOULD HAVE BLOWN ON SOMETHING STUPID, LIKE BILLS!

Tomb Raider isn’t the only game Squenix made a figure for as of late (see the bazillion Metal Gear figures I’ve mention). Both Street Fighter and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 got figures released (Note: I’m fairly certain they were suppose to be SFxT figures, but something must has happened with the rights I guess.) recently! Representing Street Fighters is Guile and Ibuki, and on the TTT2 side of things it’s Kazuya Mishima and Jun Kazama. Both females have the weird elbow joints  like those I’ve mentioned with Lara, because, of course they do. And the dudes have weird knees joints, which I guess is to help articulation, but can problematic visually sometimes. But all 4 capture the art styles of their respected series quite well, especially the Jun one which has a killer paint job. The Tekken Play Arts also see the return of stands being packaged with  stands, which is nice, because if there’s any Play Arts that need to be packaged with stands it’s the ones based on fighting games. They’re also available at $70 a pop, as well as repainted versions of Cammy and Akuma from the 2nd wave of SSF4 PAKs.

And the winner of “Play Art I never thought I’d ever see is Major Henry Varro from Starship Troopers Invasion. SST: Invasion is apparently a straight to DVD animated movie, which I just discovered existed via a Google search. Regardless of it’s origins, it is DOPE, despite it’s tiny-ass wrists. But aside from that, it’s a pretty solid figure, and reminds me a lot of the Vanquish and Halo figures that Square Enix has put out. The downside is that it’s pretty limited in the accessories department- 2 ammo clips, assault rifle and variant hands. Still, nice to see a more obscure property being tackled by Square. Not sure if $70 nice though to be honest.


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New toys, outdated references.

REAL TALK (note how real that is with the use of capitalization, caps-lock AND italics): Forbidden Planet NYC tends to get a lot of stuff in on a weekly basis. Some of this stuff isn’t even Batman-related. And some of it sells out before I take notice. Or I don’t notice it at all, as I usually just beeline to the new comics upon entering the store.

Case in point: Maybe you wanted a statue that wasn’t an anime take on a character you like. Maybe you wanted it to be just a head instead. A head that could double as pen cup as well. GOOD NEWS, WE HAVE THAT VAGUELY SPECIFIC REQUEST COVERED! Marvel and Gentle Giant have teamed up to make a series of desk accessories and have started with everyone’s favorite overexposed Merc-with-a-Mouth, Deadpool! The Deadpool Pen cup will definitely result in a trip to H.R., but will be totally worth it! IT LOOKS GREAT! IT, UM, HOLDS STUFF! YOU CAN USE THE NINJA STARS EMBEDDED IN HIS  HEAD AS ERASERS ( No I’m serious, you can). AND THE ARROW IS A FLETCHING CAP TO MAKE IT LOOK LIKE YOUR PEN/PENCIL IS AN ARROW, HOW CRAZY IS THAT??! It retails for about $106, which for a polystone statue/conversation starters/co-worker keeper-awayer is well worth it.

Okay so maybe you don’t want a Deadpool pen cup because you’re crazy or something. But let’s say you do want to throw your money at something Marvel related that’s not a comic and still totally Canadian related, but not Deadpool or Wolverine. WHAT IS UP WITH YOUR WEIRD REQUESTS?  Questionable tastes aside, Marvel and Art Asylum/Diamond Select has released 2 different Alpha Flight Minimate sets! Set 1 includes Guardian (dead!), Marrina (dead!), Puck (X-Force-d) and Northstar (happily married X-man). And set 3 includes Aurora (Alive), Shaman (dead!), Snowbird (Alive?…) and Sasquatch (????). Each sets retails for about $20 and is definitely the only time you’ll be able to buy a full Alpha Flight roster in plastic anytime soon.

And maybe you’re a jerk/tired of my crappy jokes and you’re trying to drive me insane by forcing me to talk about Batman toys again. Congrads, Square-Enix has you covered, because apparently Batman is their plastic Final Fantasy. The first line of their Dark Knight Trilogy Play Art Kai Black (:: takes a breath::) is out and it’s a doozey of a line up. There’s the DKT Batman, because yo, how are you not going to start off a new Batman toy line without the Bat, and Bane, because ::: mumbles something in a terrible Bane impersonation :::. And we all know the drill by now; top of the line sculpts, solid multiple points of articulation, variant hands, etc. In terms of specific accessories, Batman comes with a selection of militarized (THANKS NOLAN) toys and Bane comes with a broken Bat-cowl, WHICH YOU BETTER NOT THINK GIVES YOU POWER ( ::: high fives self :::) ! These suckers go for $75 a pop, and you’ll want them now before the Catwoman and Joker figures drop in a few months.

Oh, what’s that? You just wanted something Adventure Time related? Cool, the latest wave of Pop Vinyl figures is Adventure Time themed. At $12 a pop you can choose from Finn, Jake, Lumpy Space Princess, Marceline or the Ice King. I would say their “Mathematical” or some such, but I pretty much blew my reference wad on Batman.

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This week in new toy releases!

Going to start this article off with a quick round of the  comparison game. The subject? Doing it right in terms of female statues.

As you all can see there’s 2 images of statues on the left. One is the Bishoujo Female Commander Shepard (Mass Effect 3) by Kotobukiya. On her right is the Ame Comi Arisia by DC Entertainment. One of these statues is very good. One of these are not. Care to take a guess as to which is which?

If you guesses Fem-Shep being the good one, correct your eyeballs are functioning correctly! I’ve stated I’m a fan of both ME and the Bishoujo line plenty of times in the past, and for good reasons. Look at that statue. Well sculpted, great detail (especially in the armor), it’s a fairly good representations of the property and something I wouldn’t be embarrassed to have on my shelf. And there’s also a slick variant out with black hair and an Omni-Blade instead of rifle. For $60, you could do a lot worse.

Which brings us to Arisia. I’m familiar with the character, and was kind of a fan of her when Peter Tomasi and Pat Gibbons was writing Green Lantern Corps. But this statue? Nope. If it wasn’t orange I would have sworn it was some terrible Devaint Art fan-art take on Captain Marvel. I don’t even understand why the Ame Comi line exists now that Kotobukiya does DC Bishoujos too? Are the sales that good? I dunno FP Faithful, aside from the green snot constructs, I’m really not feeling this figure. And for the price, you can do a lot better. Look as Shepard. $60 for something I consider lame fan-service, especially when compared to some of the past Ame Comi figures, ain’t worth it in my book.

Speaking of getting your money’s worth, let’s take a look at some new offerings from Square Enix. It’s know it’s been a long 5 months since we’ve gotten any Metal Gear Solid related Play Arts (sarcasm y’all), but Squenix has just dropped 2 news ones that certainly make up the lack of releases, especially since their a little more pricey than past  MGS releases. That being said, it’s not like their skimping out on what comes packaged with them….

Both Soldius Snake (Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty) & Raiden (Metal Gear Rising)’s offerings definitely make up for the price mark-ups. The President (MGS2 was WEIRD y’all) comes with variant hands, twin swords, 2 machines guns and tendrils. Raiden’s packaged with a variant head, alternate hands, knives, swords, and VARIANT FEET! That’s definitely a 1st. If you got the $90 to drop on em, grab em, because I’m fairly certain they won’t be on shelves for too long, event on the higher end of the price spectrum.

Wrapping up this week’s new releases is  definitely one of the more obscure Marvel 3-packs to come out from Hasbro since the Guardians of the Galaxy set.. The Inhumans are now in stock, featuring their king Black Bolt (one of my favorite Jack Kirby creations!), his wife Medusa, and master of hand to hand combat Karnak. It’s a $37 set that doesn’t really offer much in terms of accessories, but yo, chances are we ain’t seeing this figures get single-card releases anytime soon. Pick em up now, because I can’t see many completeionists let these figures sit on our shelves for too long.

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Stand tall for the Beast of America. Or Againist. Your choice.

Welcome back to FPNYC’s offical Bioshock blog (Blogshock? Bioblog?)!! “REAL” Bioshock fans will get the reference in the title, which only make sense if you own a TV. And continue to not comment on the blog. Good times.

I mentioned the existence of a “Bioshock Infinite” art book last week, and now that I’ve beaten the damn game (REALLY good doesn’t even begin to cover the quality of the game, or it’s ending, play it for yourself and I’m fairly confident you’ll agree), I picked a copy of it for myself because I may have an addiction problem of sorts.

So what did I think of it? I’ll get to that in a minute, because I just want to point out that I am  loving the fact that we’re getting quality artbooks based on western video game over here. Bradygames have released some okayish ones, but the books released by Udon (where the crap is the Bayonetta on Udon??)  and more recently Dark Horse are really well packaged, and make for really good reads/collectibles. MORE OF THIS PEOPLE, CHRIS APPROVES!

“The Art of Bioshock Infinite” is a 184 page hardcover released by Dark Horse Comics that clocks in at 9 x 0.9 x 12 inches and retails for $40. While some chapters are light on text, it’s a relatively spoiler-free read, and chock-full of gorgeous art. There’s a lot of cool concept art for things that never made it into the game, or went through a ton of changes. At $40 it’s hard to recommend this book for any non-fans, but if you sunk 12+ hours into the game like I did within a week of it’s release and need a new fix, this is a good way to get it until the board game and/or the Heroclixs drop.

::: Swears this is the last time he’ll mention the game until said ‘Clixs or more toys are released. You are powerless to stop him :::

::: Makes another smarmy remark about reviewing yet another wave of Batman Play Arts figures:::

The newest, and possibly final wave of Arkham City Batman toys via Square-Enix have hit our shelves and man, they are beefy. This time around we’re graced by an extremely jacked version of Tim Drake as Robin (new 52 continuity joke goes here) and the AC take on the classic Dark Knight Returns version of Batman (Frank Miller joke goes here). As you can tell, there’s A LOT  of plastic involved with this figures, which means you’re definitely getting your $60-worth with these figures.

While I’m not crazy about cage-fighter Robin (AC’s continuity is a tad silly in some areas) look, I have to admit that the figure captures the design well. Both he and Batman sport 26 points of articulation, and come with variant hands, heads, and some accessories; a bo staff for Robin, and a grappling hook for Batman. I would have gone with a mud-covered mutant gang member corpse myself, but that’s just me. And yes, Robin IS in scale with the standard AC Batman & Catwoman figures, and I guess the DKR Batman too, even though blah blah canon, blah blah nerd, blah blah prostitute joke.

I am such a good blogger you guys.

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The Best at (Lumpy) Space.

It’s March, which means it’s no longer February. This is the basic concept of months and calendars people, what’s so hard to understand about it?

It also being March means there are 2 video games I”m excited for dropping this month (“Bioshock Infinite” and “Tomb Raider”) as well as the final Mass Effect 3 DLC, which drops this Tuesday. Serving as an unofficial tie-in to this event is the release of 2 new Mass Effect 3 Play Art Kai figures- the female default version of Commander Shepard, and female alien companion Tali’Xorah nar Rayya (yes, I had to Google the proper spelling of that name.). This marks the first all-female release for Kai line since…”Bayonetta” in 2010 FYI.

With the original (male) Commander Shepard, I had issues with the body sculpt, especially in the shoulder area. Female Shepard does away with those issues, and has a better default face, at least in my opinion. Tali’s no slouch either. A little difficult to stand up by herself due to her feet, but a damn fine figure regardless of that. The sculpt alone is worth the price of admission. By now you all know the drill, $60, best damn video game figures out on the market, etc.

Mass Effect isn’t the only space-based new release from Squenix in stock! The first wave of Halo 4 Play Art Kai figures are in stock, and DAMN, they are impressive looking. Granted they’re a lot more bulkier compared to more Play Art releases, they also meet and maintain the same levels of quality in sculpting, variant parts, paint jobs  and articulation their peers posses.  Wave 1 consists of both the Master Chief and the Blue Spartan Warrior, and you should definitely expect to see future releases be variants of said Spartans.

Focusing in on Square Enix based on actual Squenix properties, the 2nd wave of Final Fantasy Trading Art Kai figures are out, consisting of Tifa, Tidus and Lighting. I’d make fun of Tidus for a bit, but he comes with both a body that allows him to ride a Chocobo and a face that make him cry. This is both adorable and hilarious to me. Anywho, not much has changed since wave one with the products, with the exception of there maybe being more animals in this wave (Red XIII comes packaged with Tifa, and Tidus obviously with said chocobo). They’ll set you back $20 each, and if they’re anything like the first wave, expect them to fly off the shelves.

I’ll end the article with a slight shift in focus, one not related to Marvel Comics. As of late, Jazzware has begun to corner the market on Cartoon Network based toys. Another wave of Adventure Time figures has hit our shelves, as well as the first wave of figures based on the equally off-beat “Regular Show”. Aside from new spins on Jake and Finn, this series of AT toys is joined by fan favorite characters like The Ice King, Marceline the Vampire Queen and Lumpy Space Princess. All very cool, but the lack of Lemongrab is whack IMO. The Regular Show  figures also heavily focus on Rigby and Mordecai, but are forgiven because there are figures that are actually packed with Shudder Shades. It’s amazing what I’ll forgiven when those are involved. Since these are focused on younger audiences, they’re prices cheaper at $10-$20, but if you buy em for yourselves I won’t tell anyone. But you’ll owe me.

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Master Grade Sinanju Version Katoki Buildlog part 1

I have never gone up against a more frustrating model kit in my entire life.

Now, earlier I spoke of how the Version Katoki kits are essentially the gold standards of Master Grades these days, and that the Sinanju helped make that so. Well… it turned out I was half right. In terms of a design and engineering standpoint, the kit is absolutely marvelous so far. It stands with complete glory, and is rather sturdy in construction.

The problem lies with the materials used… this thing is FRAGILE.

For whatever reason, Bandai used a different type of plastic for the inner workings of this kit. According to some sources, the plastic used here actually melts when certain paints are applied. I learned this the hard way, as I’ve broken at least three pieces during the construction of this kit. The new OVA version (which I swear was announced just to make me angry) is going to have a frame made of traditional polystyrene, so hopefully, it won’t face the problems the Ver Ka has.

Now, ignoring all of that BS, the kit IS pretty cool.

For my kit, I decided to try something different. With the exception of my Destiny Gundam, Qubeley, and Hyaku Shiki, all of my kits have a dull, flat finish. I’m just really fond of that look. But, for something like the Sinanju, I felt that a dull finish wouldn’t cut it. This thing needs to be gaudy! So, I for all of the black and red bits, I gave it a gloss coat, whereas all the aluminum, gray, and white parts are done with a flat coat. I am MOST pleased with the result so far.

Since I wasn’t able to find the official Bandai decals, I resorted to third-party decals for this project. Everything went incredibly well… until I got to the white bars on the shoulders. Even with a decal sealant, they wouldn’t adhere, so I just left them off, and instead opted for some of the optional decals on the sheet. While I would like to have the white lines everywhere, the only time I notice their absence is when I think about it.

The gold decals… have been a mixed bag. They’re BEAUTIFUL, but they’re very finicky. Essentially, they’re metal stickers, and they don’t adhere very well. Thankfully, though, this can easily be fixed with just a dab of superglue on the edge that rose up. I used some of these in place of the traditional 10S decals, simply because it looks way cooler.

These metal tubes are a godsend, and you can find them from any variety of third-party Gunpla part groups. Seriously, replacing the plastic tubes for metal ones removes so much frustration, and is worth the extra money.

The kit’s articulation is pretty good for something of its immense size. It’s very flexible, and the frame certainly lends itself to that. It’s just a shame that comes at the fragility of many other parts…

In spite of some frustrations, this kit is damn impressive and I’d recommend it to some more advanced modelers out there… but I’d advise waiting until FPNYC gets the OVA version in stock!

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Toy Fair 2013: SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!

Toy Fair has happen and  me start this article by thanking whatever Hasbro employee is reading this site on the regular, or stalking me elsewhere, internet or in real life. The fruits of your research are something I’m willing to throw some serious cash at this year, and since my wife is out of town for the next few days, you can be my Valentine this year

The company has done me a solid by releasing not one, but 2 modern Cyclops figures this year, both in a box set in the Universe line (Marvel’s Greatest Teams, packaged with Emma Frost and the Juggernaut possessed Colossus) and a 6″ figure apart of the Wolverine Legends line (which also has a Emma Frost figure!), as well as a modern HAWKGUY (or Hawkeye as he’s more commonly known as). You’ll also see at least another 2-3 waves in the main Marvel Legends line, 2 in the Universe line (until SDCC reveals more), and both 6″ and 3.75″ figures based on upcoming movies like “Iron Man 3” and “Thor 2”, and animated stuff like “Ultimate Spider-Man” and the new “Avengers Assemble” show. Good showing all around from Hasbro/Marvel.

So my Marvel boner aside, what else did Toy Fair 2013 have to offer you ask? Shut up and I’ll tell you stupid! There was Batman merchandise everywhere (no one is surprised by this), but Mattel got a ton of hype thanks to securing the rights to make figures based on the classic live action Batman series from the 1960s. Expect to see both 6″ and Barbie-sized releases this year, amongst others. Square Enix is also going DC Comics crazy as well, with figures based on the Nolan Bat-films, the upcoming Man of Steel film, and giving their own spin to the DCU with the DC Universe Square Enix Variant line. Heroes announced so far were obviously the Bat, Green Lanetern, Batgirl, Flash and Wonder Woman. And not to be out done, DC Collectible showed off a ton of figures based on the Injustice game, The Flash, the Death of Family arc, and the upcoming Justice League of America series.

Mezco, as I reported last time, scored 2 unique licenses, with the hit drama Breaking Bad, and the hit insane webcomic- turn actual comics-turn upcoming animated Fox TV series Axe Cop. They’re going all out with these properties, putting out a variety of different sized figurs/figurines, dolls and plushies. Also joining the 6″ figure arms race is Kenner, with The Star Wars Black series! These 6″ figures will focus on the classic trilogy, so expect the likes or R2-D2, Luke Skywalker, a Sand Trooper and….Darth Maul. Um, I guess they’re focusing MOSTLY on the classic trilogy, not entirely!

There are several other announcements of note too, like McFarlane making toys based on Assassin’s Creed 3 in the same vein of their Halo line, Square Enix branching out and making figures based on Namco, EA and Capcom games, of ton of new and old G.I. Joe stuff, but I’m going to end this focusing on the MASSIVE  2 foot tall Transformers Generation Titan Metroplex. He’s based on his aaperance in last year’s Transformers: Fall of Cyberton game, and yeah, it’s kind of friggin awesome. Aside from the 2 foot robot, he can also transform into a city, and mobile battle station. Not sure  when it will drop, but it will this year and not be cheap.

Gonna end the look at Toy Fair here. I can only tease so much, but fear not, everything big and cool announced at the show will eventually be for sale at Forbidden Planet this coming year, and we’ll be getting better looks at them as they’re released.

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Square Vs Chris round 3, also a Young Avengers review

Trolls trolling trolls, I swear.

Apparently it’s been a whopping whole 1 week since the release of the last set of figures from Square Enix, so the company decided to release another 2 to make up that “massive” gap in time (Not unlike Marvel’s wacky double shipping schedules). This time around it’s Batman, a figure we’ve NEVER seen here on the blog, specifically from the Arkham City game, a game we’ve never seen toys based on. For the record that was sarcasm, Square Enix is the 3rd company to release figures based on the game, and honestly, I have no idea how many Batman figures I’ve looked at over the last few years.

In Square’s defense, these are arguably the best versions of the AC cast to date. The Batman from AC is better than his Arkham Asylum counterpart by being a little less stockier, which is nice, especially when you consider they could have easily just released another repainted version….again. In addition to better sculpt, Bats comes with and interchangeable head, alternate hands, and  both Batarangs and grappling hook accessories. The Catwoman Play Arts is something I’m actually legit impressed with. The sculpt/detailing on the catsuit is great, and I REALLY like the variant head with the goggles down. The 26 points of articulation also helps. She also comes with variants head/hands and a whip. A solid figure for $60 IMO. Keep in mind this not the last time we’ll be seeing the Bat from Squenix. There’s already at least 3 more Arkham City figures on the way, plus a whole bunch of figures based on the Nolan films. Expect a lot of Bat-snark from me through out 2013.

Let’s move into comics since it was kind of a light week for toys. We already told you to buy Young Avengers #1. And you should listen to us, we’ve know winner when we see them. It’s THE best #1 to debut from Marvel since….well okay, Hawkeye, wasn’t that long ago. And to be honest, most of the NOW! stuff has been good. But this is something a little different, but still great.

The Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie/Mike Norton creative team are no strangers to the Marvel Universe- Kieron’s penned the criminally underrated and short-lived  S.W.O.R.D. series, handled Marvel’s mighty mutants in both Uncanny X-Men and Generation Hope, wrote the wonderful Journey Into Mystery, and most recently, is handling writing chores on Iron Man. McKelvie and Norton have been all over the place, working on such books like Secret Avengers, X-Men: Season 1, and The Defenders and a whole variety of covers, and one-shots. Jamie is also responsible for redesigning Carol Danvers last year, giving her that awesome Captain Marvel costume.

And despite spending all that time together at Marvel (let alone releasing 2 volumes of Phonograms through Image), Young Avengers is the first time we’ve seen the British duo release a #1 through the House of M. And both creators and their support artists came out guns a-blazing. The concept is simple enough. The Avengers greatest hits set at age  18, remixed for 2013. The classic arch types are all present. Noh-Varr, created a decade ago  by Grant Morrison and J.G. Jones, is Captain America 2013, instead a man out of time, he’s a alien without a home. Lovers Billy and Teddy are the Wasp and Antman, where good intentions are already paving the road to hell.  Miss America Chavez is the Hulk, angry, and down to smash. HAWKGUY (that’s intentional) Kate Bishop is Iron Man- rich, beautiful and brash. And Loki is….Loki. Somethings never change. Especially if you’ve kept up on Journey Into Mystery.

Of course the big question is if the book is any good. It is, and it’s extremely reader friendly, which is important, seeing how all these characters are coming from  other titles. No previous YA-related reading is needed to enjoy this book, and if you’re the type who’s read the 2 previous volumes of Young Avengers, Joe Casey’s Vengenance mini-series,  Journey into Mystery, Hawkeye and Avengers, then you’ll be pleased to see Gillen nail all the characters “voices”, combining a nice blend of action, teen drama and comedy within 20 pages. Visually, this book is just as fantastic. McKelive and Norton’s layouts kill, showing off their range of talent with that 22-panel splash page I posted above, to the book’s final, extremely disturbing  pin-up page. McKelvie/Norton’s art is colored by long-time collaborator Matthew Wilson, making the final product look gorgeous and  Gillen made sure to bring in his JiM letter VC/s Clayton Cowles to maintain how unique it with Loki’s speak/casts magic.

Ironically, in book titled “Style > Substance”, it’s anything but. The team puts as much care into Young Avengers as they did into any of their creator owned books, and it shows in any interview the pair took part in. And at $2.99, you can’t afford not to buy this book. While Young Avengers may not be the first #1 to come out in #2013, it’s definitely the first book that feels like 2013. Buy it upon sight. You’ll thank me later.

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We get it Square. You like money.

Square-Enix, I under you ma. You have stock-holders you have to impress. You gotta make sure that green is coming in, despite the fact that the Japanese gaming scene isn’t looking so hot these days. So you’ve gotten into the collectibles market, making  some toys on popular games and print money. I have no problem with that Squenix, but man, slow down on the releases. There’s only so much I can cover in a month’s times (Also ignore this, I need your insane release schedule as article fodder!).

Sometime during the holiday onslaught the company released another 2 figures. Yes, that’s right. 2 more figures. In addition to the several hundred other ones they popped out. There’s Agent 47 from Square-Enix’s Hitman: Absolution, a great little game that dropped this past November, and Lupo,(Karen LesProux) from Capcom’s terrible cash-grab from last March Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City.

I know you’re all tired of me singing the company’s praises in regards to their releases, but there’s a reason why they’re the best selling video game toy line on the market.. Agent 47 is flawless, except for may his weird elbow joints. The infamous assassin comes with his trademark dual pistols, a variant hand, and a sniper rifle. Lupo/Karen/Whatever is a really good figure too, despite coming from a horrid game. She comes with an assault rifle, a handgun, an axe, a pair of open hands and a pair of trigger hands. Like most Play-Arts, these 2 will set you back $60-$70 each.

Another cool release that may have gone unnoticed during the last few weeks to you is the Bandai Vile D-Arts figure. The baddies from Megaman X may not be as flashy as X or Zero, but he is not without his charm. It’s a sharp looking figure, expertly crafted and given an excellent paint job. He’s also armed to the gill with accessories- a selection of variant hand parts, 2 shoulder cannons, a knee cannon, shot effect parts, and most importantly a glass of an alcoholic beverage. That’s awesome, and more collectibles need to come with booze (preferably real booze!). X and Zero flew off our shelves, and I fully expect Vile will too. You’ll want to pick him up ASAP.

Hey look it’s some new DC Uni,er, Unlimited figures! And it’s….not the line-up I told of from 2 years ago. Huh. Well, let’s run with it. New 52 Superman is joined by the Flash and Hawkman, which actually makes for a really cool looking figure. Both Hawkman and Superman are actually 100% new parts, which is nice. Superman’s face is a little off sculpt wise though, which is a bit beat, but hey, at least Hawkman looks dope.

As for the Flash, he’s a mixture of new parts, and old (much like every Flash figures Mattel has released since they put one out). But he does come with attachable lighting bolts to make running poses look cooler, which I guess is nice considering this is the 4th time Mattel has tried selling you this figure. Anyway, if you care, they’re $20 bucks a pop. Hopefully wave 3 will be a step up, considering this wave is a bit of a let down compared to the initial wave (with the exception of Hawkman.)

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Chris’ list o’ things to throw money at in 2013

I suppose a 2013 preview list should not be written 14 days into year, but I did a lot of traveling over the holidays, and acquired several video games of worth. If anything, SEGA should be held responsible for pushing “Anarchy Reigns” back to this week.

Anywho, 2012 was a shockingly awesome year for collectibles, so hopefully 2013 will continue the trend. We’re a month away from Toy Fair, and 2 months away from c2e2, so some comics and toys new is light. “Some” being the key world here. There’s some things announced in 2012 that still haven’t seen the light yet, so I’ll talk about those!


COMICS:

I’ve poked a ton of fun at DC this past year (for good reasons), but there is some hope for them to acquire some of my cash-money in 2013. First off, Jeff Lemire (Animal Man, Justice League Dark) is taking over “Green Arrow”, which may have cool results. Given the success of “Arrow” on the CW, DC should have a book that’s readable for potential new readers. That and Lemire has put out some great stuff for DC. Lemire’s Rotworld-buddy Scott Snyder has 2 new books coming out from DC as well: a Vertigo maxi-series called “The Wake” with my boy Sean Murphy (Punk Rock Jesus) and a new Superman title with Jim Lee, which I’m fairly certain will be called “Man of Steel” (SYNERGY). Nice to see DC trying to step up as Marvel NOW is in full effect.

Speaking of the House of Ideas, A NEW UNCANNY X-MEN  STARTS IN 2013! YES I KNOW THIS IS THE SECOND TIME WE’VE GOTTEN A NEW UNCANNY X-MEN #1 IN 2 YEARS. BUT CHRIS BACHALO IS DRAWING IT! AND FRAZER IRVING TOO! HOPEFULLY CAPSLOCK AND CONVEY HOW EXCITED I AM! (Bendis is on writing duties, which hey cool, but man, those artists). Marvel actually has like hojillion new books announced so far: a new Uncanny X-force, Young Avengers, Nova, Guardians of the Galaxy, and like 3 other books there’s teasing at. And “Age of Ultron” starting this March. And Superior Spider-Man started this past week, so there’s that too.

2013 looks great for the non Big 2 companies too! Dark Horse has Hellboy in Hell rolling on, a Brian Woods’ penned “Star Wars” series, and something I stupid excited for- Gerald Way (My Chemical Romance) and Becky Cloonan’s long awaited “Fabulous Livse of the Killjoys”, launching this Free Comic Day. Image has new series/mini-series being launched like Matt Fraction, Kelly Sue Deconnick, Kieron Giellen, and Paul Pope. I’m fairly certain that’s only the tip of the iceberg though. Not to mention Robert Kirkman’s “Invincible” hits #100 this month.

And not to leave it off the list KaBOOM’s “Adventure Time: Fionna & Cake” mini-series has started this month and it is pretty damn great. You go buy now.

TOYS:

Like I said earlier, details for 2013 toys are still kind of scarce, and we’ll have more info next month. HOWEVER, we should have another wave of both Marvel Universe and Legends dropping this month, featuring the likes of Nova, Hercules, Red She-Hulk, Iron Fist and several more characters more familiar to the public at large. We’ll also see the return of the Marvel Universe 3-packs, consisting of the likes of the West Coast Avengers, the Inhumans, 80s era Uncanny X-men, and the now disbanded Uncanny X-Men Extinction team. Also I imagine we’ll see some toylines based on Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World.

Non-Marvel toys of interest coming out in 2013 consist of a whole slew of Superman (and probably Batman) toys from Mattel and DC, a Kid Icarus figma from Max Factory (I AM EXCITE), a butt-ton of various -Arts figures from Bandai (Gundam, Dragon Ball, Pokemon,) and like seven trillion new Square Enix Playarts Kai figures from the millions of licenses they have. I’m not kidding, Square dropped like 2 new PA Kai figures this past month alone. More on those next week.

2013 is shaping up to be a pretty dope year for collectibles and comics. As for me, I got some cool stuff lined up that I can’t talk about, but will shamelessly plug when I can. Convention-wise, you can stalk me at PAX East, c2e2, Heroescon and New York Comic Con this year, and on twitter @theanarCHris if you want to troll me and disagree with me over everything. FUN FOR ALL!

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Because I’m always right- Best of 2012, toys edition

Not to be outdone by fellow FPNYC blogger Unkie Dev, my wife and I also got an addition to our family this week. Only ours has come in the form of a cat. “Pixel” is currently hiding under a bookshelf after a an hour long train ride from Manhattan to Brooklyn, because that kind of thing is apparently traumatizing to cats. Anywho, belated congrads to Unkie Dev, his wife and their child, I wish them nothing but the best, even though this congrads comes a month late.

Meanwhile this cat ( and several video games), demand my full attention, which means it’s time for the annual best of lists. Obviously this is a 2 parter, with the 2nd part dedicated to comics. I’m starting off with toys in the event that the Mayan Apocalypse is a legit thing and I need something to ensure my sad, so very,very sad, legacy.

While it’s been forever, since I’ve picked up any sort of Gunpla, Bandai has continuously impressed me with the majority of the releases from the -Arts line over this past year. The former king Revoltech, IMO, has gotten a tad lazy with some of their stuff as of late, focusing on Western properties with various degrees of quality as the results. Bandai, on the other hand, stuck with the properties they’re known for (Gundam, Godzilla, Dragon Ball Z), added some new ones (Tiger and Bunny), and embraced some popular fan-favorite video game series (Persona 4, Megaman). It’s also worth nothing Figma had the blessing of the Nintendo license, and while the Samus Aran and Link Figmas are AMAZING, it’s not enough to carry the line when the rest of their non-Beserk offerings are so focused on barely legal school girls (Although I am a fan of their Fate/Zero stuff too). But the -Arts is definitely my import line of the year, as they’veall  had fantastic sculpts, unparalleled paints jobs, fantastic articulation, and feel a lot more sturdier than their peers. Also thanks to the distribution deal with Bluefinn, cheaper. In a year where both Revoltech and Figma kind of dropped the ball, Bandai’s Arts stepped up big.

In terms of video game figures though, NECA certainly put some cool stuff out this year, but Square Enix definitely showed up to play. With only 1 “new” Final Fantasy game to tie-into, Square did it damnedest to secure a lot of huge  3-party licenses, ones that had fans dying for toys for years. Both their Halo, Street Fighter and Metal Gear lines saw figures released on popular characters never done the justice they deserved, and Squenix branched out to handle huge western properties like the Batman: Arkham Asylum/City titles and Mass Effect. Not to mention cult title Vanquish finally getting the plastic treatment we were promised! And like I mentioned in the past, COWBOY BEBOP PLAY ARTS FIGURES, HOW COOL IS THAT?! 2013 also looks like another promising year for the company, but more on that in a few weeks. They’re another best for being the best buy at their scale/price, and delivering usually solid products that represent both Easter and Western Video Game properties.

I tend to talk about super hero toys a lot here (UNDERSTATEMENT, yes I am aware of this), but I got to say, I’m a little underwhelmed by what were offered this year overall. DC Collectibles is working on putting out more articulate toys, but we won’t see the fruits of their labor until 2012 most likely. Mattel’s DC All Stars line felt like a no-show this year, with the exception of some of the Bat-toys that made it on the shelf this year. Hasbro’s Marvel Universe line is getting better, but I think I’m going to give the nod to the return of the Legends line, which was slightly more diverse, although repaint heavy. 2013 will be interesting for both line for certain, given we’re now in the Marvel NOW era of comics, meaning everyone’s getting a redesign. Also props to the Hot Toys Avengers line, which has been nothing short of amazing.

Overall, if I were to choose a single figure to be my toy of the year, it would be the  Figma Samus Aran figure. It’s perfect in every way and it’s a great reward for all of us who waited so long for a quality figure based on the legendary Nintendo franchise. That’s all for this week, next time, I talk about comics!

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Hey look, more Play Arts!

Holy crap it is really December?! Ugh, this means I need to buy multiple gifts for people. And by gifts I mean video games and gift cards. My friends are actually kind of easy to shop for truth be told, but that’s money I could be spending on myself, especially if we’re going to end up going  gift card for gift card. Seems kind of redundant if you ask me. Like these intro posts. Assuming “redundant” means “takes up space”, which according to Dictionary.com, it does not. Killjoy.

If you’re thinking Square Enix has gone a little release crazy as of late, you’re correct. They’ve been releasing a bunch of figures over the last few weeks, possibly because they’ve dropped all of 1 game this quarter, and they got to make some money. I’m okay with this, because for the most part, they’ve been pretty “solid” releases. I SAID SOLID BECAUSE HEY LOOK, A METAL GEAR SOLID FIGURE, THAT’S JOKES KIDS! Rounding out the 2012 MGS releases, is Meryl Silverburgh who joins the previously released Solid Snake and Ninja. I’ve had been of plenty of love for the former 2 figures, and Meryl’s just as good as them. Look at that lil’ smirk on her face, it’s adorable!  But seriously, it’s a dope sculpt and the paint job is pretty fantastic as well. Meryl had a great design and the figure totally does it justice, despite not being as complex as Snake or Ninja’s design. A must for the Metal Gear crowd, Meryl comes backed with variant hands & weapons, and will probably not last too long on our shelves, if the other MGS releases were any indication.

Continuing the trend of Squenix releasing figures based on games they have no hand in actually developing or releasing are the brothers of destruction from Devil May Cry 3, Dante and Vergil. And yes, I just made a dated pro-wrestling reference. Devil May Cry 4 was one of the first non-Square game-based figures the company released, and apparently the company felt they needed to jump back in the game’s history. UNPOPULAR OPINION TIME: I was never a fan of either character’s design for DMC3, and would have preferred to see something from DMC1, but Square Enix did the original designs justice. That being said, the knee and should joints for both these figures are odd, something that’s plagued Squenix figures throughout the years. That’s the only major flaw though, although it may be a deal breaker for some. Otherwise they’re both well-sculpted, articulated, well painted and come with a decent amount of accessories. Hey even the packaging for both figures is fairly impressive. DMC3 Dante never got a good figure outside of a Minimate, so hey, a victory for most!

Outside of “Bleach” and “Fullmetal Alchemist”, Square Enix really hasn’t released much in terms of anime figures. That changes now, as the classic “Cowboy Bebop” joins the Play Art Kai ranks with 2 amazing figures. The iconic Spike Spegial is offered up to the masses with his friend-turn-rival Vicious, and they’re both pretty fantastic. I’m not crazy about their wrist joints, but that’s some nit-picking on my end. They’re a little more simplistic in design when compared to some of the video game stuff, but that’s alright, as it’s 100% show accurate. If you’re a Bebop fan, there’s no excuse, it’s not going to be get any better than these 2 anytime soon. ALL of these Play-Arts are available now by the way, so you know the drill. GIVE US YOUR MONEY! (please)

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(Belated) N7 Day figure spectacular!

Dear Mother Nature,

YO, QUIT IT, SHIT’S PLAYED OUT!

No love,

Chris Troy

Greeting FPNYC Faithful! If you’re anything like me (first off, let me say that I’m sorry to hear that), you’re quite tired of crappy weather. And perhaps politics. Bigs up to anyone who made a informed vote, because being politically responsible is cool. -10 to anyone who voted and then posted like several hundred voting fraud conspiracies on their Facebook.

Instead of weather and politics, let us focus on a holiday I give many a toss about-N7 day. For you nerds not in the know, it’s the official Mass Effect (a video game for you super-not in the know) fan appreciation day, where Bioware shows love for their fans with cool art, contest, free downloads and sales. All very dope, and real talk, it’s nice to see a company take care of it’s fanbase like that. Especially when they originally dropped the ball a bit with the original ending.

Oh, hey look, Mass Effect 3 figures! See I was going somewhere with this! And totally not buying time until I hit 500 words! After some less-than-spectacular figures from ME2, Bioware hooked up with Square Enix to make some awesome Mass Effect 3 Play Art Kai figures, pleasing me quite a bunch! This is a win-win scenario for both companies and their fans, as we’ve gotten some pretty great figures as a result. Square Enix has confirmed there’s two waves coming out, and today, we’ll be looking at the first wave, consisting of Commander Shepard, Ashley Williams and Garrus Vakarian. Solid line-up in my option, as coming out with Garrus from the get-go will please a good majority of the fans. And most importantly, me!

I know a lot of you may be upset over the fact that the Shepard figure released in wave 1 is male. I know those feel Mass Effect Bros, but don’t worry, the female version (Fem-Shep for those in the know) will be in wave 2, so Squenix has you covered, y’all just gotta wait a bit longer. That being said, I’m of 2 minds with this figures. I never liked the default male-Shepard’s look, and the lack of helmet is kind of beat. At least given me to option to cover up his face so that I can pretend it’s “my” Shepard from my run-through of the game. My 2nd less nit-picky problem is his shoulders. They’re kind of pointy out of package, and it’s noticeable. THAT BEING SAID HOWEVER, this is a pretty great figure, and obviously a step up for the previous non-Square Enix offering, in terms of pretty much everything. You’re gonna get your $60 worth this with figure, which comes packed with alternative hands, an omni-blade, rifle and pistol.

Ashley Williams is the sole female figure in the wave, and while it’s not a bad figure by any means, it’s not exactly terrible exciting. Mostly because she’s not an alien, or Miranda, and kind of a Space-Racist in the game. But in terms of sculpt, articulation and accessories, it’s all gravy. GARRUS, AKA SPACE-BATMAN, IS THE BEST! I’m may be considered bias with that statement, but it’s true. Given the character’s unique design, Squenix NAILED this figure in terms in visuals, without any of the articulation suffering. Also check out that sniper rifle, it is both sweet and also tight. Both crew members set you back about $60 as well, and come with variant hands and about 2 weapons each. It is worth the money, especially if you’re a big ME fan.

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