Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dragon Men In Black III Agent J

Men in Black is a 1997 science fiction action comedy film starring Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. The film was based on Lowell Cunningham's The Men in Black comic book series, originally published by Aircel Comics.
Due to its commercial success, it spawned 2 more movies.

The current 12" market is hot, with big players like Hot Toys, Enterbay & Sideshow picking up movie licences and producing some amazing figures. 
Due to its cult following, I was not surprised that the Men in Black licence was picked up by not one but 2 companies, Dragon and Enterbay.

After rounds of procrastination, I finally decided to go with Dragon's Agent J. 
On picture, I do fancy Enterbay head sculpt of both Agent J & K but not their price. 
Dragon's take on Agent J was pretty good while Agent K was a miss.
Finally my wallet had the final say and I went with Dragon's Agent J. 

This version is based on the 3rd installation of the MIB series. But seriously, Agent K was always in the same black suit and hence I felt that the figure could represent him in all the 3 movies. 

The packaging is very simple. 
The whole box is black with the title and name of the figure in white.
I guess we all know where they have saved to give us a decently priced 12" movie licenced figure.
The figure is not that secure in the box and the face tends to rub against the plastic.
I have seen some scratches and decolourising on other figures' faces so do keep note of that when choosing your piece.  

For that price point, the head sculpt of Agent J is pretty decent.
Anybody will be able to recognise Will Smith as Agent J in the sculpting.
The lack of texturing in the skin and mediocre painting makes the head sculpt less realistic. 
The flat paint ops on the eyes really hurt the sculpt causing the overall sculpt to be lifeless, however Agent J is not Agent J without his sunglasses so you can cover up that flaw with the glasses.
Based on the pictures on their website, the mass produced figures (the one that we get) are pretty off. I don't see those issues I complained about in the pictures.

I actually wanted to get the head sculpt from Enterbay and attach it to the Dragon's body.
However I was not sure if the head could fit the body plus the price for Enterbay's Agent J does not come cheap. In the end I dropped the idea. 

The suit is pretty well done and it fits the body very well.
It is made of some soft material which feels like velvet to the touch.

Much better with the sunglasses on...

The accessories are pretty limited. I really wished he came with some space weapons but all the weapons are packaged with Agent K (2012 & 1969).

The figure comes with:
Cell Phone
Time Stop Watch
A pair of extra hands

The Neurlyzer is a pretty cool accessory to have.

The stand is a no frills display stand. There are no indication on it to state that it came from a MIB licensed figure. I guess that's another area that helped to keep the price down.

Interestingly, Agent J comes with Special Frank the Dog.
If I did not recall wrongly, Frank only appeared in Part 1 & 2 of MIB and not part 3 of MIB which the figure is based on.
Frank did not appear in person in the threequel, but can be seen in a picture in Jay's room as well as on a Coney Island billboard as "The Incredible Speaking Pug". I guess that was reason enough...
Ok I am not complaining, Frank is a cute addition to have.
It is one solid piece with no articulation.

Overall, a pretty cool figure to have since I do like the MIB movies.
Pity I would most likely give Agent K a miss since I can't compromise on bad sculpting but good price for Dragon and great sculpting but high price for Enterbay...Well it means Agent J will go solo for the time being.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Star Wars The Ultimate Action Figure Collection

I do not review books on my blog, however if that book is about Star Wars the Ultimate Action Figure Collection...well that's a different story.
This book covers more than 2,500 Star Wars action figures produced over the last 35 years.
You can now now trace the evolution of each character in toy form from the time of their first appearance through the designs of today. It is totally amazing how the Star Wars action figures had evolved over time, from sculpting to articulation.

Compiled by Stephen J. Sansweet, owner of the world's largest private collection of Star Wars memorabilia, the book also showcases and details the rare, popular, forgotten, and beloved figures of the Star Wars universe.

Happy to say that Kinokuniya (Singapore) is stocking this book now.
Amazon is another place to get this book.

A peek into the book.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Hot Toys DX12 The Dark Knight Rises Batman

The Dark Knight Rises was the last installation of Nolan's Batman Trilogy.
To me, the second movie of the Batman trilogy was the strongest by far, but The Dark Knight Returns just manages to end the trilogy nicely.

Of all the Batman movies, I like Burton and Keaton's Batman.
However, Nolan and Bale's Batman is the most complete in terms of characters in the movie, character development and story line. 
Hot Toys got the licence to produce 12" figures from the trilogy and has since, churned out figures after figures from the 3 movies.
I don't know why but I never got around to getting the main character which is Batman. I got Two Face, DX Joker, Bank Robber Joker and even kit-bashed the nurse Joker...but never Batman.
When Hot Toys released DX12 The Dark Knight Rises Batman...I finally got my hands on it.

Hot Toys never fail to impress in their packaging and DX's packaging is right at the very top.
Everytime when I open up a DX figure, it feels just like when I was a kid opening up my Christmas presents...ohhhh the excitement.

The figure comes in a box secured with magnets. The design is very simple with a glossy bat logo on a greyish textured box. This time round, "Less is More"

When you first open the box, you are greeted with the blueprint of the Bat!
Yes we all know that the likelihood of getting this in 1/6 scale is almost nil but the blueprint was a nice addition. 

Even after opening up so many DX figures, it never fails to amaze me how they package the figure.
It looks so classy and sophisticated. Under the first layer which houses the main figure, you get the stand and his cape.

This being a DX figure, you get the PERS eye system which allows you to position the eyes anywhere you like. In order to use the system, you are given a spatula which has a little cup at the end to interact with the joystick in the head of Batman. I found it very hard to manouvre the joystick using that little spatula. 
The spatula also doubles up in aiding the removal of the mouth pieces.

For this figure, you get 3 interchangable mouth pieces.
The stern expression, the stern expression with the corners of the mouth down turned and the open mouth expression. I don't know why people don't like the open mouth expression...Bale does that expression a lot in the movie and I thought it was fitting to do that expression.
The sculpting of the mouths is amazing with all the wrinkles and details...and topped off with amazing painting which is expected of the super high standard of Hot Toys.
People are also complaining about the cowl that it is not movie accurate...seriously it looks damn fine. 

That little spatula
The 3 interchangable mouth pieces

Open Mouth

Stern Expression

Stern with corners of mouth down turned

What I like about this figure is that I get an additional Christian Bale head sculpt. The sculpt is based on the The Dark Knight Rises movie hence you get a more older and worn out Bruce Wayne look.
From the promotional pictures the sculpting is amazing but when I got it in my kinda looks different.
Even that little lump on the side of his nose is gone.
Regardless, it still looks amazing but if I got the sculpt from the promotional pictures I would be happier.

The additional head sculp of Bruce allows you to display Bruce in his bat suit without his cowl on, however I rather kit bash a Bruce Wayne figure in a business suit.
Just a note, the holes from the neck and neck connector are smaller and do not fit in your normal Hot Toys naked body without some alteration.
Thankfully I happened to have a 3R 1/6 GM622 Herbert Narrow shoulder Body which fits Bruce's head nicely.

The accessories you get from the figure are:
4 hands
1 grappling gun
2 Batarangs
2 mini mines
2 utility belts
1 sticky bomb gun
1 EMP rifle 
1 clip to attach EMP rifle to the Bat Pod

Since this is my first Batman, I was not sure how to open the utility belts.
As I don't want anyone to break the belts given that I almost did that, let me tell you, the catch is at the back of the belts.
The pictures will give you a better understanding on where the catch is.

From what I read from the web, the EMP rifle is the new addition from the DX02 version. Given that this weapon appeared in the The Dark Knight Rises movie, it was appropriate to get this extra "baby". It has light up features plus we are given an extra clip so that it can be attached to the about integration to the other go and buy the Batpod. 

Given that I don't have DX02 version, I was mightily impressed by the sticky bomb gun.
It can be collapsible into two parts and re-attached to form the gun. I was really impressed with the workmanship at this scale. 

We are given 2 belts. One is the articulated utility belt which you can attach the grappling gun at the back. I used this belt for the figure for my display.
The other is the utility belt with magnets which you can attach the sticky bomb gun.

The stand is pretty nice. However it does add height to the figure. Personally I dont like it as it means that this figure has to be displayed at the back as it will block most of the other figures if displayed in front. Well that is my personal perference.

Another point to note, the hook is packaged the other way round. As usual, me being the blur one, I just took it out and forced the stand onto the base. It almost broke the base. Remember to take out the hook and turn it the other way round.

Another area that impressed me was the batsuit. It is a fabric body-glove suit on which interlocking panels of armour are glued on. This makes the suit look super movie accurate.
However, I am not liking the cape. The cape comes with 2 pegs which you need to insert into 2 holes on the shoulder of the figure. The instruction is not really clear on how to do it so I am not sure if I have done it right. I have read some reviews but am still not clear if I have done it correctly.
I guess as long as it looks ok, I can live with it.

The figure without the cape to showcase the great Bat suit. 

Now with the cape. I guess it looks ok

Overall, this is an outstanding figure. The least you'd expect from a DX figure.
A nice figure to end off the Dark Knight Trilogy. 


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