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Collector Toys for Christmas Part 3
The Best of the Rest!
By Tim Janson
December 08, 2013
Arkham Asylum Batman
© DC Collectibles & Entertainment Earth
In the first two parts of our look at Holiday Toys we spotlighted some of the hot new and recently released items from NECA and Diamond Select. Today we look at some more of the great new toys that we have been able to get our hands on this holiday season.
Arkham Asylum Batman VS Bane 2-Pack (DC Collectibles & Entertainment Earth)
How about A for Awesome! This two-pack featuring Batman Vs. Bane is part of the Arkham Asylum series and an absolute must have! First, the packaging is just fantastic with a huge front window to display the two figures so you really know what you are getting. The left side of the box features pics of the two figures along with the names of their sculptors. The back of the box features pics of the other two-packs available.
The Batman figure stands 6.5” tall and is the lesser of the two figures in terms of its sculpt and articulation. It’s the same figure (I believe) that came in the first wave of the series. The head moves only side-to-side and not up and down. He has ball jointed shoulders for good range of movement and standard hinge joints at the elbows and swivels at the forearms but not the wrists. He has standard t-crotch movement at the hips and hinged knees with no ankle articulation. It’s a nice looking figure but simply not that poseable.
The main reason to get this set is for the Bane figure. The detail on 8.5” Bane figure is amazing! Blood vessels bulge throughout his body and he has massive muscles. The pecs and abs are especially well-sculpted. His feet and hands are also incredible…His tightly clenched fists show off his tendons. His finger and toenails are browned with dirt. The paint detail throughout is first-rate, especially on his backpack, harness, and tubes which fill his body with chemicals. The backpack is removable but the tubes which it’s connected to, are not, which makes the action moot.
This Bane has far superior articulation compared to the first Arkham Asylum Bane figure. The head can turn from side-to-side with just slight downward movement. The shoulders are ball jointed although the tubes that run into them do restrict the movement slightly. He swivels at the biceps, hinges at the elbows, and swivels at the forearms and wrists. He swivels at the waist and the hips are jointed to allow movement of the legs forward and back and outward as well. He has upper thigh and ankle swivels andis jointed at the knee. So yes if you are keeping track the Bane figure is actually MORE articulated than Batman which is kind of goofy but makes for a great figure.
Universal Monsters Wave 4 Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde (Diamond Select and Entertainment Earth)
Since the first silent film adaptation 105 years ago in 1908, there have been close to three dozen versions produced of Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous story. Now, while the 1931 Frederic March, and 1941 Spencer Tracy versions are the two best-known versions, neither of those were produced by Universal films. In order to get to a Universal version we have to go all the way to the 1953 horror/comedy Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Of course the great aspect of that film is that it starred horror legend Boris Karloff as the titular character.
While this might not be the most iconic version of the character, it is a very cool piece. What I love is that it is a true diorama figure and comes with loads of accessories making it a great display piece. You get a lab table on which you can place various bottles, beakers, and test tubes filled with chemicals, test tube stand, and syringe. The table comes assembled although the legs removable. It creates a very cool looking lab scene as you can image the Doctor creating his formula and injecting himself. You get a displace piece which is a circular cutout of a stone floor that has two hungry rats sculpted onto it which puts the capper onto the scene.
The figure comes with a removable head, one for Dr. Jekyll and one for Mr. Hyde. The top hat fits either figure. You also get a removable cape that fits on over his shoulders and a walking cane accented with a silver handle that fits into his hand. The likeness to Boris Karloff, who always sported a mustache later in life is decent but not spectacular. The head has some nice aging to it with lines in the face and some silver highlights in the hair.
The jacket is rubberized and the rest of the body (arms, legs) are hard molded. He wears a skull ring on his left hand. The Hyde head isn’t the best version of the character having too much of an ape look if you ask me but it is a good likeness from the film. The Hyde transformation is completed with different hands that have hair and dark fingernails/claws. He moves will full range of motion at his head and his articulated at this shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists. He can move at his waist but it’s limited due to the overcoat. He can move his legs forward and back and outward. He is jointed at the knees and can swivel at the ankles. So while it’s not the most revered version of the character it does create an extremely atmospheric display.
Daryl & Merle Dixon two-pack (McFarlane Toys and Entertainment Earth)
Arguably the Walking Dead’s most popular character and most-hated villain…Daryl and Merle Dixon come together in this exclusive Series 4 two pack from McFarlane Toys. This two-pack is the only way to get your hands on these two figures. The front of the box has a nice, large window displaying the two figures and the back shows the 6 other single figures that are in this wave. The set comes with several accessories including a set of keys, axe, pick axe, two different knives, Daryl’s crossbow with arrows, and Merle’s pistol and M-16 rifle with sling.
The likeness on the Merle figure is astounding, right down to his piercing blue eyes and the devilish scowl. It is a repaint of the series 1 figure and features a black shirt rather than a beige one. The Daryl likeness isn’t quite as spot on but still good. It’s the same figure from Series 1 although I want to say that the paint on his pants is a little darker but I did not have one handy to compare. I think the face paint is slightly different to make his beard a bit more straggly looking. The one weird thing is how his eyeballs are situated in the left corners of his eyes which make him look a bit strange when holding and aiming his crossbow.
The articulation is good in both figures although Daryl is definitely meant to be holding his crossbow. Head movement is limited but they are articulated at the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. In addition, Daryl can swivel at his biceps and thighs.
Illumivor R/C Mecha-Pede (Skyrocket Toys)
One of the hot toys for the 2012 Christmas season was Skyrocket toys Illumivor R/C Mecha-Shark, a very cool, light up and radio-controlled shark. What kid wants to control a car or truck when you can have a giant, jaw-chomping shark running around the house? Skyrocket is back this year with another cool R/C toy that kids will love.
The Illumivor Mecha-Pede is even creepier than the Mecha-Shark. Afterall, no one finds a shark in their house when moving an old box in the basement but we’ve all had a nasty, multi-legged centipede scurry across our feet when we least expect it. The Mecha-Pede is powered by four AAA batteries and the remote control requires one 9 volt battery. The Mecha-Pede can move forwards and backwards as well as right or left with the simple R/C controls. The figure has 14 sets of legs which skitter with movement but the toy actually moves on wheels on the bottom which makes it ok to use on shorter carpets but for ideal movement you definitely want to be on a harder surface like a tile floor or cement.
The real fun begins when you shut off the lights and all of those legs, antennae, forked tail, and ridges on his back light up. This gives the toy a truly eerie quality and if you hate bugs like I do, it makes the hair on your arms bristle! The toy is designed for kids ages six and up. It works quite well and there is an adjuster switch to make sure the toy moves straight. Very cool toy and another sure winner for Skyrocket toys!
Transformers Construct-Bots (Hasbro)
The Bionicles have been one of the most popular LEGO sub-series since first introduced in 2001. Hasbro takes the construction element of the Bionicles and combines them with their Transformers for an all-new take of everyone’s favorite transforming robots. The Construct-Bots come in 3 different sizes. The Elite Class have 48 – 55 pieces; Triple Changers (which change into two different vehicle modes) have 60 – 70 pieces; and the Ultimate Class, which features both Optimus Prime and Megatron, features over 130 pieces. The figures all come in their own carrying cases to allow you to store the parts when disassembled.
For this review we were able to check out the Soundwave and Wheeljack Elite class figures. Now yes you heard me correct that while you construct these figures from parts they also transform. This is really hardly surprising since the new Transformers are heavily based on ball-joint construction as opposed to the original G1 Transformers. Wheeljack has 55 pieces and transforms from robot to a race car.
When assembled the Construct-Bots look and feel a lot like Bionicles…i.e. they are extremely poseable thanks to the ball-joints but are not as solid on their feet as “real” Transformers. That’s not necessarily a criticism but just stating a fact. But I will say that the Construct-Bots don’t have that bonesy look like Bionicles do. Wheeljack comes with a rifle and also has two shoulder-mounted cannons.
Soundwave (one of my favorites) has 48 pieces and transforms into a jet. Admittedly a jet isn’t nearly as cool as his original radio/tape player form but what are you going to do. He does come with his large, shoulder-mounted cannons and has dual rifles. Soundwave actually looks more solid than Wheeljack.
Now the cool thing about the Construct-Bots is that you can mix parts from other figures to customize them. Of Course doing so means you might not be able to transform them depending upon which parts you switch out but in robot mode you can change out just about everything to make your own Autobots or Decepticons. I’m going to guess that Transformers purists probably won’t be huge fans of the Construct-Bots but I look at them as a nice, interactive sub-series.