Christmas Toys for Collectors by Mania (Mania.com)

By:Tim Janson
Date: Monday, December 17, 2012
Source: Mania.com

 

 
Mania has assembled some great gift ideas for the toy collector on your list. Check out our toys that any collector would want under the tree.
 
 
 

 
Star Wars Utapau Airborne Trooper (Sideshow Collectibles) $134.99
Grade: A
 
A division of the Grand Army of the Republic, the 2nd Airborne Company was comprised of clone paratroopers serving under the 212th Attack Battalion led by Clone Commander Cody. Outfitted in heavy armor suits, specifically designed to withstand high altitude drops, their armor is marked with two orange slashes across the chest to denote their rank and company. In 19 BBY the 2nd Airborne Company faced General Grievous' droid forces during the Battle of Utapau, and were later called upon to help overpower Utapau following the transmission of Order 66. 
 
Part of the Militaries of Star Wars series this is a sixth scale figure.  This one is the Sideshow Exclusive edition which means it has everything the standard edition figure has but also comes with an additional 2nd Airborne Company Display Base with 'Parjai Squad' Emblem.  This figure is limited to 1000 pieces.
 
As always, the highlights of Sideshow’s sixth scale figures are their fantastic articulation and options for customization.  The Utapau Airborne Trooper is no different with over 30 points of articulation.  The figure also comes with 6 pairs of interchangeable hands.  These hands allow the trooper to hold different weapons but also to be put in various poses of command such as pointing to a direction, holding up a palm to halt an intruder, or to give a thumbs up.  There are two pairs of feet/boots.  One is a normal standard pair while the other is called action combat boots.  These have the boots molded into a bend at the toes to simulate walking and running when placed on the display base.
 
The Utapau Trooper comes armed with a variety of weapons: DC-15S Carbine Blaster, DC-15 A Rifle Blaster, and two DC-17 Pistol Blasters.  He comes with a real fabric Kama Commander skirt (and I do mean skirt not shirt), bandolier and satchel.  The Utapau Troopers armor definitely shows the effects of battle and fighting through the grime.  There are several scores and scratches across the armor which hint at taking blaster hits.  There are numerous marks that appear to be scorch marks throughout his armor.  This guy has definitely see his share of action!
 
It’s a beautiful figure and has fantastic, fold out packaging with great graphics and text which tells the history of the Utapau Airborne Troopers.  
 
Mad Monster Party Figures (Diamond Select Toys/Art Asylum) $20
Grade A-
 
Three years after producing the Christmas Classic stop-motion animated film Rankin/Bass turned to classic monsters for their next project and the result was The Mad Monster Party.  The film featured the voice talents of Boris Karloff and Phyllis Diller and has now been given the action figure treatment with this line from Diamond Select and Art Asylum.  These figures are so incredible that they look like they might have been used as the models for the film.
 
The Baron is the mad scientist and is a beautiful caricature of an older Boris Karloff.  With his raised eyebrows and sly grin, the Baron is prepared to unleash his monster, Fang.  Small details on the Baron make him stand out.  The gold chain of his waist coat, his sunken cheeks, and the scuffing around the elbows, and singe marks on his lab coat.  He comes with a test tube and his per spider.  Stands approx.. 7” tall.
 
 
The Count is dressed in your typical, Lugosi style tuxedo with bowtie , cape, and skull amulet hanging from his neck.  The count has one raised eyebrow and the other eye is covered by a monocle. The count stands about 7’ tall and comes with a skull (of an apparent victim) and his pet vampire bat.

Fang is the Baron’s monster and is by far the most impressive of the three figures.  He stands approximately 10” tall.  The big guy’s head is ringed with staples reminiscent of the Monster’s appearance in The Bride of Frankenstein.  He has no neck bolts but does have bolts at the wrist.  He’s wearing the wooly style vest/shirt that the monster wore in Son of Frankenstein.  Curiously, Fang comes with a torch as his accessory which considering the monster’s usual fear of fire seems to be an odd choice.

Mad Monster Party was just recently released again on DVD and blu-ray and I have to say that the likenesses with these figures is just outstanding.  The sculptors have done a wonderful job at recreating this Rankin/Bass classic.  My only issue is with the bases.  While the feet do have holes in them there are no pegs on the base to affix them to securely.  Thus they just rest on the base.  The Baron in particular is top heavy and he will topple with the slightest nudge.  This isn’t as big a problem with The Count and Fang but it would have been nice if that one additional step was taken. 
 
The Hobbit Action Figures (The Bridge Direct)
Overall Grade: B
 
With the release of The Hobbit into theaters naturally we’re getting an onslaught of toys and the Bridge Direct is offering two sizes of action figures for collectors.  3.75” and 6” figures are available in single and multi-figure packs.  Now I’m not crazy about repeating figures in different sizes but I understand why it’s done as far as offering a variety of price points.  
 
The 3.75” line features five different figures: Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf the Grey, Thorin Oakenshield, Legolas Greenleaf, and Grinnah the Goblin.  All of the figures feature 12 points of articulation and come with multiple accessories.  For this review I looked at the Thorin and Bilbo figures.  One thing consistent with these figures is the quality of the sculpt and likenesses.  Obviously with smaller figures you can lose detail but with these two, you could pick these up without seeing the package, and now exactly who they are.  I think that’s key for a good figure line.
 

 
Thorin has outstanding detail.  From his chainmail armor to the intricate weave pattern of his leather coat, to the slight hits of grey in his hair.  Thorin comes with two different types of swords.  Bilbo’s detail isn’t quite as realistic.  His hair has a moppy look to  it.  The buttons on his vest and coat are painted the same color as the garments themselves which make it look cheap.  His feet at least have some hair painted on them.  Bilbo comes with sword, water satchel, and bottle satchel.
 
The 3.75” multi-packs feature several figures which are not (at least so far) available on their own including some of the other dwarves like Balin, Dwalin, Kili,  Fili, as well as Gollum, and The Goblin King.
 
In the 6” line you have the same five characters with the exception of Tauriel the female elf who replaces Grinnah.  Tauriel again has a great likeness and tremendous detail.  Her leather vest features elaborate stiching throughout and her arm bracers feature fine carvings.  There are also beautiful gold highlights one her boots with Elvish patterns.  She comes with two swords, bow, and quiver of arrows.

 
The Munsters Black and White Set (Diamond Select Toys) $74.99
Grade A+
 
Diamond Select’s stunning line of Munsters figures now comes in a fantastic set featuring all five figures AND in keeping with the spirit of the TV show, in a beautiful black and white color scheme.  The entire Munsters family is included: Herman, Lilly, Grandpa, Marilyn, and Eddie.  The packaging is simply fabulous.  The window allows you to get a good glimpse of each figure and it features the classic Munsters green dripping TV logo.
 
Where to begin?  The sculpts are some of the best I’ve ever seen.  Terrific likenesses to the actors, especially on Herman, Grandpa, and especially Marilyn.  The set features the Pat Priest version of Marilyn who took over the role for Beverly Owen beginning with episode #14

 

The figures feature unusually high articulation for an action figure set that fits into the “collectible” category.  Herman, for example features an impressive 20 points of articulation.  The sizes are also scaled correctly.  Herman is a good 1 ½” taller than the other adult figures while Eddie is a couple of inches shorter than Lilly and Marilyn.
 
Obviously since this is a black and white set the color palette is limited to those two colors and various shades of grey.  But even with the limited color scheme the detail is good.  The designers use the various shades of colors to accentuate the differences between the figures.  Grandpa’s black tuxedo is pure black while Herman’s suit is more of a dark grey.  Lilly’s dress is mostly all white but where it gathers and crinkles it’s highlighted in light grey.  Lilly’s hair white except for her trademark white streak.
 
The set comes with several accessory pieces including Herman’s extra-large lunch pail; a bat which can be attached to Grandpa to make it look like it is flying above his shoulder as well as an interchangeable hand that holds a cigar; the Munsters living room cuckoo clock with raven sticking its head out; Lilly’s Tomb and Garden Cookbook; and Eddie’s stuffed werewolf “Wolfie”.  Each of the five figures comes with a base that resembles the Munsters living room wood flooring with pegs to securely attach them.
 
This is the kind of set that makes it fun to be an action figure collector.  First rate in every way possible!

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