War Machine

Originally posted on slangards.multiply.com on Mar 22, 2010

I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to get a War Machine from the new 3.75" movie line, but luckily, with the help of Cybertron Philippines and some friends, I was able to score this short-packed figure at the suggested retail price of Php 450.00. For those overseas, that's about $9.00 to $10.00 depending on our exchange rate. Of all the toys released so far, this has got to be the one that really feels worth the asking price.

Though it's not as big as the Iron Monger, it has one of the best sculpts of the line, and comes with some relevant accesories that fit well and really complete the look of the figure.

The Variable Threat Response Battle Suit Mark II, Model JRXL-1000 is worn by James Rhodes, Tony Stark's right hand man in the comics, and his military liason in the movie. As a Vietnam vet and an engineer, he's got skills. He needs all of that training to pilot this thing because it's packing heat.

The list of weaponry is as follows:

  • Repulsors
  • Multifunctional unibeam projector
  • Pulse bolt generators
  • Retractable shoulder minigun
  • variable-configured double-barrel cannons
  • Gauntlet mounted flamethrower
  • Plasma blade on the left gauntlet
  • Heat seeking missile launchers
  • Missile box launcher
  • Micro-rocket launcher
  • Particle beam discharger
  • Electromagnetic pulse generator
  • Pulse cannon
  • Retractable back mounted weapon pods

This doesn't even include his photon emitter force shield, forcefield-based stealth technology, boot-jet propulsion, self-contained breathing system, carbon-composite-based steel mesh armor, solar charged power systems, tactical computer system with automatic laser guided weapons targeting.

Imagine all that coming at you when all you in a war zone, and you'll see why every toy of this guy dissappears from shelves so quickly.

In this case, the figure is just about as accurate as you can get in this scale. I've been checking on various art from the books and it's damn near perfectly matched to the illustrations. This is one mean looking bastard.
His shoulder mounted rocket launcher and Gatling gun are there, as are his arm mounted guns. The unibeam and repulsors can also be seen (though he can't really use the repulsors since his hands are sculpted in place).

The shoulder ordanance actually pivots on their mounts, and slide down his back when not in use. That means he's got a pretty wide kill zone with that chain gun of his.

He comes with some very cool accessories. If you have the 6" War Machine from the old Toy Biz Marvel Legends line, then you remember that he comes with some righteous translucent pieces that attach to his launcher and cannon to simulate what they'd look like in the thick of things. This itty-bitty War Machine also has those and they make him look pretty mean.

I do wish that he came with some boot jets or an exhast stand like the Comic Classic Armor, but if you have some of the other figures in the line, you can add on the flamethrower or repulsor beam attachments to his hands and have a proper party.

The figure also comes with the "armor cards" that are a signature of the line. As a signature I think they're pretty innocuous. Happily, they don't affect the toys' sculpt or articulation in any way and can either be left off or included in the display.

Sadly, there are other things that do hamper his articulation. I don't really understand why, but the designers decided to switch things around with this toy. Rather than have the shoulder armor as a seperate, removable piece like the Power Assualt Armor's, they attached it by a hinge to War Machine's body. That means that when the shoulder guard is down, he looks great, but he can't move his arm foward or back. If you move it up so that the arm can move, it looks awful. Moving the arm to the side looks passable, so that's gotta me your choice if you're going to display him.

The rest of his joints are pretty much on par with the rest of them. He only has a swivel neck, and his torso joint/ab crunch is severly limited due to the chest peice, but I can live with both.

Paint wise, he's one of the most consistent in the line. I saw maybe 8 examples of him at the toy launch and none of them was particularly awful. There was one that had a slightly dark smudge on the lighter silver paint, but it was small error and I'd still have gotten it if that had been the last one left.

Once I had him out of the package, I couldn't help but compare him to the old 6" version. I was never really satisfied with that one because I was bothered with the stocky frame and the long arms, as well as with the faceplate, that kind of reminded me of a monkey. The weapons on that one also felt like afterthoughts. Since the figure was built off the old Silver Centurion mold, that could have been the case. The Gatling gun didn't even point up.

Glad to report that this version looks much better than that one. Better proportions, better hands, better face plate, better guns. Basically all that was wrong with that old toy is improved in this one. Except scale. If this was 3" taller, it would be awesome.

Compared to the other figures in the line, he might he a smidgen taller. Maybe half a head. You wouldn't really notice unless he were standing back to back with another figure. Nice touch since I've always imagined that this thing would have more raw power than Iron Man if only for the fact that he has so much more ordanance to haul around.

So, verdict then?

This time, the hype is right. If you only get one figure from those that have been released locally so far, I'd suggest War Machine. The impressive sculpting, good paint applications, and awesome accessories really sell this toy for me. It's really too bad that it's the hardest one to find, but I'd think that would be the case even if Hasbro had decided to pack this 3 per case.

He's just that popular.

Play Arts Kai Oerba Dia Vanille

Originally posted on slangards.mulitply.com on Mar 22, 2010

Having already explained what I love and hate about Final Fantasy in my review of Lightning, I'll let it slide this time. Suffice to say that while I dislike the storytelling of the series, I am in awe of their designs. Vanille is no exception. This particular figure is based on the playable character in Final Fantasy XIII which was just released a week or so ago and is a very nice rendition of the "mysterious but upbeat young girl" as she appears in the game.


Again, like the old Play Arts figures, Oerba Dia Vanille comes in a plainly shaped box with a nice big window on it that shows off most of the figure, as well as the accessories that come with it. She has comes with two extra hands and two versions of her fishing rod; one folded and one extended.

When I first saw these, I had no idea about what the game was about, and I still have no real intention to play it. I thought the rod was some kind of magic staff from some kind of pantheistic religion that the other games seemed to have. Apparently, it's "a foldable fishing rod with multiple lines that can be reeled and used to attack enemies" (Wikipedia).


It looks rather odd to say the least, and I can't fathom how it is actually meant to be effective in combat, but it's a video game, so I'll cut them some slack. I hear that there's anime out there with characters that use giant staplers for weapons, so this is small potatoes right here.

In game, the rod is supposed to fold up and fit behind her back, but like they did with Lightning's Blaze Edge, they just gave us two seperate pieces. A word to the wise, you're going to want to be extra careful with them. I've already broken the folded one twice and had to glue the "arms" to the main body to keep it from snapping off again.

The folded version fits nicely in a pair of hoops that are attached to her fur skirt. The hoops have little nubs in them that are supposed to lock into holes in the skirt, but it doesn't work nearly as well as Lightning's holster. Still, you'd need to really work at it if you wanted the rod to fall out, so it's not a big deal.


The extended staff/rod looks really... ridiculous. There's no other word for it really. As a weapon it doesn't look effective at all, which is why I thought it was a staff or wand for a magic user. Who knows, maybe in game she grows into that role, but you'll need to ask one of those Game reviewers about that.

The staff is pretty slender and fits easily into her clenched pair of hands. It's so slender that it's actually a loose fit, so tends to flop around a lot. Again, it's not a big problem, since there are plenty of ways to pose her where it doesn't matter.



The other thing that's included with the figure is a stand. I've already explained the cons and... cons of this stand so I won't go into to much detail.

Let's just say that it took me FOREVER to balance her in the pose in the second picture below:


Articulation is just as impressive as the other female figure of this line. She's got just as many joints (give or take a few) as Lightning and is just as flexible. Like Lightning, she does suffer from some pretty loose hinges, but that is preferable to locked joints, especially in something that costs this much money (Php 2,300.00).
Below is a peek (pun intended) at the hip joints that Square Enix put into her. If she didn't have that skirt covering that set up, it would be awful, but thankfully, the design really does well in hiding it all.

Sculpt is even more impressive than the first figure. While I have to say I like Lightning more than Vanille overall, I can't fault her design or details. There is so much more here than on the other toy. From the tiny beadwork on her bag and necklace, the awesome pigtails that seem to flow naturally no matter how you turn them (yes, there are joints there, too), to the fur textures on her skirt; all of it is amazing.


The extra pair of hands are included as well, but they're really just soft gesturing poses. Good for casting I guess. I just use one set and left the others in the small box where I keep all my extra body parts. One day I'm gonna collect all those extra parts and make me a monster.


Scale wise... she's a monster. While she's no where near the 12" mark, she's getting there. She's a full head over the old Final Fantasy toys, and taller than even my GI Joe Sigma 6. Sad, really, since I used to display Play Arts and Joes together since the Joe line up was such a sausage fest. Hasbro I hate you for never making a Scarlett figure.

The height is still passable really, if you have them in an action pose, or if you pretend she's a supermodel in heels and the Joes are all Asian.


Overall, I think this was still a pretty good buy, especially since the production runs didn't seem all that crazy, and stores didn't import them in terribly large numbers. If I decide that I don't need to keep her, I could probably get a good price for the figure down the road and only lose a couple hundred bucks or so.

However, if you're going to only buy one of these figures, I'd have to recommend Lightning. She is just so much more impressive than Vanille.

The Tick

Originally posted at slangards.multiply.com on Mar 19, 2010

This is another toy I borrowed from Shit Critic, along with the Venom The Madness and toys. Though it's not as flash as those toy figures, you have to admit that it's got a certain style to it.

One can't help but love The Tick. He was created by cartoonist Ben Edlund as an absurdist version of your friendly neighborhood superheroes way back in 1986. By 1994, fox had made him famous with an animated series that spawned a lot of media attention which eventually led to the 1995 toy line from Bandai. The line covered many of the show's characters, including The Tick's sidkick Arthur, Die Fledermaus, El Seed, and Man Eating Cow.

This particular Tick comes from the "Tick Talkers" sub-line of the same year. There were 4 toys (re-tools/re-colors) in the line and the gimmick was that they could talk. Each had a little button on the back that when pressed would activate the little speaker and he'd say lines from the show. From what Shit Critic told me, the phrases were things like "Oh, Maybe not..." and "SPOON". Since I only watched a few episodes, I can't really tell you what he meant by that.

Natural Tick. Image from Amazon.com
The one that I'm looking at is the "Natural" Tick. The other 3 have various clothing on top of the Tick costume. They are the "I Dig Dinosaur Neil" Tick, "I Love Wheat" Tick, and "Tourist" Tick who is dressed in sunglasses and board shorts. How often do you see superhero toys in board shorts?

Clockwise from upper left:
"I Dig Dinosaur Neil" Tick, Tourist Tick,  and "I  Love Wheat" Tick.
Images from

Naturally, this toy being about 15 years old, he's already out of the box and the talking feature no longer works. I could probably replace the batteries, but I'm a lazy bastard and I'm not sure if they even still sell LR44 batteries anymore. And this thing needs 3 of them.

Even without the gimmick, he's still a great little figure. The sculpt is fantastic, capturing the square jawed dumb lug perfectly. You could leave this on your desk and I'm sure you'd smile every time you saw it.

The paint obviously didn't stand the test of time very well. Actually, it's not really painted except for his face. He's mostly cast in blue, which makes sense since his entire super suit is blue. I don't know why, but the plastic of his torso has already been discolored. I figure it's cause my friend left him in the sunlight or something. Still doesn't really bother me, since he still holds up well.

He's also very sturdy. He's got to be, since toys back then were made for kids who tossed figures across the room and regularly devised repugnant tortures for their GI Joes and their sisters' Barbies.

His articulation is standard for the era; 5 points. Neck, shoulders and hips. He won't stand a chance against modern Marvel Legends joints, but you can't really argue that since during the time 5 points of articulation was about par. Thankfully, Bandai didn't try and do too much with him, so he can just stand and stare at you. Somehow I feel that's less boring than having a statue that's stuck in that one dynamic pose.

Honestly, there's not much to say other than this is an excellent toy, despite being a decade and a half old. If you can find the Shocker Toys version of The Tick that would also be good, but since we didn't get that series here, I'll see if Shit Critic will sell this to me.

Disqus for Joint Junkie