There is now an Alien arms race between NECA and Bandai

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NECA has been hitting on all cylinders with their Aliens figures recently, offering super-articulated versions of everyone’s favorite xenomorphs. But this month also sees the release of the S.H.MonsterArts Alien from Alien vs. Predator, courtesy of Bandai’s collector-oriented division, Tamashii Nations. I’m hoping to get my hands on one to review in the near future.

There is one thing that’s always bugged me a bit about NECA figures: the 7″ scale. Why don’t they produce figures in the more popular 6″ scale? I don’t know for sure, but NECA started their Reel Toys line in the early 2000s as both a competitor and a complement to McFarlane Toys’ Movie Maniacs (which had started closer to a 6″ scale but then soon crept up to a 7″ scale, probably to allow for a bit more detail). In those early days, NECA wanted to appeal to Movie Maniacs collectors, so they went with the 7″ scale to make sure those collectors would feel comfortable placing their Reel Toys figures alongside their Movie Maniacs. Eventually NECA had produced so much of their own product in the 7″ scale that switching to a 6″ scale would risk alienating their own fan base.

To get back to Bandai, I was initially intrigued by the prospect of S.H.MonsterArts Aliens and Predator figures. I knew they would likely be in an actual 6″ scale, and would conceivably offer even better articulation than NECA (albeit at three times the price). But I was disappointed when the first two S.H.MonsterArts Alien and Predator figures were based on the two worst films of either franchise – Alien vs. Predator (the Alien) and Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (the Predator). While I still plan to get both figures – mostly to sate my curiosity more than  anything else – I’m not particularly fond of those designs. So it seemed that NECA would remain my one and only place for figures from my favorite Alien films.

But then Tamashii goes and announces this – an S.H.MonsterArts “Big Chap” from the original Alien. Continue reading “There is now an Alien arms race between NECA and Bandai”

NECA posts paintmaster pics of Pacific Rim’s Cherno Alpha

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Most fans of Pacific Rim and NECA’s toy line of said movie know the story – when NECA was developing their Pacific Rim line, Walmart at one point expressed interest in it, which resulted in some cost-cutting measures to keep the price point down to presumably make it easier for Walmart to sell the line in stores.

But that was only the case for the first two waves. Now, with wave three, NECA has promised the same quality seen in their other figure lines. And so it’s with cautious excitement I present these paintmaster pics of fan favorite Cherno Alpha, posted on Twitter by NECA yesterday.

Personally I can’t wait to get this thing in my hands.

The Amazing, Horrifying Inner Guts of Classic Toy Characters

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Smithsonian.com has an interview with Jason Freeny, an artist who creates sculptures of famous toys with their inner skeleton and musculature exposed. It’s an awesome and yet somehow absolutely terrifying endeavor.

Although he recognizes the value of his sculptures as tools for scientific education—and has seen his own kids learn from the dozens of pieces lying around his workshop—his original intention was never to teach anyone anatomy. “I just love exploring these characters, and seeing what they look like inside,” Freeny says. “I want to see the grotesque, weird anatomies that these toys dictate.”

Check out the interview with the Smithsonian for many more photos, and check out Freeny’s website for many more wonderful, childhood-tainting photos, as well as Freeny’s own original artwork and even some toys. You can also check out his book Plastic Surgeon, which includes photos and in-progress photos and diagrams.

Hello Kitty Exposed
Hello Kitty Exposed

Mattel on MOTUC: Looking Ahead at 2014 & Beyond

I'll take any excuse to use this graphic again.
I’ll take any excuse to use this graphic again.

I’ll admit this is partly just traffic trolling, since any and all MOTUC Mattycollector news from Mattel’s Scott Neitlich, a.k.a. ToyGuru, seems to draw in the readers. Anyway, here’s Neitlich’s post on the state of MOTUC in 2014 – AND BEYOND.

He-Fans and She-Ravers,

Happy New Year, everyone! And welcome to the top of another exciting year collecting Masters of the Universe Classics on Mattycollector.com!

Here at the top of 2014 is a very interesting point in the line to take a moment and pause for reflection. Not only on where we have been, but on where we are going as well. We are now into our sixth year of the line (I know we had three releases in 2008, but 2009 was really the first full year). It has been a long and amazing ride. Never in my wildest imagination did I think we would get this deep into the line (almost to our 150th figure!) nor did I think I would have the privilege and honor of getting to head-up the line for this long. Truly a personal dream come true as a toy collector and MOTU fan myself! Continue reading “Mattel on MOTUC: Looking Ahead at 2014 & Beyond”

Rumored Star Wars Black 6″ Wave 4 Line-up

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First off, as always, take this with a grain of salt. This is based on third-hand information. I just happen to find it compelling enough to pass along. While I generally try to avoid rumor-mongering, I think it’s worth giving preemptive feedback sometimes.

User WayneStarActionF at the Rebelscum forums has made what I think is a decently convincing case (based on what he claims is inside information) for the line-up of Star Wars Black 6″ Wave 4. WayneStarActionF also states that while Wave 4 is disappointing, Wave 5 is amazing and consists entirely of Original Trilogy characters. Continue reading “Rumored Star Wars Black 6″ Wave 4 Line-up”

Production to start on a new Masters of the Universe movie in 2014?

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That’s what Devon Franklin, Senior Vice President of Production for Columbia Tristar, said on Instagram (link).

Any Masters of the Universe fans out there!? Mattel just sent me this vintage Castle Grayskull! Takes me back to my childhood! I’m working on bringing the new He-Man movie to the screen. We start production this year! #mastersoftheuniverse #heman #ihavethepower

Is there any chance this movie could be good? Rob Bricken, formerly of Topless Robot and now of io9, wrote an extensive analysis of why that would be impossible – see Why There Should Never, Ever Be a He-Man Movie – and I have to agree with most of his points. I think he’s wrong that today’s kids wouldn’t like the cartoon show – my friend’s 5-year-old and 3-year-old were addicted to it for months on Netflix. But I have no idea how that would play out with a movie. Maybe it could work if done as a CGI movie in the vein of How to Train Your Dragon…but I doubt it. And that certainly doesn’t seem to be the direction Mattel/Columbia Tristar is going.

(Thanks to He-Man World and @motuclassics for the heads-up.)

Gentle Giant to work on Funko Legacy 6″?

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As you may know, Hasbro has partnered with Gentle Giant in producing the Star Wars Black 6″ (confirmation of this can be found in this interview with Gentle Giant).

In an encouraging sign, it appears that Funko may be working with Gentle Giant as well for their 6″ line, which is scheduled to include figures from Game of Thrones and Firefly. In reply to a post on the Funko Fanatic forums (a post started by yours truly, actually, speculating as to who would sculpt the line), Brian Mariotti of Funko writes, “I think Gentle Giant is incredible….hmmmmmmmm.”

So I think it’s safe to say Gentle Giant will be helping to produce Funko Legacy. That doesn’t automatically mean Mal Reynolds will have the same quality of sculpting or articulation as SWB6″ Han Solo, of course; different decisions could be made regarding articulation and how much to spend on paint applications, quality of plastic, and so forth. But Gentle Giant’s involvement is a positive development – at least for those of us who are hoping for something close to SWB6″.

UPDATE: On a related topic, Brian is also promising SWB6″-like articulation on Legacy.

Perhaps this will be a situation similar to Legendary Comic Book Heroes, where two lines were worked on by the same people (ToyBiz making Marvel Legends, and later Marvel Toys making LCBH), which ensured the lines were completely compatible.