Archive for the ‘Novelties’ Category

The Walking Dead
TV Series 2:
Rick and Shane

BFF 4-Ever

BFF 4-Ever

Last year I posted a review of a couple of McFarlane’s Walking Dead figures based on the AMC television series. I was not very impressed and said that I would most likely not pick up any of the subsequent figures. Well, I didn’t go back on my word, but being a well known zombie and toy lover (that doesn’t sound quite right) I received two of the newer figures as a Christmas gift.

DSCN1663Rick and Shane come from the second series of action figures based on the show. There are also three zombie figures in this series: Bicycle Girl from season 1 and the Well Zombie and RV (Screwdriver in the eye) Zombie from season 2.

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Rick Grimes sports a pretty messed up T-Shirt, his Sheriff’s hat, and a fairly clean pair of jeans (always wear black during the apocalypse, it hides stains). He comes with three interchangeable hands so that you can choose to display him with his pistol (which also fits in a holster on his hip), rifle with scope, or zombie dog-catcher thingee. The hands are a nice extra touch. It’s much better than being given nice accessories that the figure can’t hold.

There’s something about Rick’s face that seems a bit off. It might be the sculpt, but I think the main culprit is the paint, especially the look of his eyes. The light blue makes him look a little too ghostly. Rick actually looks better from far away than up close.

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Rick’s got articulation at the neck, shoulder, elbows, and wrists. All of those joints are pretty useful in positioning him to hold his weapons, though they stick out like sore thumbs on his realistic looking upper body. He has less articulation downstairs; only two diagonal cuts at the crotch and turnable feet. The crotch cuts are really useless; if you position them in any way other than straight up, Rick just looks silly. It’s better than Daryl, who had a crapload of useless leg cuts, but if you were hoping to make Rick look like he’s running, it’s just not going to happen.

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Shane is partially shirtless (for the ladies) and comes with a shotgun, which he holds with two hands. He kinda has to sport the gun, as he looks pretty silly without it. There are some nice sculpted details on Shane, though he’s got one fugly looking face. I don’t think Jon Bernthal is the most handsome guy, but he’s definitely better looking than his action figure counterpart.

Shane’s got a lot less articulation than Rick. He has neck movement (but not a swivel), shoulders, a waist that is heavily restricted by his shirt, and two useless thigh cuts. He’s essentially a statue aside from having the ability to raise or lower his gun and turn his head slightly. Honestly, I’m not sure if I prefer the ugly looking joints on Rick or the lack of joints on Shane. I do find it funny that the box touts Shane’s shoulder cuts as if they were an action feature.

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Overall, I’m still left feeling pretty underwhelmed by this line of figures. I’ll always favor more cartoonish action figures for this reason: When you try to make realistic looking figures, you either have to choose between making them statues or giving them articulation that clashes with the realistic looking sculpt. McFarlane doesn’t seem to know which way it’s going with these guys and the result is a bit of a mess. Some figures are more articulated than others. Rick features ugly-looking joints. Daryl has a bunch of weird, useless cuts. Shane and Tank Zombie have almost no articulation and all of the zombies have bizarre action features.

I’d really like to have some nice figures based on the TV show, but unfortunately these McFarlane figures leave much to be desired.

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The Walking Dead minimate universe continues to expand. Series 2 brings us five new 2-packs with one variant pack. Available wherever minimates can be found are:

Michonne and One-Eyed Zombie

Michonne & One Eye

Michonne is almost identical to the figure we just got in the Amazon 4-pack, except this version has a calmer expression. As is such, my complaints are the same. Her hair sits too high on her head, her sword is too short, and I don’t care for her flashy, multi-colored outfit. She’s still a decent figure, but I’ll be glad when we get her in different attire and hopefully she’ll have some small tweaks in the future. One-Eyed Zombie might be the most gruesome figure we’ve gotten in this line to date. Half his body is flayed off, he’s missing a quarter of his head, his eye socket is in the wrong place, and he’s got somebody’s intestines wrapped around his left hand. Never before has something this gross looked this cute.

Sailor Zombie and Leg-Bite Zombie

Sailor & Leg-Bite

It seems that each wave is going to have a two-pack with no humans. Here we get Sailor Zombie and Leg-Bite Zombie. Sailor appeared on one of the covers of the hardcover collections. Some have claimed he is more mime than sailor. Either way, he’s pretty creepy looking. The detail on his ugly face is pretty nice, with his facial tissue ripped away in a Joker-like fashion. He’s also walking around with two stumpy arms, though he comes with replacements if you want him fully armed. It’s a nice touch that allows for some different zombie display options. Leg-Bite zombie is found early on in the comics when Rick opens up the hospital cafeteria doors. I believe he holds the distinction of being Rick Grimes’ first ever zombie kill as his neck was broken when they stumbled down a flight of steps. Leg-Bite isn’t as damaged as Sailor or One-Eye, but he’s got some nice detail work and looks like his comic counterpart.

The next pack is exclusive to online retailers and comic book stores, and includes another fan favorite:

Andrea & Stabbed Zombie, Variant Amy

Andrea, Amy, and Stabbed

Andrea is one of the few characters in TWD to have survived since the beginning of the series. The version we get here is during the prison days. She sports a pissed off look, the facial scar she got from prison psychopath, Thomas, and her trusty long-range rifle. I really like this figure, and I’m sure will get some more Andrea variations before the series is done.

The variant figure in this wave is Andrea’s sister, Amy. Right off the bat, this is a much better variant than last wave’s Winter Coat Dale. Amy looks alright, if not a little bit too much like Andrea. You could probably use Amy’s head as an extra Andrea expression. What makes her figure great is the alternate, dying head and bloody hood that she comes with. Finally, a figure with a good scared look. I hope we get more alternate heads like this in future waves.

If you want to have both Andrea and Amy in your collection, you’re going to find yourself with two Stabbed Zombies. Stabbed Z was on the outside of the fence during the prison days. Glenn killed him off with a knife with a piece of wood attached as a way to not lose his knife through the fence. I believe there was even a T-Shirt made with that sequence on it. Unfortunately, the figure isn’t one of the strongest we’ve seen. It’s a nice effort, but the hair piece attached to the knife just looks a little funny. It’s a little too thick and they made the hair white, though it looks black in the comic. He’d probably look better displayed without the hair, but then you lose the knife piece.

The last two packs are available only at Toys ‘R Us stores or on toysrus.com (though they sell out quick there).

Lori and Zombie Mike

Lori & Mike

Completing the Rick, Shane, Lori love triangle, Lori Grimes comes with a shotgun and perhaps the ugliest button-down shirt in minimate history. Brown and red checkers, yech. It must have looked better in black-and-white. I actually liked this figure more once I got it in hand. Something about her hair doesn’t look right in pictures, I think it comes off as mullet-looking, but in hand it doesn’t seem as bad.

Zombie Mike is one of Michonne’s zombie companions. Mike and Terry were her boyfriend and his best-friend. I don’t know which is which and I don’t think it matters. This fella is nice-looking with his missing arms, missing jaw, and a nice chain collar accessory. He comes with some shoulder meat that hangs kind of loose and could be really easy to lose, so be careful. As with Sailor, he comes with extra arms, which is nice.

Morgan and Zombie Terry

Morgan & Terry

Morgan appeared early on in the comic days, but this version is the haggard Morgan that Rick finds some 40 or so issues later. He comes with a shovel so he can smack Rick in the head as well as a shotgun (the same one we’ve seen come with Lori and others in this series). He’s a nice figure to have even though right now he doesn’t quite fit in with the others as he’s really the first post-prison figure we’ve gotten.

Zombie Terry is Mike’s counterpart and pretty similar outside of the brown pants. Not great on his own, but he looks good when matched up with Mike and Michonne.

Michonne & pets

I’ve made it clear in previous posts that I love this toy line. Wave 2, while not perfect, is really great in that it gives us an expansion of the zombie horde as well as some essential characters. The detail put onto these small block figures is superior to a lot of stuff you might find in larger scale. I hope that the series continues to expand and the line lasts for a long time.

Scroll down for some more pictures. Read previous WD minimate reviews: Wave 1, TRU Exclusives, Amazon Exclusive, and SDCC Exclusive.

Amy bittenDeath of Amy

TWD Survivors

The Walking Dead minimates are coming on pretty strong now. Wave 2 is out soon and will give us Michonne, Lori, Andrea, Amy, and Morgan. A surprise set also just came out and is exclusive to Amazon.com.

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The set contains Rick in his prison jumpsuit (sporting the bruises he got from his scuffle with Tyreese), a grimacing Michonne (her gritted teeth are the only difference from the Michonne we’re getting in series 2), and two fairly non-descript zombies (the box labels them “Zombie Roamer” and “Zombie Lurker”).

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I like this Rick figure. The details on his beat-up face are really nicely done. I’m excited to get the characters representing their prison days. Andrea will be in her prison suit as well, and there have been hints that wave 3 will be prison-heavy.

Michonne, I like less. I love her character. I just hate this outfit. I know she appeared in these colors on one of the comic covers, but I just don’t picture her in such bright colors with two different color socks. I’m looking forward to getting her in more low-key attire. Other small complaints are that her hair sits pretty high on her head, making her a bit taller than everyone else. Future versions may be improved if her bandana is part of her head rather than her hair piece. Her sword is unimpressive as well. The sword is almost a character in itself. I would have liked it to be a little longer with more detail, or at least a painted handle.

As for other accessories, the set contains a pistol and a shotgun. Both of which we’ve seen before. More awesome are the four clear bases, which are solid and really of higher quality than bases that have been included in other minimate sets.

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The zombies in this set are pretty generic, but the details are nicely done. They do a good job of expanding the zombie horde. I like sweater vest a little bit better, but only because I think I pinpointed the comic zombie he’s based on. (You can find him as one of the zombies attracted by Allen’s gunshots in the gated community). These guys won’t win any fan-favorite competitions, but cool-looking zombie minimates are always welcome.

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This set is only available at Amazon.com and sells for $20 bucks. Since the regular two-packs
go for $7.50 to $8, four figures at $5 each is a pretty good deal. If you haven’t been hooked onto the series already, this might be a good way to get started. You get two zombies and two of the series’ heavy hitters.

A little while ago, I reviewed the first series of Walking Dead Minimates. The series is completed by a pair of Toys R’ Us exclusive sets containing: Shane & Punk Zombie and Glenn & Nerd Zombie.

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Glenn and Nerd Zombie may be favorite set so far. Glenn looks great and comes with a backpack that nicely contains a pair of bolt cutters and a flashlight. He also has a gun and holster that’s slightly different than those we’ve seen with Rick and Dale. Allegedly, all of the zombie figures are based off zombies that have actually appeared in the comic book. However, Nerd Zombie is the first one that I immediately recognized. He appeared fairly early on in the comic as Rick and Shane stumbled upon him chowing down on a deer. He even produced a counterpart on the TV Show. His figure looks awesome and even comes with a small piece of deer meat for him to chew on.

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Shane and Punk Zombie are pretty cool too, though I found their set to be the less impressive of the bunch. Shane comes with a jacket that matches Rick’s, with alternate short-sleeved arms for when the weather is warmer. He also has a pistol with holster and a shotgun, both of which we’ve seen before. He has a good-looking police hat, though an alternate piece of hair would have been nice. The look of his face kind of bugs me though. The way his facial lines and scruffiness are portrayed makes him look like he’s got a bit of a fu-manchu mustache. I wish they would have omitted those strong lines or had his five o’clock shadow go all the way under his nose….er, mid-face area. Punk Zombie is sufficiently gruesome with half of his face hanging off. He’s a nice looking figure, but for such a eye-catching zombie, I don’t know where he showed up in the books. Looks like I’m going to have to give them another read-through!

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I really dig these Walking Dead figures and it’s great to have Glenn and Shane join Rick and Dale with a healthy group of zombies nipping at their heels. If you can only get one of these two sets, I’d go with Glenn and Nerd, but they’re all winners.

These are Toys ‘R Us exclusives so they can only be found in stores or at toysrus.com. They sell for eight bucks, however these guys have been notoriously hard to find up until this point. I managed to get them off of the website at just the right time as they appear to no longer be in stock there. Collectors seem to be having trouble finding in stores with any consistency too. If you really want to pick these guys up, you’re best bets (outside of overpaying on ebay) would be to talk to your local TRU employees or head over to the forums at minimatescentral.com to find another collector to help you out.

What a great time of year October is! Beautiful Fall weather, pumpkin carving, Halloween festivities, Season 3 of The Walking Dead, and finally the release of The Walking Dead Minimates!

These guys are all comic based, so if you’re looking for a Darryl Dixon or T-Dog figure you’re out of luck. Standard minimates typically come in series of two-packs and The Walking Dead is no exception. Series 1 includes:

Rick Grimes and One-Armed Zombie

Burned Zombie and Guts Zombie

Dale and Female Zombie (alternate Variant Winter Coat Dale)

I’ve mentioned in previous reviews that I love minimates. They’re super fun and endlessly interchangeable. They also tend to come with a bunch of accessories to give you even more options. Rick, in particular, comes stacked. He’s got his Sheriff’s hat and a separate hairpiece, alternate arms so he can go jacketless, gun bag with two large guns, and a holster that holds his pistol and his trusty axe. The others don’t come quite as equipped, but both Dales have small guns that fit into their holsters and the zombies with hacked limbs have alternates in case you want them fully armed.

These figures also have a tremendous amount of detail for such small figures. The faces are all solid and look good and there’s plenty of cute gore on the zombies.

I’m not a big fan of variants and was not really looking forward to “Winter Coat” Dale, but I gotta say that the little guy grew on me as soon as I took him out of the package. I actually prefer his grimace to regular Dale’s sad sack look.

Overall, these figures lived up to expectations and I can’t wait to further fill in the roster. Two Toys R’ Us exclusives should be available soon and include Shane and Glenn with zombies of their own. Wave 2 will feature figures of Lori, Michonne, and Andrea (and her doomed sister, Amy as the variant). You can pick these up in local comic shops, Toys R’ Us, online at Amazon or Big Bad Toy Store, but I’d recommend Luke’s Toy Store, a small online store run by a guy who specializes in Minimates and will always ship your items with care.

As always the best thing about minimates is the vast array of other figures you can mix and match them with. So, in case you were wondering what it would look like if Rick enlisted the assistance of Mike Haggar (the shirtless mayor of Metro City), Lion-O, and the Expendables (with Sly Stallone flying the Green Goblin’s Glider) then all you need to do is keep scrolling down!

Related reviews:  SDCC Exclusive: Battle-Damaged Rick, Maximum Zombies, McFarlane WD Figures

Aaahhh!! Zombies!!!

TV Show Dale!

My Zombie Fighting Dream Team

Special Bonus: The Mayor of Metro City!

Walking Dead Minimates

The Walking Dead is blowing up big time. And with fame and fortune come action figures. McFarlane offered up some pretty flawed figures (see my review of two of them here), but much more exciting are Diamond Select Toys upcoming minimate line.

Minimates are tiny block figures, but expertly detailed and completely interchangeable. They’ve been around for 10 years and have covered a number of licenses, so there are lots of options out there if you want to match Rick Grimes up against other pop culture icons.

The first wave of figures are due to come out in September and feature Rick, Dale, Shane, Glenn, and a bunch of zombies. But before they hit stores a special San Diego Comic Con exclusive set is out right now.

The set features a Battle-Damaged Rick coupled with a casually dressed “Vacation” Zombie.

If you’re familiar with Minimates you already have an idea of what you’re getting as they all share a basic body frame. If you don’t care for Minimates or block figures in general you won’t like this set, but if you do this is a pretty fantastic buy.

Both figures are well designed. Rick looks appropriately pissed considering he’s just lost a hand and he’s going a bit nuts at this point in the comic. The figure captures his look perfectly. He’s got a inconvenient right-handed holster consistent with the comic.

I don’t think that the zombie is pulled directly from the comic, but I can’t say for sure considering that individual zombies don’t get a lot of coverage in the book. Regardless he’s a nice undead figure. He’s got a good bit of damage to his body and portions of the figure are done in a clear plastic, indicating where he’s got some missing pieces. He’s designed to be missing an arm, but also comes with the arm so you’ve got the option in how you want him displayed.

It’s not a disability, it’s an opportunity!

Overall, this is a great set that’s got me really excited for the full line-up. It is a SDCC exclusive, but it’s pretty readily available for about 9 bucks. Two reliable sites where you can pick it up are lukestoystore.com or bigbadtoystore.com

A promising break dancing career cut tragically short.

Rick’s unfortunate run-in with the Governor. (It’s a Schwarzenegger Minimate!….eh?eh?)

***Maximum Zombie Minimates are also still available out there and make a nice companion piece to begin to build an adorable zombie horde***

Marvel Select: Zombie Spider-Man

With zombie power comes zombie responsibility.

A few years back, Marvel came out with a series of comics called Marvel Zombies. There have since been a number of series that have gone in some strange directions, but it began with zombified versions of Marvel’s biggest heroes. And the biggest Marvel hero there is, is Spider-Man.

Diamond Select Toys came out with action figures based on the comics as part of their Marvel Select line. In addition to Spider-Man, there were also figures of a zombified Hulk and Captain America.

The sculpting and paint on Spidey is pretty nice. The lines and color of his costume are well done, as are the gory parts of his zombieness. What I find lacking is his articulation. It’s fairly standard with neck, shoulder, elbow, waist, knee, and ankle joints. He can move around some, but not enough for Spider-Man. You can’t really get him into any dynamic Spidey poses. This is an issue for me with most Spider-Man figures though, and I suppose you could argue that Spider-Man’s not so flexible since becoming a zombie.

You don’t get much in terms of accessories here. Spidey’s got a removable leg, so I guess that counts. It’s nice in that Spider-Man does lose his leg in the comic, though I keep it on him as it’s hard to pose him much on one leg. He also comes with a base that has a dead Silver Surfer torso sculpted into it. This is also consistent with the comic and Hulk and Captain America’s bases have the Surfer’s other parts on them.

While overall, he’s a nice figure I just find him to be sort of unremarkable. I can’t quite put my finger on it, he just doesn’t excite me very much. He’s also a few years old now, so if you want to get your hands on him it going to cost you in the range of 60-70 bucks, which is really way too high and not something that I would recommend paying.

Zombieism hit Mary Jane especially hard.