Wednesday, December 31, 2008

DC Universe Classics - 2008 Year in Review

Before i finish off my review of the DC Universe Classics wave 5 set, lets take the time to review all the DCUC action figures Mattel brought to us over the past year.


Early 2008, Mattel released the first wave of the DC Universe Classics action figure toy line. The line-up of this first set was not too impressive in my opinion. Mattel had just finished of their DC Superheroes toy line in 2007 which consisted of mostly Batman and Superman characters. So who do we get in the first wave, Batman and Penguin. They are actually both really good looking toys but some may have been looking for more characters outside the Batman world. The rest of the set consisted of mostly B list characters. Etrigan, Orion, Rex Mason and Red Tornado.


Wave 2 came along in the 2nd quarter of 2008 with a much better cast. The best of this set were probably Aquaman and Firestorm. It must be hard to stay away from Batman and Superman related characters as this set also included Harley Quinn and both Blue and Red Superman figures. Black Manta rounded out the 2nd wave.

Gorilla Grodd was the Collect and Connect figure for wave 2.


Wave 3 was headlined by Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and Sinestro. Both were good toys, but they were far from the best figures of this set.

The best figure of DCUC wave 3 had to be Deathstoke by far. A cool sculpt with a lot of accessories makes a bad ass action figure.

The Collect and Connect figures seem to be getting bigger and bigger and for wave 3 we got a very tall Solomon Grundy toy.



We were give a few other Teen Titan characters, Robin, Nightwing from wave 3 and then Cyborg from wave 4.



The headline figure of wave 4 was Wonder Woman. An improved female sculpt by the 4HM but the joints still seem to stand out on this model.


The best figure of wave 4 was without a doubt, Ares. Great sculpt with a lot of detail and design work and 2 cool weapons to boot. Rounding out wave 4 was Batman Beyond, Captain Atom and the Collect and Connect figure, Despero.

Mattel also re-introduced the 2 packs concept, re-releasing some of the hard to find DC Superheroes action figures while adding a couple new 2 pack exclusive characters.

Finally the last set of 2008 came around the end of November and turned out to be a Walmart exclusive set. The Riddler was the only Batman related character from this set.

The Atom, Black Lightning, Eradicator and Amazo rounded out wave 5 with a Collect and Connect figure Metallo who is just as tall as Wave 3's Solomon Grundy.


Most of these figures can easily be found on eBay but they will vary in price depending on the character and/or variant.
To find Mattel's DC Universe Classics action figures on eBay, click here.

Thats it for 2008. Mattel has already announced the next 3 sets and a new round of 2 packs so be sure to come back to Action Toy Review for more news, info and reviews. Happy New Year!

Friday, November 21, 2008

DC Universe Classics - 2 Pack preview

I'm not sure why Mattel has decided to go exclusively with certain stores on some of their products. First the DC Universe Classics wave 5 becomes a Walmart exclusive and then they announce that their DCUC 2 packs will be Toys R Us exclusive. This just makes it even harder to find these action figures.

Anyway, according to Mattycollector.com, these two packs are now available so go check out your local Toys R Us stores. I have yet to see a trace of them myself but I'll be keeping an eye out for them up here in the Great White North. I have a feeling that I'll have to resort to eBay for these as well.


Lets take a look at these new packs in no particular order. (all pictures are from the Mattycollector website) :

The first pack is the Batman figure pack which includes a couple of re-released figures from the DC Superheroes line, Batgirl and Azrael.

Back in 2006, this Batgirl action figure was only available via the Batman/Batgirl two pack. From what I've read, there is no difference between the original figure and this new one. Azrael was part of the DC Superheroes series 3 set and was and still is one of the hardest figures to find from this toy line. I for one am glad to see the Azrael re-release as it gives collectors a 2nd chance at getting this figure at a reasonable cost.

The next set is the Super Enemies Figure pack and also consists of re-released action figures of the DC Superheroes toy line.


First we have Cyborg Superman from DCSH series 6 which is probably the #1 most wanted toy from this series. There were so few Cyborg Supes available during it original release that it was next to impossible for people to find this action figure. eBay prices for this action figure go for between $50-$100 so hopefully with the release of this two pack, collectors can get this figure at retail cost. The second figure is also from DCSH series 6, Mongul. This figure did not have the same distribution issues as Cyborg Superman and the current asking price on eBay for this figure alone is in the $10-$15 range.

The third set is the New Gods Figure Pack and includes a brand new character that we have not seen before in this toy line.

The first figure is a variant of Orion from the DC Universe Classics series 1 set. The difference between this figure and the series 1 version is that Orion's helmet is removable. The other difference is that you do not get the Collect and Connect piece of Rex Mason in this 2 pack. The new figure is Lightray. He appears to have the same body sculpt as Orion with a new different head and paint job.

The final Toys R Us exclusive pack is the Green Lantern figure pack which again includes a variant of a previous released figure and a new character.

First, we have a variant of Hal Jordon from DCUC series 3. This sculpt is exactly the same as the previous version but the uniform is painted slightly different. There is no green on his shoulders on this new version and you do not get the Collect & Connect piece of Solomon Grundy. The second figure is Abin Sur and appears to be the exact same body sculpt as Hal with a new head sculpt. Included in the pack appears to be only one Lantern, which is of course, green.
Mattycollector.com is also releasing a separate two pack with all new characters and can only be ordered online from their store for $25.00 plus shipping.

This Mattycollector.com exclusive is called the Space Heroes 2 pack and consists of Adam Strange and Starfire. Unfortunately this pack will not be available until sometime in December. A hard date has not be set yet. I believe that Mattel has also promised to release an online exclusive 2 pack once a month in 2009 but don't quote me on that.
Some might also be interested in the DC Universe Classics stands available. For $12 you can get a pack of 25 of these stands if you feel you need them. I for one find that my DCUC figures stand well enough on their own so, to me, they're not all that necessary. Depending on how you display your figures, they may prove to be useful. One negative in my opinion though is that they are blue. Why not make them colorless???

I'll definitely be getting the packs with Cyborg Superman and Azrael since they are missing from my collection. I'll see what I can get my hands on and of course post a review.
Thanks for checking out Action Toy Review currently featuring action figures from Mattel's DC Universe Classics and DC Superheroes toy lines. Be sure to check back for more news, reviews and information.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

DC Universe Classics - Series 8 Announcement

So far, Mattel has released 4 sets of their DC Universe Classics action figures. We know which characters are coming out for series 5-7 in the next few months. If you don't, here's a DCUC checklist for you. Well now there is more good news for DCUC collectors out there. Mattel has just announced which characters will be in their wave 8 set which is suppose to hit stores in the Spring of 2009. There are 7 figures to this set, two of which have variants and of course they all come with a "Collect and Connect" piece. Here's a look at the DCUC series 8 line up. All of the following pictures are from Mattycollector.com:

Hawkgirl



Gentleman Ghost



Mr. Terrific

Commander Steel

Vigilante

Parademon (Red & Yellow Variants)

Dr. Fate (Modern & Classic Variants)

And your collect and connect figure is.......Standing at 10 inches tall....GIGANTA

A pretty cool set if you ask me. Can't wait.

In other news

My DC Universe Classics series 4 set has finally arrived at my doorstep. With series 2 and 3, I did one massive post for each set. We'll, for series 4, I've decided that Im going to focus on one figure per post. I haven't cracked them open yet but I have to say that Ares looks like he's gonna be the best of the lot. Wonder Woman does not look too bad either. Look for the first review in a day or two.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

DC Superheroes - Lex Luthor

Continuing with the Mattel DC Superheroes and DC Universe Classics theme, today we'll check out the action figure of who is arguably the #1 villain in the DC comic book world, Lex Luthor. (Fans of The Joker may argue that.)

This action figure was originally released in Series 4 of the DC Superheroes toy line back in 2006. Obviously this is Lex Luthor in his battle suit and it borrows heavily from the Mr. Freeze toy that Mattel has re-released a few times. The legs and biceps are virtually the same parts as Freeze. The gloves appear to be a similar mold but have a slightly different design.

Beyond that, there are some new parts to give it its own individuality. The head sculpt is spot on Lex Luthor with an arrogant smirk on his face. His green armor piece around his shoulders is bulky and has some matching detail similar to the detail around the legs and arms. The skirt around his waist is made of a softer plastic and has its own unique design. Finally his belt is very well detailed as well.



Lex's paint job is really good. His face is free of smudges and the eye, eyebrows are painted on perfectly. The spot with the most imperfections is probably around the skirt which as a few purple paint spots over the lines, but its very, very minor.

Luthor comes with slick looking ray gun and a piece of kryptonite to keep Superman off his back. The kryptonite can either fit in Lex's hands or in the slot at the top of the gun. Like the figure itself, the gun has a cool design with a fair amount of detail. Lex also comes with a Supergirl reprint comic book. Series 4 of the DCSH toy line was the last to include comic book reprints.

Lex's articulation is really good but unfortunately some joints have limited movement due to the toy's design. Lex has joints in his neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, forearms, a swivel upper abdominal, waist, thighs, knees, calves and ankles. Since the shoulder piece is so big and bulky, it obstructs the shoulder joints from their full potential movement so the arms cannot be raised straight about his head. Also, the skirt around Lex's waist is tightly wrapped around the hips and this completely reduces his hip movement in all directions. This probably could have been avoided if new parts were made for the hips and the skirt was included in the part instead of being a separate piece.

Overall, this is a great looking figure of Lex Luthor but some may be ticked about the limitations in the hips and shoulder joints caused by the design. My opinion is that he fits in great regardless with Superman and the other figures from Mattel's DC Superheroes and DC Universe Classics toy line. I like having a Lex Luthor that is capable of battling it out with Supes. I do however would not mind seeing Mattel produce a new Luthor action figure with completely new parts and without the battle suit down the road. Such a high profile character deserves it.

Sculpt/Design - 7, Paint - 9, Accessories - 7, Articulation - 9, Fun - 8
Lex Luthor Overall Score 8/10

This is a discontinued toy but still can be found online. eBay is your best bet to find a deal. Prices really vary from $12-$45 plus shipping. To find Mattel's DC Superheroes Lex Luthor on eBay, click here.
Be sure to check back for more action figure reviews on Mattel's DC Superheroes and DC Universe Classics. If you're looking for info on a specific figure, look at the blog archive list or the Labels list on the right hand side of your screen.
If you have any suggestions, review requests, constructive criticism or wish to contribute in some way, please feel free to leave me a comment.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

DC Superheroes - Darkseid

Since I've gone through a good chunk of the Batman related action figures from the DC Superheroes toy line, I figured that I should start on some more of the Superman portion of the series. So today, well go over Mattel's DC Superheroes Darkseid from series 6 which is a repaint variant or the series 4 Darkseid figure and was released back in 2006.




This sculpt of Darkseid was originally released in DC Superheroes Series 4. The only difference is that Darkseid's uniform in series 4 was a light blue and his belt was silver, a very classic look. But for me, I preferred the darker look of the series 6 toy.





Its a great looking figure. His face and body looks great with a rock like texture for his skin. His uniform is basically a one piece suit starting from his head all the way down to his skirt.


He's bigger than most of the other DC Superheroes line up standing about 7 1/4 inches tall. He ranks up there as one of the taller figures in the DCSH & DCUC toy lines. As you see below, I've placed him next to some of the other larger figures, Gorilla Grodd & Clayface. His body is also very thick all around dwarfing DCSH Superman. Kind of reminds me of a powerlifter.



The paint job is nothing fancy but done well. He is for the most part 4 colours. His, red eyes, the metallic blue on his belt, the dark gray/blue outfit and his rock colored body. There isn't any shading or highlighting so to speak which is a shame as I think that would bring out the great detail in rocky skin. But, the paint job is very clean, the with no slop or runs.

Darkseid comes with one small handheld computer which i suspect is a motherboard. It has some nice detail for such a small trinket. It doesn't fit very securely in his hand though. Your best bet is to keep the clear mini elastic band that comes with it and leave it attached to his hand so you don't loose it. The DCSH series 4 version of Darkseid comes with a reprint Superman comic book. This series 6 version comes with a cardboard diorama.

Darkseid's articulation is pretty good but he does not have as many points as most other DC Superheroes figures. Starting from the top, you've got neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, forearms, waist, hips, knees and ankles. If you bother to look up Darkseid's skirt (that sounds so wrong), it appears Mattel has used ball joints for his hip joints instead of their usual four way joints (not sure what else to call them) that you see with most of their other DC action figures. Ball hip joints have more flexability but are a uglier in my opinion. That being said, Darkseid's hip joints are covered by his skirt and unfortunately the skirt also minimizes the hip joint movement. You can barely get any lateral movement at all. Its a bit of a design flaw but hard to get around without hurting the sculpt of the figure.

Overall, its a great looking figure with minor flaws. A Superman collector needs a good Darkseid and this figure does not disappoint. The figure's size makes him fit in with either DC Direct or Mattel toys quite nicely. Weather you prefer the costume from series 4 or series 6, DC Superheroes Darkseid is a worthy purchase.

Sculpt/Design - 8.5, Paint - 8, Accessories - 6, Articulation - 8, Fun - 8
Darkseid Overall - 8/10
Since he was originally released in 2006, Darkseid is obviously a discontinued toy at this point in 2008. A quick search on eBay revealed a wide variety of price ranges from $15 to $65 dollars (plus shipping) for either the DCSH series 4 or series 6 versions. There are the odd online stores as well that will carry him. Its just a matter of doing your homework if you are a collector and want this figure.
To find DC Superheroes Darkseid by Mattel on eBay click here
Thanks for checking out my action figure review blog which is currently featuring Mattel's DC Superheroes and DC Universe Classics toys. Check back for more news, reviews and info. The latest release from the DC Universe Classics line, series 4 will be review shortly.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

DC Universe Classics - Batman

Continuing with my DC comics action figure theme, today I'm going to focus on the DC Universe Classics Batman series 1 (aka Classic Detective Batman) and comparing some differences between it and previous Mattel Batman figures

For years, Mattel has been producing a variety of Batman action figures. Recently they've been licensed to make action figures of all sorts of characters from the DC Comic world. So with the first series of DCUC that was released in early 2008, who do we get, another Batman of course. Why? Probably because he sells.






So whats the difference between this Batman and the previous two Batman figures that were released in the DCSH toy line. Well quite a bit actually. It's not just a re-paint of previous sculpts. For starters, the outfit is different. Mattel has gone with the classic batman look, similar to that of the old 70's Superfriends TV show. Its a little more campy and not quite as dark or rough looking as the DCSH Batman toys.
The cowl is blue with black over the face. The bat symbol on his chest is also different. On the DCSH figures, the outline of the bat symbol is carved into the sculpt and painted black. On the DCUC Batman, it is just painted on his chest. There are also a number little sculpt differences. It looks to use mostly different pieces. The DCUC Batman has a modified chest piece with more rounded pecs. The legs are also different. In the DCSH toys, Batman's right leg seems to be positioned differently making it look like he is slightly leaning on his left leg. In the DCUC version, both legs are straight and he has a straighter stance. The belt and cape are also different. The belt has been shrunk down and no longer has pockets. The cape is a little different around the shoulders and not quite as long as the previous figures. The cape is still a little heavy and can weigh back the figure at times. One big plus over the older toys, his hands are open and can now hold accessories.

The quality of the paint job is good, but not great. The main different between this figure and the DCSH series 3 batman is, there is no highlighting or shading on the cape, cowl, gloves or boots on the DCUC Batman. This figure is painted with a brighter blue and its a nice change. There are spots where they go over the lines so to speak. The black around his cowl is not perfectly oval and there are various places where the blue seems to run a bit over the grey or flesh colors specifically around the edges of the boots, gloves and mask. I may be nit picking a bit but that's the purpose of the review. The belt is basically one shade of yellow with a dark red outlining the belt buckle that looks like it could use another coat. The bat symbol on his chest is perfectly painted.
Aside from the "Collect and Connect" arm piece of Rex Mason that comes with Batman, he also comes with two hand held accessories. A bat grapple gun and one bat-a-rang. The gun is well detailed with a removable hook which is attached to a 4 inch string. The gun seems a little bulky if you think about it. Its suppose to fit on Batman's belt which is quite small. The bat-a-rang is nothing special. Just a black piece of plastic with a different shape from previous bat-a-rangs that came with the older Batman figures. Both accessories fit very nicely into Batman's hand
Articulation is as good as it's going to get with these Mattel figures. DCUC Batman has mostly the same articulation as the previous DCSH Batman figures. Neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, abdominal, waist, hips, thighs, knees and ankles. Very standard for these toys. Classic Detective Batman fits in nicely with other DC Universe Classic toys as you can see below. He also looks great with DC Superheroes figures as well.

Overall, Classic Detective Batman does not disappoint. At first, I was not thrilled about Mattel releasing another Batman figure so soon after the DCSH black and grey Batman variant which i love. But when I finally got around to buying him, he grew on me. The weakest part is the paint job. Its just a bit messy around the lines in some areas. Accessories are good and articulation is what we've come to expect with this series.
Sculpt/Design - 8.5, Paint - 7, Accessories - 8.5, Articulation - 9, Fun -9.5

Classic Detective Batman Overall Score - 8.5/10

This Batman figure is of course from series 1 of the DC Universe Classics toy line. Also included in series 1 are The Penguin, Red Tornado, The Demon Etrigan, Orion and of course the Connect & Connect figure Rex Mason (Metamorpho).
DCUC Batman is still fairly common and not overly expensive compared to some others. He can be found at many online story and eBay for 10-15 bucks. Just watch out for shipping costs.
To find Classic Detective Batman on eBay, click here and on Amazon.com, click here
Thanks for checking out my action figure review blog currently featuring Mattel's DC Universe Classics and DC Superheroes toys.
Be sure to check back for more reviews, news and info. DCUC series 4 will be reviewed shortly and I'll also start gearing towards some of the Superman characters from the DCSH line.

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