Play Arts Kai Bayonetta – Review

From the popular video game Bayonetta (available for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360), comes the titular character Bayonetta in Play Arts Kai form.  The sexy witch with a penchant for style and flair is here to battle it out on the tabletop (and look stylish while doing so).  There aren’t many figures of Bayonetta that aren’t statues, so it’s good to see her get the “action figure” treatment.

First Impressions:

The first thing you may notice about the figure is that she’s quite tall, even for a Play Arts Kai (or PAK for short) figure.  The fact that the game character has those looooong legs makes it all the more apparent here.  It can be difficult for some manufacturers to do glasses right, but I think they got it right here.  The tiny lenses aren’t much to work with, but you can see her eyes clearly through them.  They say that “black is slimming” and with Bayonetta’s mostly all black theme, it creates an even more slender shape (apart from the “wings” that drape down from her upper arms.  Makes her look like some sort of sexy Batman).  It’s difficult to say how tall she is compared to other PAK figures since they don’t really scale well with each other, even between figures from the same series.

Sexy and Sassy!
Sexy and Sassy!

Accessories:

Bayonetta doesn’t come with a lot of accessories here, given the amount of weapons that become available in the game.  She does come with her standard issue guns Scarborough Fair – so called since they are named Parsley (ever joyous), Sage (ever strong), Rosemary (ever reminiscent), and Thyme (ever courageous) – much like the old ballad says.  Also included are 2 sets of hands – left and right open/flat hands and left and right hands for holding 2 of her pistols (the other 2 (Rosemary and Thyme) can slot in behind the heels of her shoes).  Any of the pistols can be held in her hands, but only the smaller ones can slot in behind her shoes.  A bit disappointing that she doesn’t come with a stand given the amount of action that she gets into in the game.  It would be good to re-create some of her more dynamic poses and a stand would really help in that regard.  An extra face or two would have been nice also.

Bayonetta's Gear
Bayonetta’s Gear

Articulation:

Her head is connected with a ball joint which offers a pretty good range of motion.  Since she wears her hair up, it doesn’t get in the way of movement.  She can’t tilt her back too far but that’s due to the sculpt and not because of hair getting in the way.  Her arms don’t lift up at the shoulders very far but the swivel allows them to rotate all the way around.  She has a swivel in each bicep and the joint in the elbows allows for a decent arm curl – she can touch her nose or pull off a “glasses push” pose with the help of the joints at the wrists.  Ball joints in the chest and hips allow for some movement.  They have a good turning/twisting motion, but not so much in the tilting department.

"Glasses push", Bayonetta style
“Glasses push”, Bayonetta style
Ready for action!
Ready for action!

The legs are connected at the hips with ball joints which give a pretty good range of motion, and there is a double swivel in the ankles.  The knees, however, feature a type of double joint that allows for decent movement at the cost of looking kind of silly in its execution.  It’s often referred to as “peanut knees” due to the shape of the joint and is unfortunately a mainstay of the PAK line.  I’m only aware of one PAK figure that has “peanut elbows” as well (looking at you, Edward Elrich) but there may be others.  It is often this “peanut knee” feature that turns some people off the PAK line entirely.  For me though, I can look past it if it’s a character I really like or if the character has a robotic/cybernetic style which would make the “peanut knees” not as noticeable.  How visible the joint is also depends on your posing.

Stylishly dangerous
Stylishly dangerous

It’s also worth mentioning that the “wings” are also poseable.  They are connected to the upper arms with a double swivel, but they also have a bendy under wire running through the length of each wing and across the base as well.  This allows you to curl the wings a bit if you need to when you re-create some of her more dynamic poses.

The heel guns aren't just for show
The heel guns aren’t just for show

Conclusion:

If you’re looking for a good action figure of Bayonetta, then Play Arts Kai’s offering is a good place to start.  It might even be the only action figure option out there, apart from custom builds or dolls.  There are plenty of statues but they are nowhere near as much fun as being able to pose Bayonetta in lots of different ways.  The lack of accessories and a stand is a bit of a downer though.  She’s still lots of fun and is definitely worth considering picking up if you’re a fan of the game (or games, since Bayonetta 2 is available for Wii U), or if you don’t mind having a sexy witch with a penchant for style and flair amongst your toy collection.

Bayonetta by Play Arts Kai can be found at the link below along with other figures in the Play Arts Kai range.

Fighting angels is hard work
Fighting angels is hard work
Sam Gideon (from the PlayStation 3 game Vanquish) providing back-up
Sam Gideon (from the PlayStation 3 game Vanquish) providing back-up
What do you mean you only have one gun?
What do you mean you only have one gun?
375mL Drink Can for Scale
375mL Drink Can for Scale

Mafex Batman (The Dark Knight Trilogy Version) – Review

This time around we have Batman (ver 2.0) by Mafex as he appears in the Dark Knight Trilogy.  The batsuit itself didn’t get a whole bunch of variations over the course of the movies, which makes things easier from a collecting point of view.  There’s no need to complete a set of varying designs.  This particular suit is reminiscent of the suit that appears in Tim Burton’s Batman movies in that it sports an all black motif, but now it has some modern design cues.

First Impressions:

On the subject of the all black theme, it’s possible for this suit to be largely monochromatic while still able to show off its lines and fine details.  The skin tight suit from previous outings has been replaced with something more tactical and armoured.  There are splashes of carbon fibre distributed throughout the figure and it’s good to see a cloth cape being introduced in the mix.  The gold coloured utility belt and the open portions of the cowl are the only other coloured areas present.

The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight

Accessories:

The package includes left and right closed fists, left and right open hands and a right hand for holding guns and similar weapons.  He comes with 3 different heads – neutral, “serious” and without cowl.  Also included is his grapple launcher gun and an EMP gun.  It’s funny that Batman has a “no firearms” policy when all his vehicles are fully armed with guns and missiles.  The head without the cowl has a pretty good likeness to Bruce Wayne (in this case, played by Christian Bale) given its size, although the paint apps around the eyes may vary.

Batman's Gear
Batman’s Gear

Articulation:

Starting from the top, the head is connected with a ball joint as well as the lower neck which give the head a good range of tilting and turning movement. The arms connect to the torso with ball joints but have a swivel in the shoulders. The double joints in the elbows allow for almost a full bicep curl and the hands have a double swivel.

Ball joints in the chest, waist and hips offer a pretty good range of movement.  There’s a double joint in the knees and a double swivel in the ankles, and there’s also a joint in the toes that offer a slight pivot.

All these combine to allow the Dark Knight to pull off some dynamic posing.  Also worth mentioning are the strands of wire that run the length of the cape.  Having those wires means that you can also pose the cape in various ways too.  A bit disappointing that there’s no stand included, but with a bit of imagination (and patience) you can pull of some nice poses.

Combat Stance
Combat Stance
Ready for a quick exit
Ready for a quick exit
Bat-punch!
Bat-punch!
Bat-kick!
Bat-kick!
EMP stand by
EMP stand by
EMP Ready
EMP Ready
I am the Night
I am the Night

Conclusion:

Mafex’s Batman (ver 2.0) will make a worthy addition to any collection.  I love how the cape has those wires in it.  It’s something that a lot of caped figures should be having these days.  Batman features a nice, clean sculpt and poses very well.  The accessories included add a lot more playability to what is already a solid figure.  (It would be great to see if Mafex will come out with a Bane figure as seen in The Dark Knight Rises)

Mafex Batman can be found at the link below along with other figures in the Mafex range.

Batman Unmasked
Batman Unmasked
375mL Drink Can for Scale
375mL Drink Can for Scale
Why so Serious?
Why so Serious?

If you can, it’s also worth it if you could pick up the Batpod as well. 😀

The Joker doesn't always appreciate Batman's wonderful toys...
The Joker doesn’t always appreciate Batman’s wonderful toys…

Transformers Generations Springer – Review

This time around, it’s time for a Transformers review!  Transformers have been a large part of my childhood and it’s great to see updated versions of classic characters through the Generations line.  The earlier versions (First Generation or G1), although pretty cool in their own right, often had limited articulation and were not very accurate to their on-screen portrayals (when you’re a kid, a little imagination goes a long way :D).  Nowadays, technology allows for more ambitious engineering and designing to get the toys to look closer to their on-screen counterparts.  The Transformers movies by Michael Bay (love them or hate them) created more opportunities to push the boundaries of Transformers designs by incorporating strange, new, alien features into the mix.  Whereas lines like Generations and Universe – even Masterpiece – use new techniques to create a “classic, but updated” feel.  Generations Springer definitely fits that “classic, but updated” style.  Springer was one of the first “Triple Changers” in that he can transform into robot, helicopter and ground vehicle/car mode.  It’ll be interesting to see his various modes with a newer/modern feel.

First Impressions:

Springer is a Voyager Class which means that he’s taller than the average Deluxe Class Transformer.  His colour scheme mostly consists of coloured plastic which is complemented with the odd paint app here and there.  His colours are reminiscent of his G1 days and he also has a few features that carry over from his original appearance.  He has a somewhat lean figure which can allow for some dynamic posing.  If it weren’t for the visible tyres, he could probably pass for some sort of robot action figure.

Transformers Generations Springer
Transformers Generations Springer
Freeze!
Freeze!

Accessories:

Compared to most action figures, Transformers don’t come with a whole lot of accessories.  They often only come with a gun or melee weapon of some sort.  Springer comes with a large double-barrelled missile launcher, and his helicopter blades can convert into a neat sword.  The missile launcher looks pretty cool, but the firing mechanism is not.  Rather than have the usual spring-loaded system, it uses some sort of “ball” that pops out when you push the slider forward on the top of the gun.  It’s pretty lame so don’t expect to hit any far away Decepticons any time soon (unless you want to just throw the missiles at them).  The launcher may be a bit of a dud, but it looks cool and at least I like how the helicopter blades convert into the sword.

Sword Stance
Sword Stance
Standby
Standby

Articulation:

Normally Transformers don’t have all the articulation that you would want due to limitations that can emerge through the transformation process.  Springer on the other hand, feels like an action figure that happens to have 2 other modes to transform into.  His head can turn left and right, as well as look up and down to a good degree, but there is no left or right tilt.  The shoulders move freely and hold their position well.  The elbows have a fairly solid ratchet but can only bend 90˚.  The wrists have a swivel and can bend inwards slightly, but that’s due to the transformation process.  There’s a swivel at the waist which I was not expecting and the hips have a very good range of movement.  He can do the splits in both ways if you want.  The knees have a solid ratchet to them and like the elbows, can only bend 90˚.  The toes can point, but like the wrists, it’s due to the transformation.  The base of the feet are set at an angle so that he can pose with a wide stance and still be stable.

Transformation is fairly straight-forward.  Beginners may have to refer to the instructions, whereas experienced collectors of Transformers will be able to judge what goes where and how.  I’ve lost my instruction sheet but I can still transform Springer with no issues.  It can be a bit confusing though because most things tab into one another while some things don’t.

Heli mode is not as aerodynamic as you might expect, with the end result looking more like some sort of gunship (a bit like G1 Springer really).  It all holds together quite well except for the side assemblies – they don’t seem to tab into the torso anywhere for added stability.  Heli mode reminds me of one of those old-school arcade shoot-em-up games with the top-down view.  I can picture Springer flying over a scrolling landscape laying waste to anything that moves or has the audacity to fire a shot in his general direction.

Heli Mode
Heli Mode
Flight Stand Not Included
Flight Stand Not Included

In car mode, everything seems to click and tab together a bit more securely.  Funnily enough, to me this mode also has an old-school arcade feel but with a road-warrior twist.  Although it seems I can never quite get all the panels to come together properly.  I could be missing something, or it could just be another case of iffy quality control.  I do like how you can store the sword underneath, but it makes a small ground clearance even smaller.

Ground Vehicle/Car Mode
Ground Vehicle/Car Mode
Missile Launcher Attached
Missile Launcher Attached

Conclusion:

Transformers Generations Springer (Voyager Class) is definitely a welcome addition to any toy collection.  He’s lots of fun in all modes, even though attaching the missile launcher to his vehicle modes makes it look kind of ridiculously oversized but hey, it’s an option.  It’s good to see the old Transformers crew get new versions to bring them into the modern age.  I find myself preferring to get them in either the Generations or Universe line as you can get pretty decent figures for a reasonable price.

Springer can be found at the link below along with other Transformers in the Generations range.

Arcee Couldn't Resist a Photo Op
Arcee Couldn’t Resist a Photo Op
Guns at the Ready
Guns at the Ready
375mL Drink Can for Scale
375mL Drink Can for Scale
Bad. Ass.
Bad. Ass.
How am I supposed to defeat Decepticons with this?!
How am I supposed to defeat Decepticons with this?!

Busou Shinki Lirbiete and Vervietta – Review

Coming up next is my review for Busou Shinki figures Lirbiete and Vervietta.  For those not familiar with Busou Shinki, its style is referred to as “mecha musume” or “mechanical girl” in that it combines mechanical designs with cute anime style girls.  Both of these figures are designed after the Vic Viper fighter ship that appears in the Gradius video games.  Since Konami makes both Busou Shinki and Gradius it’s quite fitting really.  It’s often common for Busou Shinki (or Shinki for short) figures to have a “sister” or “partner” set.  Such sets can carry the same theme (Vic Viper Girls), have parts/components that interact between sets (Lancamento and Espadia), or exist as counter-parts for each other (Angel Arnval and Devil Strarf).

Shinkis are available in full armour sets (like the Vic Viper girls), and they also come in “light armour” and EX sets.  Light Armours (like Werkstra) are just small sets that don’t contain a lot of large pieces, but they do come with a base body.  Whereas EX sets (like WaffeBunny) are similar to Light Armours, but they don’t come with a base body.  “Blank” bodies are available and come in different colours and styles.

Again, I will be doing a double-review since both of these figures share a lot in common.

First Impressions:

The Package:

box-front

box-left

box-right

box-back

This time around I have the package on hand.  It seems like a rather large box, but then again it contains a fair amount of stuff.  Shinki boxes this size are typical of a full armour set. The box features artworks of the girls in and out of full armour mode, and also has pictures of the various modes available (fighter, robot, full amour, etc).  A preview window is available so you can see the girl in the package along with some of the interchangeable pieces that come with the set.

The Girls:

Both girls have slender figures (typical among Shinkis and some other toys made through Konami) and appear to be quite poseable.  It’s clear when you put the two together that they’re meant to be sisters or partners or some sort.   Both feature animal style “ears” on top of their heads and each has its own distinct hair style (often necessary since anime characters often suffer from “sameface syndrome” :P).

The Fighters:

Fighter Mode
Fighter Mode
Fighter Mode
Fighter Mode

Once assembled, the fighters make quite an impressive pair.  Both ships have the split, two-pronged front end that makes the Vic Viper instantly recognisable.  Like the girls, the fighters share design cues and it’s apparent that they complement each other in some way. Lirbiete’s ship carries missile pods and a large sword, while Vervietta’s ship carries gun pods and a large laser rifle.  Each girl’s colour scheme carries over to each ship so it’s easy to see which ship belongs to whom.  They both have a “similar but different” feel about them.

Accessories:

Lirbiete's Gear
Lirbiete’s Gear
Vervietta's Gear
Vervietta’s Gear

The amount of accessories that come with a full armour set can be too many to list so hopefully my photos can do them justice.  Shinkis generally come with extra faces and an assortment of interchangeable hands.  Among the parts that make up the set are often additional weapons for the girls to hold as well as additional connector pieces so you can customise your set by mixing and matching with other Shinki sets as well as some other Konami toy lines.  Also included is a display stand – pretty handy for these two since they are unable to stand in their full armour mode.

Full Armour Mode
Full Armour Mode
Full Armour Mode
Full Armour Mode

 Articulation:

Shinki base bodies use the Multi Movable System (MMS for short) which allows for some pretty impressive movement.  How often do you see figures that can hug their knees (the slender figure really helps in this regard.)?  The separations at the bicep and thighs which are used for connecting set pieces also allow for movement in those areas.  A ball joint in the neck gives the head a good range of movement and the upper torso is able to move forward and back, tilt left and right slightly and twist slightly.  Due to the joint system in the hips, there is no joint around the waist.  I often see Shinkis posed with the feet at full point.  I know that the joint in the foot allows for that, but to me it looks unnatural and unnecessary.

The fighter is able to transform into robot mode, though because the joints mostly consist of pegs-in-holes, it’s easy for parts to work themselves loose by being rotated.  The overall effect works, but you will need the display stand due to the robot mode being “en pointe”.  There is a slight knee bend in robot mode which then becomes non-existent in full armour mode from the way that the front pieces of the ship attach to the girl’s thighs. All things considered, it’s not too difficult to get them into the right pose.

Robot Mode
Robot Mode
Robot Mode
Robot Mode

Conclusion:

Fans of the mecha musume genre will definitely be satisfied with the Busou Shinki Vic Viper girls.  It combines transforming robots/spaceships with cute anime girls – what’s not to love?  Even without all their mechanical gear, the girls still make a fun toy to have on your desk just to pick up and pose now and then.  Having a full armour set where all the mechanical components can operate independently from the base body is a real treat.

Lirbiete and Vervietta can be found at the links below along with other figures in the Busou Shinki range.

 

vervietta-full-armour-mode-2
Full Armour Mode
lirbiete-full-armour-mode-2
Full Armour Mode
You can make your own custom armours
You can make your own custom armours
You can make your own custom armours
You can make your own custom armours
The girls and their ships. 375mL drink can for scale
The girls and their ships. 375mL drink can for scale

S.H. Figuarts Iron Man Mk 45 – Review

Coming up next is my review for S.H. Figuarts Iron Man Mk 45.  This particular suit appears in the movie Avengers: Age of Ultron and it first appears towards the end of the movie during the evacuation of Sokovia.  Also of note is that this suit’s Artificial Intelligence system is not J.A.R.V.I.S. as per usual, but a new A.I. called F.R.I.D.A.Y.

First Impressions:  

Compared to Tony Stark’s previous Iron Man suits, the Mk 45 appears to have a much sleeker/streamlined figure.  If there was a sports car version of Iron Man, then this would be it.  Underlying a clean and anatomical silhouette is a collection of fine details and panel lines.  It features a nice and clean sculpt and is a very accurate representation of the character.

Shiny
Shiny
Sleek
Sleek

Accessories:

Included in the package with the figure are left and right closed fists, left and right open/flat hands, left and right open hands and left and right splayed hands.  Also included are effect parts that can be attached to his hands and feet.  2 different sets of repulsor blasts for his hands and 1 set that can only be applied to his feet to show flight.  An instruction sheet is also packed in the box.

Mk 45's Gear
Mk 45’s Gear

It doesn’t seem like a lot of accessories, but then again Iron Man doesn’t use a lot of other weapons or equipment outside of his suits.

Articulation:

The Mk 45 suit moves very well and has a good range of movement.  The joints feel solid and are able to hold poses as you would expect.

His head can look up and down to a good degree and has a good left and right turning range (the neck piece can limit this however).  He also has a good left and right tilt.

Shape up
Shape up
He can hold a high kick pose if you have the patience ; )
He can hold a high kick pose if you have the patience ; )

The arms are able to move freely and have double joints at the elbows to allow a fairly decent bicep curl.  The shoulders are able to come out of the torso slightly to allow for more movement and the wrists also have good range.  The shoulder pads are attached to the arms instead of at the torso.

Fire Repulsors!
Fire Repulsors!

He is able to tilt forwards and back slightly at the waist and is only able to turn a little bit around the upper torso.  The hips move well but due to the design it is easy to rub parts together which may damage the paint work.  Knees are double jointed to allow more movement and the feet (die-cast!) are flexible enough to allow for some nice posing.  The addition of die-cast metal in the feet is a nice touch, although the left foot on mine has become a bit wobbly while the right foot is still fine.  I’m not sure if it’s an issue inherent with using die-cast for joints or if it’s due to my Mk 45 having quite a bit of play time.  😀

Obligatory ground punch
Obligatory ground punch

This is what it’s all about.  Can he do “the pose”?  In a word – yes.  (The true sign of a good Iron Man figure)

Squaring off against Figma Captain America
Squaring off against Figma Captain America

Conclusion:

Iron Man Mk 45 by S.H. Figuarts is a very nice figure and will make a very worthy purchase.  It’s a nice, clean design, there’s enough interchangeable hands to suit most situations and the added effect parts are the icing on the cake.  On the subject of the effect parts though, I will say this – I don’t approve of the way that they’ve handled the attachment system.  I don’t like how the palms of the hands have a prong for the effect to plug onto rather than having a hole in the palms where the repulsor sits and having the effect plug into that.  It’s a waste of a set of hands that could have been used for something else since you’ve got 2 sets of open hands for the same effect.

Dude...
Dude…
I mean seriously... dude...
I mean seriously… dude…

However, if you can look past this issue then you won’t be disappointed.  Iron Man Mk 45 can be found at the link below along with other figures in the SH Figuarts range.  (I look forward to collecting the rest of the Avengers 😉 )

In flight
In flight
Mid-air combat
Mid-air combat
... so it turns out that the Hulkbuster sort of busts Hulks...
… so it turns out that the Hulkbuster sort of busts Hulks…