Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye, 2015!

Another year gone, another family photo op turned into a natural disaster. If anyone finds Pascal, let us know!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Barbie "Stocking Stuffers"

The usual side stroll through the toy section resulted in something catching my eye that honestly has been needed for a long time.

Barbie separates/accessory packs! I found the Ken pieces in a bin of "stocking stuffers", but the Barbie pieces were back over on the doll aisle. 

There were three Ken outfits to choose from when I arrived, and a whole display of Barbie stuff. The Ken sets were $5 (a whole outfit for a little less than the usual cost!) and the Barbie sets were about $2.50 each. Whereas Ken's outfit comes ready-made, the Barbie sets were different. You could chose a single blouse, a skirt, or a simple dress, or an accessory set that had a purse and two pairs of shoes (one flat, one heels) plus some other odds and ends.

Here's Anna, wearing most of today's purchases. She really does seem to be the most likely contender for "Person to Wear Cat Ear Tiara", doesn't she? The Barbie house seemed like the obvious place to take some pics. The headband, necklace, purse, bracelet and BOTH pairs of shoes came in that one little baggie, remember! The accessory set has me over the moon. Not only is it cute, it's a LOT of stuff for the money. Plus check that out The shoes fit the Disney Store articulated body!

They're a little long, but they fit well, and isn't that the most important part?

The heels also look fine. I love the subtle "kitty face" on the fronts!

The bracelet also has a little cat on it, and the purse is adorable. I would carry this purse and feel NO shame. When's the last time I EVER thought that, let alone said it out loud?

The flash bounce has taken away some of the detail in this cute necklace, but yes - that is a kitty necklace. Like everything else in this bag, it is very cute.

I'm less impressed with the dress I got - the fit is just a little bit off, but I think it's a mild sewing error and not something that's representative of this mini-line as a whole.

 The casual suit Eugene has grabbed up reminds me of the late 80's. The shirt is less turquoise irl than it appears here. The herringbone vest and striped tie are, amazingly, meant to go together.

The pants are a bit long, but I think this is my favorite Ken shoe mold in a LONG time! Snazzy!

Even more snazzy: the vest pattern is continued on the back of the shirt, and in the same fabric! The sole let down on this outfit is that the collar of the shirt is unfinished. It probably wouldn't be a problem in play, but I hates me some unfinished edges!

These are definitely GREAT pieces for the money, especially the accessory sets, imo. The Ken pieces were all great and how long has it been since that guy got some new clothes that you didn't have to buy a doll for?

I can't help but hope that this means we could be seeing fashion packs for Monster High again - or even single item or accessory sets like these. Seriously Mattel! Make sets like this for MH! Make them blind bags. They'd sell out in NO TIME!

Final evaluation: FIND THEM. BUY THEM.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Marvel Legends Infinite Series: Rocket Raccoon figure

I've had this little guy since just before the film came out. Didn't know if I'd decide I wanted it bad enough to keep him until I'd seen the film, and just as I'd expected he was sold out at our local store by then! So, since the movie's finally out on DVD, here's a look at Rocket Raccoon!

The Guardians of the Galaxy set from Marvel Legends has the main cast, plus a couple of other characters, in what is apparently the standard design for the box. The movie logo appears on the top of the front, and the character name at the bottom. If you're new to these figures, as I am, you'll be intrigued and annoyed to see that you've got a part of another figure included in the large, attractive window box. The idea being that you collect all the figure in the set and you get an additional figure "free".

Jerks. Now I have Groot's dismembered head and torso staring at me all reproachfully.

For $20 a pop, these are fairly expensive figures. However, they are really nicely made.

The side of the box shows off the neat convex curve of the packaging, and some great artwork of Rocket.

The back of the package has a nice image of the figure and one of his accessories (a BFG), along with teasers of the other figures in the set and a diagram of the completed Groot figure with note to which figure gives you which missing parts. Please note: Although Iron Man and Marvel's Nova figures appear in the GotG series, neither character is in the movie.

Out of the package, Rocket is well-painted, with an excellent likeness of the character.

There are great details in this figure, other than the fact that his tail rings look just a little too perfect.

"Just what the heck IS a raccoon, anyway?"
All together, Rocket has nine points of articulation. His head rotates a little less than 108* from side to side, with a slight tilt to it as you near his shoulders. His shoulders have ball and socket joints, which unfortunately are a bit hampered by the design of the shoulderpieces on his suit. His elbows are also ball and socket joints, and his wrists and waist are just twist and turn. His tail, oddly enough, so also on a pivot, so you can spin it all the way around, if you're so inclined.

"Ow. Freakin' OW."
He needs that additional point of support to stand though, so I'd recommend against it.

Rocket comes with a sizeable chunk of his best buddy, Groot the tree-alien, his enormous gun, and the large weapon he makes at one point during the film. This giant weapon is way, way too big for Rocket to handle, but Starlord, Gamora and the others will be fine with it. The blaster, meanwhile, can be held, but rather poorly.

Let's see who Rocket plays well with!

"Kyon, if this is your idea of a joke, I'm not laughing."
Figma Haruhi was initially quite excited to hear we had a certified alien in the house, but feels let down that she's been dragged away from important SOS Brigade work just to see a raccoon in a space suit. She's a little out of scale, but works pretty well with him.

"Surrender your coffee, Terran!"
Rocket managed to get ahold of his blaster long enough to menace McFarlane Daryl Dixon with it. Rocket obviously doesn't know what redneck outdoorsmen do to raccoons. Or maybe he does, and that's what brought this on.

"I jus' wanna know if'n anyone else is seein' this!"
Fortunately for Rocket, Daryl's too stunned at the fact he's seeing this to go dig his crossbow out of the tent. Rocket's a bit too large to really be in scale with Daryl, as well.

"Surrender, villain!"
"Villain?! If I wasn't so freaked out by the lightning thing, I'd be insulted!"
Word of an alien invader brought S.H. Figuarts Sailor Jupiter running, and she quickly shocked that huge gun out of Rocket's hands. They're about the closes I have in terms of scale.

"Ooooh, you poor little guy! Let's get you some water!"
"Atta boy, Groot! Keep 'em distracted just a little longer..."
Rocket managed to secure his ace in the hole by distracting the girls with Groot. Better hide that thing someplace secure, Rocket. Sailor Jupiter will NOT be amused when she discovers you've got a superweapon, no matter how much she likes plants.

In conclusion: I initially was not too happy to realize I'd spent $20 on an action figure, but I'm pleased enough with Rocket, despite his limitations. I wish that perhaps his shoulder armor could have been pared back a bit to give him more freedom of movement. Additionally, he has one weapon he can't use and another that he struggles to hold. His amazing sculpt and amazingly accurate paint distract me from that, though. All in all, I'm glad to have him in my collection. I can foresee a lot of fun to be had with this little guy, even with the minor quibbles about his limitations.

"Careful how you hold that, kid."

Plus, Haruhi's decided she likes having a fluffy supergenius who makes weapons around. And yes, I actually did pay the extra couple of bucks for the Rocket slipcover on the Guardians of the Galaxy dvd. I am taking a long hard look at my life as we speak.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Disney Store: Big Hero 6 Honey Lemon doll review

Confession time: I originally thought I'd probably want Gogo Tamago's fashion doll when I saw that Big Hero 6 was getting dolls of the gals. But well... then I noticed that Gogo's arms/hands were actually cast in yellow and black. Not a fan. I get why it was done, but sooooo not a fan.

Instead, I started looking more seriously at Honey Lemon, and was struck by her quirky expression and remembered my love for her stupendously practical superhero outfit with a totally amazing helmet.

So for about $18 with tax, Honey came home with me this weekend. Rapunzel, who is still in awe that I managed to find a Pascal for her, is convinced that she now has a sister. Hopefully Pascal there will keep 'Punzie from dragging home any more animals. It's starting to look like the Palace Pets around here!

The back of Honey's box has a little bit of info about her battle suit, and a picture of her preparing to throw a capsule from her weapon bag thing.

To remove Honey, most of your work is going to be done on the doll side of the cardboard. Freeing one of her legs is about all you can do on this side. The process is pretty painless. No plastic staples in the clothing, just across the doll in a few places, and a couple of clear rubber bands to snip.

Also, there's a bit of thread securing her hair to the plastic, but to my surprise just one quick and easy to access snip was all it took to free her.

And so, here's Honey, in all her ridiculously lanky glory. Holy cats is this girl tall. I'm annoyed that one of her super-thin legs is bent at a funky angle due to how it was secured with a wire tie. Anyone know a good fix for that? It's hard as heck to get her to stand like this, even leaning against something. Her visor helmet, as you can see, is able to be opened. The helmet itself is easy to put on and take off, and manages to be big enough for redressing which also small enough to fit well. The antennae on it do not move.

How tall is Honey? She stands about a HEAD taller than Rapunzel on her Liv body! I didn't think to snap a pic of Anna next to her, but the height difference is comparable.

Here's Honey in the movie, for reference. Thanks, Google!

Honey comes with her pellet-producing ultra-kawaii bag, and some multicolored capsules. Little kids might think these tiny accessories are candy, so I wouldn't recommend letting them have these things.

The capsules/pellets/balls can be fed into the hole atop the bag, and they exit from the back.

Yes, they exit from the bear's rear. Hands up if you failed to keep from snickering at this.

Honey's armor snaps apart for semi-easy removal. The belt is your standard peg and hole closure.

There are lots of little pegs to line up just right on this chest piece.

Honey's dress and sleeves are one piece, and her leggings are another. The sleeves are extra long, and have stitched-together niches for her thumbs. Little kiddos might have trouble with this detail when redressing. Loose, her hair comes down just below her waist. It's sort of strawberry-orange blonde, with streaks of lighter color in it.

My doll has a small flaw, a black mark just above her right eyebrow. Her hair is silky and pleasant, with no discernable trace of styling product. Her big luminous green eyes glance to her left, and her eyebrows are a darker brown color. Her eyeshadow is a very, very faint wash of purple, and overall her makeup is nice and subtle. Her pink lipstick is the brightest bit of "makeup" on her face.

Undressed, it's obvious that most of Honey's height comes from her crazy-long legs. I will be brutally honest here. I love how tall she is, but hate her legs. They're so ridiculously skinny. They're Winx-skinny.

And of course, they have the hip articulation that makes the doll sit like she's trying to ride a horse. She does have a sturdier version of the hinged knees, though.

She can do the splits like nobody's business, though!

And she can even kneel decently if you widen her stance as far as it will go.

Since she had the Winx type legs and feet, I thought I'd see if she could wear Winx clothing. The leggings and shoes fit Honey as well as the doll they originally came on. The top, however? It was stretched to capacity to fit over Honey's chest. The little "vest" detail was almost ready to pop off and fly away!

No gaps in the backs of the shoes!

It's really too bad the shirt doesn't fit. The color and design look great on her!

I tried another set of Winx shoes on her, and they fit as well.. as long as you don't mind that her foot crowds the front of the shoe a bit.

Her feet are so skinny that open-toed Monster High (left) and Stardoll (right) shoes look patently ridiculous on her.

Even closed-toe ankle boots look off. As you can see, this girl's toes are so long, they force her foot into a weird position when you get the shoe on her!

Comparison of Honey's foot (left) with Monster High (right).

Comparison of Honey's foot (still left) with articulated Disney Store leg (right)

 I honestly thought that Honey was probably on a regular Disney Store articulated body when I bought her. The legs and feet are obviously different from the knees down.

Honey *can* wear Liv tops that have some stretch to them, and pants are okay-ish. They tend to look a little off, though. Plus there's the fact that everything is short on her. Capris? Shorts. Long pants? Capris. Annoying. I tried to put her head on a Liv body and a Fashionista Barbie body. In both cases, her head was so loose that the weight of her hair effortlessly dragged her head backwards on the neck. No dice. I should mention here that Honey's head comes off and pops back on like a champ. The neck post mechanism designer is to be congratulated.

Just for funsies, I tried putting Honey's head on Ever After High Raven Queen's body. Huuuuuge difference in neck post sizes.

However, she's oddly cute like this, isn't she?

So here's the bottom line on Honey Lemon:

She's very movie-accurate in her look and in her accessories. She's sweet-faced and wholesome looking, yet still a superhero lady genius. Her shoes and leggings are way too skinny for her to share with other Disney Princess dolls, however. And her lower legs are frustrating, reedy things that I'm afraid I'm going to damage when I try to shove her shoes back on. I like that she's so tall, but hate that her lower limbs seem to be lacking in terms of construction. It's a pain in the tuckus to get this girl to stand!

I'm a little disappointed with her due to that, and I think I'd enjoy her more on a body with better legs - even if she wasn't so tall. I'm also let down that her personalized costume isn't perfectly sharable with other Disney Classic dolls. Anna would make an amazing Honey Lemon cosplayer. At the end of the day, I'm sort of wondering if Gogo's yellow and black limbs would really have been such a bad trade off? A day after unboxing her, I'm still arguing with myself over her and it mostly comes down to her darned legs!