Introduction
I’m a big fan of Kotobukiya in general, and of their Bishoujo (literally “beautiful girl”) line in particular. Based on designs by artist Shunya Yamashita, the range features some absolutely stunning work. Their Star Wars Jaina Solo Bishoujo is one of my absolute favourite figures.

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Just in time to catch the wave of the fantastically successful Deadpool movie comes one of their more recent offerings – Lady Deadpool. Lady Deadpool (or Wanda Wilson) is the female counterpart of Deadpool from the alternate reality Earth-3010. If you want to know more about the character, I highly recommend the Lady Deadpool one shot “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”, as well as the “Deadpool Corps” series. She’s very much a fan favourite and this statue does not disappoint.

Packaging

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The figure comes securely packaged in a sturdy box with clear windows on two sides. She’s actually a bit hard to see inside the box, as she’s wrapped in layers of protective plastic within a plastic shell. The box features an attractive red and white colour scheme, and has a full-length portrait of the original concept artwork on one of the sides.

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Once you open the box, you’ll need to slit some tape before you can crack open the plastic inner. There are then a number of smaller plastic wraps and sleeves that will have to be removed before you can display the figure. They protect the figure from any scrapes or scratches in transit, and my figure was pristine out of the box. A small instruction sheet is included to show you the included alternative pieces and what goes where.

Sculpt

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As expected from this range, the sculpt is clean and beautifully detailed. There is barely a mould mark anywhere and the few I did find are hardly noticeable. You really need to be looking for them to see them. Lady Deadpool comes with options to be displayed either with a masked or unmasked head, and a couple of alternative hands. All parts plug in securely and are easily swappable.

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Also separate is a single M-26/61 Fragmentation Grenade that plugs into a hole in her right hand. It’s a small piece, but even has the safety pin ring sculpted as an open piece.

face

The Bishoujo-style face is very pretty, although the features are a little sharp for my tastes, particularly in the chin which is a bit narrow. She is smooth skinned rather than suffering from the pizza-face of comic book Wanda (which also fits the Bishoujo styling – you can see a similar approach to the Freddy vs Jason Bishoujos for instance). The unmasked head also has short hair compared to comic Lady Deadpool who features a long ponytail, but it works quite well on the figure.

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Her costume on the other hand, closely matches what she wears in the comics (minus a few leg pouches), with the same red/black demarcation, belt buckle, crossed katanas etc.

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Her base comes attached out of the box. Out of interest, I removed the small screw located underneath, but even with it taken out, the base didn’t budge and I wasn’t going to force it and potentially break something. Due to the way the feet are posed, I don’t think she’d stand very well without it in any case. It’s one of the simpler bases I’ve seen with a Bishoujo figure, but is quite effective, with a Deadpool logo neatly tampographed onto it. With the base, the figure stands about 23cm tall.

Paint
The paint finish is for all intents and purposes, perfect. Aside from the protection afforded by all the little plastic wraps, the actual colours are applied faultlessly. There is no splatter, overspray, or dirt in the paint anywhere that I could see.

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The overall paint has a slight sheen to it, rather than a dead matt which I really like. The metallic used on the belt buckle and bracelets has a very nice gunmetal shine as well. There is a beautiful, subtle shading applied to her uniform that scales wonderfully without muddying the finish. A light drybrush highlights the details on the pouches on her belt.

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The figure’s eyes – probably the most important aspect of the face – are perfectly aligned, and her lips have just enough of a darker pink shade applied so they stand out without looking as if she’s been chowing down on an overly garish lipstick.

Overall
This is a stunning, high quality figure of Lady Deadpool. She works as both an addition to an overall Bishoujo collection in her unmasked form, or as a comic book version if you prefer her masked. I rate her as a superb figure and I’m extremely pleased to have her in my collection.

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Where to buy
There are currently only two stores in South Africa who stock all the very latest Kotobukiya products. The Bishoujo Lady Deadpool figure is available at “Cosmic Comics” (visit Cosmic Comics or go to their FaceBook page at: https://m.facebook.com/Cosmic-Comics-South-Africa-44462875336/) and at “Project Mayhem Collectibles and Action Figures Durban” (visit Project Mayhem or https://www.facebook.com/ProjectMayhemSA/?fref=ts) (courier available on all orders country-wide).

This review was first posted on the Figures in SA Facebook page.

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For anyone who may be interested, I’ve started writing reviews over at Geek Ink. There should be a new one roughly each week. Click around the rest of the site for other insights, news and reviews on geekly things from a South African perspective.

James Cameron’s “Avatar” was released in 2009 to much hype and hooplah. Briefly, Jake Sully is sent as a replacement for his brother (who is killed in an accident) to join the Avatar program on the hostile planet Pandora. Confined to a wheelchair, Jake finds a new freedom in his Avatar body, and develops an affinity for the indigenous Na’vi people. He embraces their culture, ultimately joining them in their fight against the exploitation of the RDA mining corporation.

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Ultimately, I quite enjoyed Avatar for its pure escapist adventury sci-fi-ness, and say what you like about it, it was a very cool viewing experience. I really liked the visual design elements – from the creatures and plants of the forest, to the various ‘copters and power suits.

The figure

It was going cheap, so I picked up the special edition of the Avatar game for no other reason than it came with a Jake Sully figure in his Avatar form. The figure is part of the Mattel Movie Masters range and stands about 16 ½ cm/7 inches tall – which scales the figure smaller than similar figures in this size range, as the Na’vi are supposed to be about 10 feet tall. There are a couple of other figures available of Jake in Na’vi dress, but I prefer this version from early in the film where he’s armed with a gun and wears a uniform.

Clean up

I started by giving the figure a pretty thorough going over with a sharp knife. Heavy mould marks were especially noticeable on the legs and sleeves, and were trimmed down. The Made in China and Copyright marks moulded onto the rear of the legs were also carefully sliced off until a smooth finish resulted.

Painting

The one big issue I had with the figure is that both the gun and the uniform are the wrong colour. Presented in a sandy yellow, they don’t match the movie at all. The gun should be a metallic grey, while Jake’s uniform is more of a greeny-grey-brown shade. My first attempts at repainting the uniform went somewhat wrong. It came out way too brown – the result of trying to mix paint shades that are a bit tricky to discern properly when you’re colour blind ;).

The figure as supplied (left) and the first, failed, attempt at repainting it (right).

The figure as supplied (left) and the first attempt at repainting it (right).

The second attempt went a lot better, as I was more careful trying to match the colours to stills from the film. A grey-green undercoat was applied, then dark green shadows added to it, before dry-brushing with more of the base coat. A further dry-brushing with a lighter green-yellow shade came out too light and way too green, so a bit more grey-green was scrubbed over this to tone it down.

New undercoat (left) and heavy application of shadow coat (right).

New undercoat (left) and heavy application of shadow coat (right).

To improve the look of the gun slightly, I drilled out the barrel end. It was given a coat of medium grey acrylic, then a black wash with thinned paint to darken it. Some details, such as the tip of the barrel, were touched in with more black. A final scrub over with silver paint finished it off to add a bit of wear and tear.

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A few small details, such as the hair, were touched up a bit where the original paintwork wasn’t too sharp, and some of the uniform colour that had got onto Jake’s skin was cleaned up with a little light blue. The last thing I did was to give the backpack a light dry-brush with a bit of the base grey-green as it looked way too clean.

A quick assembly job – putting on the pack and adding the gun – and my Jake Sully figure looks much closer to the way he looks in the movie. Overall, I’m quite pleased with the result, and much prefer this to the original finish.

The final result.

The final result.

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Beetlejuice (or more accurately Betelguese – but I’ll stick to the phonetic spelling for convenience) is a freelance bio-exorcist. He inveigles his way into the, ahem, lives of Adam and Barbara Maitland, two recently deceased homeowners who have an unfortunate human problem in the 1988 Tim Burton movie of the same name. Played by Michael Keaton before his Batman days, Beetlejuice is one of the more fun, if rather unsavoury, film characters of that era.

So what do we have?

This was one of the first Neca figures I ever bought. It’s cleanly cast, with virtually no mould marks. I only trimmed the edges of his tie slightly to sharpen it up. The face is suitably grody and a good likeness of Keaton’s made-up face. The only real problem I had with the figure is that it doesn’t stand too well. It ends up a bit pigeon-toed in order to stop him from falling over. A base would’ve been a nice addition here.

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Beetlejuice is reasonably poseable. The head has a decent range of motion, as do the arms/wrists, although some poses look awkward if the arms aren’t kept within a certain range of angles. The figure’s waste can be twisted as well, though the jacket limits this movement somewhat. The legs are solid, so he sadly can’t be posed perched upon a scale tombstone without some major surgery.

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Some cool accessories are included. You get two snakes, one overall green and another that looks like a coral snake. A tiny copy of the “Handbook for the Recently Deceased” rounds out the package.

Painting of the Dead

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Overall, the painting is very good. However, with the amount of stripes on the suit, inevitably some didn’t meet evenly. The jacket stripes mainly suffered from this and were touched up here and there with black vallejo acrylic. The tops of the pockets on the jacket were also sharpened up with some white paint. The stripes on the pants weren’t as sharply defined, but as the suit is quite grimy anyway, this isn’t terribly noticeable.

In conclusion

A very nice figure from an iconic ‘80s comedy-horror film that didn’t need much to bring it up to snuff. Well worth adding to your collection if you can find one. A huge 18” Beetlejuice figure was also available from Neca, as well as a variant in a red tuxedo from the wedding scene towards the end of the movie.

Not exactly a blushing bridegroom.

Not exactly a blushing bridegroom.

Perhaps Ripley may have a thing or two to say about that ;P.

Back in the late ‘90s I lost many, many hours of sleep playing Blizzard Entertainment’s awesome sci-fi strategy game, “Starcraft”. The original game eventually spawned the equally awesome, and flippin’ difficult, “Brood War” expansion pack.

The plot for the expansion centered on the Queen of Blades – formerly a human psychic “ghost” operative named Sarah Kerrigan. Taken and twisted by the Zerg into a warped bioweapon, she would eventually rebel against the Zerg overmind before taking control of the swarm herself.

It’s a good few years down the line, and Blizzard has since brought us “Starcraft II Wings of Liberty”, with Kerrigan once again a prominent character in the story. To go with the game, DC Unlimited has produced a very nice series of Starcraft figures. Kerrigan as the Queen of Blades is the second of the two releases in part 2 of the range.

These figures are superb renditions of characters from the Starcraft universe, but rather on the pricey side. Lucky for me, my girlfriend snagged my Kerrigan for half-off at this year’s Free Comic Book Day.

I had heard the reason for it being marked down was some sort of problem with its feet. A quick look on the day revealed the main body to be a superb casting and very well finished, but no other apparent problems. However, once I got it home and out of the box, it wouldn’t clip into the section of creep supplied as a base due to a moulding problem with the right foot.

Upon closer inspection, I also wasn’t terribly happy with the finish on the wings. They looked crude compared to the rest of the figure thanks to large gaps where the parts fit together. This is to allow for movement, but really should’ve been better in terms of finish.

Mould problem workaround

Considering the Queen of Blades is more the plastic statue type of figure, and not an action figure as such, I decided to attach her permanently to the base. I firstly hacked the holes in the base a bit larger with a sharp knife, before sanding them roughly to the shapes of the plugs under her feet. The left foot attached reasonably well, but I had to trim the plug on the right foot extensively to get something approaching a fit.

A liberal dose of superglue bonded the figure in place. Once the glue had dried sufficiently, I applied Tamiya filler putty (thinned with liquid model glue) to build up the gaps. This was worked in and smoothed with more liquid glue using an old paint brush.

The putty on the base and feet was repainted to match the existing paint job as closely as possible. I touched up the base a little here and there as well while I was busy to neaten up the finish.

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The remainder of her body only needed some minor attention. There was a bit of gunk on her rather shapely butt which I carefully scraped off (luckily it didn’t damage the paint significantly). A small dent at the back of her right leg, as well as an unfortunate gap between her legs, were also given a little putty and smoothed. I also cleaned up her nails/claws a bit to sharpen the details as they were a bit inconsistent – some being quite sharp, others more rounded.

Swing Blades

The Queen’s blades are two large, bony wings, and are separate pieces which plug into her back. They’re certainly impressive enough, and add a great deal to the amount of space the figure takes up. They can be posed in a range of positions from almost folded to wide open.

Unfortunately, the wings are the weakest part of the figure in terms of finish. And it’s the poseability that causes the problem. Because the joints are sandwiched between not-terribly-well-fitting component halves, a number of gaps have been left. The moulding also isn’t as good as on the main figure with prominent casting lines over most of the parts.

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I gave the wings a good sanding, then filled all the gaps with more Tamiya putty. After I’d sanded this smooth, I pretty much had to completely repaint the wings – first with a dark black-brown shade for the shading, followed by a heavy drybrushing of shades of brown/khaki colors to restore the original finish.

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With everything finished and in place, the result is a most imposing piece with a huge wingspan that needs a bit of space, and one I otherwise hadn’t originally planned to add to my collection, but am more than happy to have. The basic figure stands 17cm (6.5”) tall. With wings fully extended this easily goes up to more than 35cm (13”) plus, depending on how you decide to pose her.

The Queen of Blades in all her glory.

The Queen of Blades in all her glory.

Considering the range of figures that have been released for Blizzard’s Warcraft games over the last few years I’m hoping we won’t have to wait too long for some Zerg minions to pose beside her. A hydralisk would be awesome (Left). An ultralisk would be better (Right) – but beyond stupid in the same scale!

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A few years ago, I came across a Norwegian film called “Dead Snow” (Ein! Zwei! Die!) while randomly surfing the interwebs. It’s about a group of medical students who are creatively massacred by undead Nazis while on a ski trip. I got myself a copy of the DVD, and I’ve pretty much been zombie obsessed ever since.

Which brings me to Robert Kirkman’s zombietastic creation, “The Walking Dead”. I was peripherally aware of the comic books for a while, but it was only with the arrival of the AMC series in 2011 that I really made an effort to seek them out and read them. I’ve since loved every minute of both the books and the show. Understandably, I was really stoked to hear McFarlane was to produce a range of action figures for both versions of the story. They’ve done some great work on titles such as “Spawn” and “Lost” in the past, so I was looking forward to their treatment of TWD.

To be honest, my enthusiasm cooled somewhat when I saw the promotional images released for the comic book series. The zombies were fine, but the Rick Grimes character piece didn’t really capture the look of the stoic deputy very well – it just came off as terribly generic.

At least the Rick figurine they were going to release based on the TV series looked a lot better, so as I’m just as nuts for the show as the comics, I decided to shell out for Deputy Grimes and a zombie “biter” via my favourite online retailer.

General impressions

First off I was really disappointed by their size when they arrived, mainly because I paid about the same as a 7” figure, only to get a puny-in-comparison 5” figure. Considering the average size of McFarlane’s older ranges, I had honestly expected them to be around the same scale.

The zombie comes with a play-action feature which is just lame. Pushing a button in his back opens his jaw, which then closes when the button is released. Well that’s the theory anyway. In reality, the jaw sticks open making this action rather pointless. A poseable, hinged jaw would’ve been better if you ask me.

Both figures feature a large number of articulation points. Great, except most of them are pointless. The clothes have moulded creases where the figures arms rest against their bodies (Rick being the worst culprit) making any attempt to pose the arms outside of the default position just look plain awkward.

The zombie in particular is also prone to falling over if not balanced exactly right.

On the plus side, the likeness to the actor who plays Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is decent, and the overall detail on the figures is clean for the most part with good detailing and textures. The zombie looks like, well, a zombie…

Included are some cool accessories. The zombie comes with a chunk of bloody deer meat (this particular undead was found in the woods munching on said deer), and Deputy Rick gets a bat, Mossberg 590 12 gauge shotgun, M67 fragmentation grenade (found when he was trapped in a tank) and the plot-important walkie-talkie (as used early on to communicate with Morgan). He also has two handguns – a 9mm Beretta 92FS and a .357 Colt Python.

Some of Rick's stuff.

Some of Rick’s stuff.

I would rather have had Rick’s hat than the bat, but considering the awful job they made with the comic book version, perhaps it’s better this wasn’t included.

Cleanup and paintwork

The other let down, although not as bad as the size issue, is the painting quality. The promotional images featured highly detailed paint work. On the actual figures, the finish is adequate, but nowhere near as good.

I didn’t have to do much cleanup – a few moulding pips needed to be cut off, and Rick’s arms had very visible mould lines that I trimmed flush. He also had a hole in the right side of his head under his ear which I filled with a little Tamiya modeling putty.

I repainted Rick’s arms and neck using Vallejo acrylic “flat flesh”. At the same time I cleaned-up around his wedding ring and wristwatch which had been quite roughly painted. His hairline got a bit of dark black-brown to add some definition to his haircut, especially around the ears.

Rick’s uniform needed a bit more work, mainly cleaning up the details. The stripes on his trousers were particularly uneven, so I touched them up to get a thinner, more consistent finish. His epaulettes and pocket tops were quite blurred, so these were made sharper by painting around them with the basic shirt colour. Finally, his belt buckle was repainted, and the belt touched up where the shirt/pants colours had “bled” onto it.

The accessories didn’t require much work – mainly a little tidying of the paintwork on the stocks of the Magnum and the shotgun. I also repainted the Berretta in black and then gave it a more subtle dry brush with aluminium acrylic to highlight the details, as the original finish was quite crude – it looked as if someone had splashed it with silver paint.

The zombie didn’t need anywhere near as much attention. He’s all grimy and bloody anyway, so a rougher finish works regardless. There was a spill of what looked like dried glue (I hope) on his pants which I scraped off, then touched up to match the rest of the trousers. I also added a little more dirt to the lower part of his legs with brown paint. I touched up the blood here and there, but that was about all.

And finally

Overall, despite their “short” comings, I do like these figures. They’re not perfect, but are nevertheless a pleasing addition to the collection. I would definitely like to get a few more, but the cost for what you get is putting me off. The Daryl figurine in particular is almost double a Rick last time I checked (Daryl is the “rare”, short-packaged figure from the first release – which considering the popularity of the character, doesn’t make sense to me).

Shane, another version of Rick, and more zombies are coming in the second release of TV figures, and I’m hoping Dale, Glen and T-Dog get figures soon. We’ll probably have to wait till after season 3 starts in October before we get Michonne though.

Some of the cast from Season 1.

I’ve loved the look of old-school bronze diving suits for as long as I can remember. There’s something so delightfully steampunkish about their outlandish, clunky appearance which really appeals to me. It should therefore be no surprise that one of my all time favourite beasties is the Big Daddy Bouncer from the 2007 game “Bioshock”.

In the underwater world of the game, the Big Daddy is a monstrous armoured escort, mentally conditioned to protect Little Sisters; young girls who gather mutagenic ADAM (one of the in-game resources) from corpses. Occasionally in the course of the game Little Sisters are overheard referring to their brutish protectors by the rather whimsical name of “Mr Bubbles”, which for some reason I find rather hilarious.

For the release of Bioshock II, NECA created a range of character pieces which include both the original Big Daddy Bouncer and the Big Daddy Elite Bouncer. A version of the Big Daddy has also been released with helmet lights to replicate the way Mr Bubbles reacts to the player during the game – neutral yellow, hypnotised green, and “Oh-shit-I’m-gonna-die!” red.

The design of the Big Daddy Bouncer went through a number of iterations, including a design that incorporated a wheelchair. Check out this image I came across of an unusual deep-sea diving suit from 1882 on display in the National Marine Museum in Paris:

Carmagnolle diving suit c. 1882

Carmagnolle diving suit c. 1882

I’m pretty sure the designers must’ve come across this suit during their research and incorporated the rather unique helmet layout into their final concept.

So what have we got?

The Big Daddy Bouncer and Big Daddy Elite Bouncer are essentially the same, with the Elite Bouncer having a large harpoon-like weapon instead of a drill. It also sports an extended armoured collar around its helmet. The standard Big Daddy is finished in green and bronze, while the Elite Bouncer has a red, black and gold finish. Each figure is solidly moulded and quite hefty, as you’d expect for such a hulking character. Both stand over 20 centimeters (8 inches) tall.

Joint articulation is pretty decent, allowing a reasonable range of poses, although I did find the elbows to be a bit stiff and limited in movement. The only parts that have to be added are the two pressure tanks. These plug in easily and securely to the rear of the figures with minimal hassle.

The moulding on these figures is very clean with mostly unobtrusive mould lines. I did trim a few tiny spots with a sharp craft knife, like the base of the mounting of the Elite Bouncer’s harpoon, but nothing major needed to be cleaned up.

I do have a problem with my Elite Bouncer’s left foot though. It’s a tad mis-moulded, having a very slightly squashed appearance, but this hasn’t made any difference to the figure standing on its own. I’m going to assume it’s a minor production glitch which probably only affects some of the figures.

Touching up

I use Vallejo modeling acrylics to improve the paintwork on my figures as the factory paintjob can sometimes be a bit rough for my tastes. I mix and match colours by eye, and blend the fresh paint into the original finish. My results are usually pretty good, and I like having a figure finished to a slightly higher standard than supplied.

Overall, the paint finish on the standard Big Daddy is excellent. The buckles on the figure’s boots needed some touchup work as they had run a bit onto the “leather” parts. I added a wash of thinned black paint around a few selected spots to help details stand out a bit better. There were also a few places on his main compression tank which were touched up with shades of grey, and some silver highlights were added to both this and the smaller tank.

The Elite Bouncer needed slightly more work. The belt around his body was quite roughly finished, so I pretty much repainted it using a grungy brown shade. Some of the gold trim had also run onto the red of his arms, legs, and reinforced joints, so these were touched up. A few spots of gold on his large compression tank were also painted over as they looked more like spills than chips. I decided to give the black bits of his arms and legs a quick “dry-brush” (scrubbing the figure with an almost dry paint brush) with a little grey paint over the raised details to help highlight the moulded-on folds and textures.

Last Words

These are awesome figurines, and well deserving of a place in any collection, even if you’ve never played the games. They’re certainly amongst my favourites!

Now if only NECA (or someone) would make a figure of the decidedly art deco Big Daddy Lancer (left) and the Big Daddy Rumbler (right) to complete the lineup, I’ll be one happy little geek…