Monday, July 14, 2014

Toy Review – Man of Steel Movie Masters Series 2 – Faora & General Zod with Kryptonian Armor

Note: This will be kind of a lame review, and not just because I’m throwing two figures that I haven’t felt particularly compelled to review for the last seven months together. I have a SHIT TON going on right now. There’s the Dragon Con thing, the Time Lord Party this past Friday, TONS of Needless Things Podcasts I’m setting up, and now the dry run of Whose EFF Is It Anyway? that we’re doing at the Red Light Café on August 5th. Plus, of course, my normal family and work responsibilities.

I am not complaining! I love it. But I am busy. So here’s a crappy review of two figures that you wouldn’t have cared about even if I had posted this back when they came out.

Wow. It has been almost exactly a year since I reviewed the Man of Steel Movie Masters Superman.

If you don’t remember or haven’t read, I liked that movie a lot and like it even more after repeated viewings. Everything about Kevin Costner and his role was awful, but I really enjoyed the rest of the movie.

I also really like Mattel’s (apparently now-defunct) Movie Masters line. The sculpts and likenesses tend to be very good and I prefer the more realistic proportions. Mattel does a pretty decent job working articulation in, as well. Plus, the Movie Masters range has covered The Dark Knight, Man of Steel, and Green Lantern; so we have figures from separate movies that are scaled and designed consistently. And yeah – I said Green Lantern. The movie was dogshit, but the Movie Masters were awesome. Except for Parallax.

With the release of the new DC 4” scale figures it seems like Mattel is done with the 6” scale Movie Masters. Zod, Michael Keaton as Batman, and Danny DeVito as Penguin have all hit retail and those would have been great candidates for the Movie Masters line. I doubt that Mattel will revisit them in a larger scale. I also can’t believe that Toys R Us is charging $14.99 for those things. That’s fucking insane. I did find Batman at Target the other day for ten bucks and came this close to buying one. But I just couldn’t justify it after buying the giant Michael Keaton from NECA.

It was kind of clear that the Movie Masters line was faltering with the Man of Steel releases. The assortments were odd and there were thousands of unitard Zod figures warming pegs for quite some time. The lineups changed, as well. A unitard Zod with handcuffs replaced Ursa and I’m pretty sure there was at least one other change. The figures also went on clearance amazingly fast. I was in at least one Toys R Us that had marked down the Man of Steel figures but was selling the Green Lantern Movie Masters at full price.

I also quickly want to mention the lousy kid-oriented Man of Steel toys – they were lousy.
Okay, so Zod and Faora were the last figures that I felt like I really needed from this line. I kind of wish I’d gotten a Jor-El, but I never saw him on sale. I found these two for five bucks apiece on Amazon last Christmas and ordered them along with a ton of other Mattel DC figures that were marked down.

FIRST GLANCE

The sculpting on the armor on these guys is fantastic. I love the look of the Kryptonian armor. It’s very other-worldly and organic while still looking high-tech.

Zod looks amazing. 

Faora has the fattest head I’ve ever seen on an action figure that wasn’t from the original Masters of the Universe line.

Her head is so fat that it got hired as M.O.D.O.K.’s body double.

Her head is so fat that Peter Quill tried to park his spaceship in her ear.

Her head is so fat that Hector Hammond saw it and was all like, “Damn you got a fat head”.

PACKAGING

First of all these are blister cards, so that’s an automatic win. I like the design of the bubble and how it has the look of Kryptonian tech and the swoosh of Superman’s cape. It’s eye-catching packaging, but not so great that it won’t feel like generic Superman stuff a few years from now.

And - believe it or not - these cardbacks feature full bios!:




LOOKS

Zod’s head sculpt is very good. It’s funny how imposing this face looks when Dr. Evil’s voice isn’t coming out of it. The paint is well done – there’s no blotching or overlapping of areas. Even the eyes and eyebrows are even.

The armor is incredible. There are so many layers and textures that I just sat and turned the figure over in my hands for several minutes. The lines are all sharp and clean and the various surfaces are distinctive and have thickness and depth. The articulation is worked into the armor quite nicely, though that’s somewhat easier when you’re dealing with more mechanical designs like this one. The thickness of the armor gives Zod a slightly squatter appearance than he had in the movie. I wonder if the toy designers just felt the need to make the proportions as believable as they could or something.

I do wish the cape was removable. It’s a nice translucent plastic with a very cool smoky paint deco, but it’s stiff, hard plastic that doesn’t flex for posing.

Faora – as I mentioned above – has a big, fat head. She’s having a big head day. But it does match the rest of the figure in an odd way. Mattel has taken a gorgeous actress and given her these weird, wide proportions. She looks like Mary Lou Retton on steroids and if you don’t get that reference SHUT UP I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT. I’m old.

It’s hard to judge how good the likeness is when it’s so distorted. It’s like if you painted somebody’s face on the side of a bucket. Part of the issue – aside from her GIANT HEAD – is that this figure has no neck whatsoever. This is just so bad.

Faora’s armor is lighter than Zod’s which is weird because the thickness distortion effect from his seems to be doubled here. She basically has the Kryptonian unitard with a few plates of armor attached. The unitard has a consistent mesh texture. It’s all one color with no paint. 

The armor has tons of detail and layers accented by the asymmetry of the design. HER THIGHS SEEM HUGE. I am not saying that’s good or bad. They just do.

Her cape is similar to Zod’s, but more swishy. Also, my figure’s was placed in the packaging wrong and is all askew. I need to take a hair dryer to it and fix that. The plastic is nice and thing so it shouldn’t take more than a few seconds.

ACCESSORIES

Faora comes with that most lame of action figure accessories – a stand. It is made very slightly less lame by the fact that it has her family crest on it. But she has no breathing mask, no dagger, no guns – nothing.

Zod at least comes with his breathing mask, and it’s great. It fits perfectly on his head and looks awesome on the figure. I’m actually not sure how I want to display him because the likeness is great but the breathing mask is badass. It’s not totally translucent like it was in the movie, but the top is and it just looks rad.

Oh, Zod also comes with a stand. Whoop-de-doo.

FUN

As bulky and armored as these figures are, they actually pose nicely. Obviously they’re a bit restrained by the cut of the armor, but the joints all move very well and have close to the range you would expect from a figure in this style. They actually move better than the Bale Batmans I have.

The biggest obstacle to a wide variety of cool poses are the figures’ capes. They do look cool, but if they had been designed to be removable that would have been great. Heck, I might even have liked soft goods if Mattel could have been trusted to do that right (definitely they can’t be). As things stand I wasn’t even compelled to go into the other room and get Superman to stage a fight.

As far as fun factor goes these aren’t bad figures at all, but they could be a little better. I hate when you have to play around a limitation.

OVERALL

Zod is great. Aside from the cape he is an awesome figure. His knees could bend a little deeper and he could stand to be less bulky, but I’m definitely happy with him. He looks great on the shelf with the rest of the Movie Masters.

Zod- 4 out of 5

Faora is detailed and executed well as far as paint goes. But her head is just embarrassing and her proportions are too weird. If I do put her on the shelf, it’ll be in the back. Way in the back.

Faora- 2 out of 5

If you want to buy these for cheap – as well as the other Man of Steel Movie Masters – do it! And help out a great website (this one)!



3 comments:

  1. I don't get all the Man Of Steel hate... Love the figures I have Zod and Supes. There was a cool Supes in a black costume that I never grabbed because it wasn't on sale.

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    1. I know, man. I dig the movie. I'll probably spring for that SDCC Superman versus Zod box set when it gets super cheap.

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    2. I get why people don't like it, but I really enjoyed it. I always wanted to see what would happen when a couple of Kryptonians duked it out, and I figured it would ensue in mass destruction.
      I do hope the sequel at least acknowledges all the loss of life that had to occur in that final battle, and that Superman learns how to avoid collateral damage. I can forgive him this first outing because he only knew how to fly for what, 2 or 3 days before having to defend the planet?

      Thanks for the figure reviews, PT. I am tempted to get that Zod, just as a generic future soldier looking guy.

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