Happy Anniversary! Reflections and Outlook!

 

It may be a little hard to believe, but it’s been a year since I’ve first started this review section.  Its been somewhat of an up and down ride this past year, I tried to keep posts up to date but I’ll admit, it’s hard work!  I’m not sure how some of the other sites do it, I really admire their dedication.

Looking back, my very first review was published a year ago today on Banpresto’s Klan Klang – the funny thing is I actually got started with all this figure stuff due to MegaHouse’s Sheryl Nome figure.  I talked about that Sheryl briefly in my blog section, but oddly enough I never wrote a full review of that figure.  My second figure of was Banpresto’s Sheryl, which was my favourite out of the Banpresto set, yet I didn’t get around to writing her review either.  It’s a little odd how things work out, particularly the way this section has turned out.  If you have been through my previous reviews, you may remember my mentioning that I had created this section to review all sorts of different things, but I had intended to do a number of reviews on my Yamato Macross Valkyries.  Guess what?  That didn’t happen either.  LOL

As I got into the figure collecting scene, I just started to focus more and more as I found them easier to write about and to take pictures of.  When dealing with Macross Valks and all their transforming capabilities, it was really time consuming to go through photos and writing their reviews.  But I haven’t given up hope yet and do plan on writing some in the future – I did manage to sneak in a review of the Tomahawk Destroid though.

One of the difficulties I found in trying to keep this site up to date is that I got into the figure collecting hobby rather late – there have been a number of great releases in the past so I was shopping around to try and get my hands on out of production figures.  At the same time new figures were being released and I was ordering those as well.  All this ordering has created a backlog of figures still sitting in their boxes awaiting their debut – but more on that later.  Speaking of playing catch up, comes one of my gripes about this hobby – the cost and availability.  Majority of these figures see one or two production runs and then that’s it, you just won’t know whether there’ll be a re-release of a figure or not.  Most of the time it’s “once they’re gone, they’re gone” type of deal – on top of that, there are limited run / exclusive figures that are hard to get and cost a fortune.  Since I got into the hobby late, I was forced to browse eBay for many of the out of production figures and pay a very high premium on them.

So whenever I see a new figure that I like, I normally pre-order it – the figure might end up in the bargain bin with huge price cuts, but you never know whether that will happen or not.  So it’s either you pre-order or take a chance; I rather play it safe even if it means paying full price.  It’s better than the alternative of paying the high premium on the resale market in case the figure goes out of stock.

Awhile back I took some pictures of my previous hauls and planned on writing their reviews – well, I got a couple of them done, but still a long way to go.  For some odd reason, I collected a bunch of Nanoha figures and Kousaka Tamaki figures without really knowing anything about them.  I started to learn more as my collection grew, but I still found it odd that I have so many of these figures.  I had plans of doing a Nanoha week and Tamaki week – who knows, I just might be able to get it done this year.  I really like Alter’s Nanoha figures, I think the majority of them were really well done and deserve some review time.

Since I couldn’t keep up to date as fast as some sites, one of my focuses have been to write reviews of not-as-popular figures or those that are hard to get.  I guess in a way, that may have attributed to the lower viewing rate of the site – sometimes I feel like I’m talking to myself and it is somewhat de-motivational.  The site also slowed down during the past summer and Christmas holidays as I was away on vacation and found it hard to get back into the groove of writing.  But lately with the winter blues, I don’t have much to do – and as I write this post I can feel some motivation kicking in and I plan on a blitz of reviews in the next couple of months to catch up.

The few photos that you see here are some of the reviews that you can expect, I have some more that aren’t shown here and are still in their shipping boxes but I’m determined to get to them all.  It’s crazy, but I think it can be done – I will have to change my review style a bit to accommodate this blitz though and I think that means taking less pictures.  In the past I take a lot of pictures from multiple angles and that gets really time consuming during post processing.  I think I should focus on fewer higher quality shots in the upcoming reviews, I think that may work out for the better.  One obstacle is finding the right backdrop though, I can’t say I’m very creative and I always have a hard time getting the pictures out the way I want due to lighting and backdrop design.  I’ve always been impressed by how creative this community is at taking figure photos, browsing around the MFC photos always make me wonder “how the heck did they come up with such a cool composition?”

Well, I think that’s enough reflection – there are a number of new items I currently have on pre-order; in general, the quality and sculpts are getting more interesting I think and here are a number of them that caught my eyes.  With Winter WF around the corner, there’s bound to be a bunch more, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

AlphaMax – Mai Shiranui Omega Style – Hip Line version (shipping)

First on the list is Alpha Max’s Mai Shiranui, she was supposed to be released back in December but was delayed till January.  I’m not too sure what the main reason was for my ordering this figure, but I think it had to do with a few things.  One, since I purchased Spica (sexy sofa version) by Alpha Max, I became a fan of the quality of their figures.  One figure is hard to make a judgement call on an entire company, but from the pics I’ve seen of their figures I have to say I’m still fairly impressed.  The second reason for ordering her was the fact that, well, she’s Mai!  I’m pretty sure everyone knows who she is, I’ve always had a soft spot for her character ever since the old Fatal Fury days.  In suit of that, the third reason would be that it looks to be a really good looking figure, most of the Mai figures are butt ugly, unfortunately.  But nope, not this one!  Even better, she comes in 1/5 scale, though that means her price tag is of a larger scale too.  Anyway, she’s in transit right now and I should be receiving her in a few days – definitely look forward to her review!

Alpha Max – Kousaka Tamaki – alluring version (March 2011)

Another figure from Alpha Max and yet another figure of Tamaki.  I really don’t know why I have so many Tamaki figures, I can’t even say I’m that big of a fan of her character.  But one thing’s for sure, she does have some interesting sculpts!  There’s an alternate version of this figure, called the innocent version.  One quick glance and you can see why that is – both versions are properly named, if you ask me.  I opted for this version because she felt a little more different from all the other Tamaki figures – I’m somewhat sick of the same Tamaki happy/innocent expression found on the majority of her figures, especially when the figure is in a sexy pose.  Well, this version of Tamaki is definitely much more alluring, I really like what they did with the eyes – she looks much more tempting here.

Alter – Dizzy – Guilty Gear XX Λ Core (April 2011)

Here’s another masterpiece from Alter and a no brainer.  Well, maybe some brainer at least for me.  When this figure was up for pre-order I told myself I wasn’t going to get this figure.  I wanted to cut back on my figure spending and since I’m not that into Dizzy’s character I ignored the pre-order for some time.  But after deliberating a bit more and looking at her pictures I pre-ordered her just before ordering was closed.  I had no doubt that this was a really interesting sculpt and that the artists did a great job, but at 1/8 scale the price is rather high.  Once again, I rather order her now than to wait till later when she’s out of stock and I realize I want her in my collection.

Alter – Hattori Hanzou (ETA late January)

This version of Hattori Hanzou was a limited release through Hobby Japan – I initially ordered her when I saw that Toys Logic had her for sale.  I’m not a fan of maid outfits and glasses, but I ordered her with the idea that I might be able to flip her around and get some cash down the road.  But then I started to collect some of the Hyakka Ryouran figures so now I think I just might keep her if she ever comes.  Toys Logic delayed her for 2-3 months already, she was initially released back in April of 2010 though – so I’m not sure if Toys Logic will really be able to fulfill my order.

Alter – Gotou Matabei (June 2011)

Not too familiar with the historical figure, but I’m loving this concept.  That ass = win!  Although from this angle it doesn’t look as defined, but I’m hoping the actual figure will have a nice rear sculpt.  If you’re going to show off that backside like this, you better have something to show for!  This is another Hobby Japan exclusive (damn exclusives!) that’s to be released in May, but the typical US retailers probably won’t get it till June, if they get it.  Here’s hoping…

Alter – Tainaka Ritsu (February 2011)

I sort of lost track how many times this figure was delayed, but she’s the last figure in the K-ON! set.  It all started out with Mio, I didn’t plan on purchasing her as I knew I couldn’t resist not having the set.  But after I got Mio and saw just how great the quality was, that was like adding fuel to the flame and four figures later I’m down to Ritsu.  I hope she doesn’t get delayed anymore, I’ve been waiting to do a band photo shoot with all five of them.  ^^’

Alter – Sanada Yukimura v2 (April 2011)

Sanada Yukimura is another one of the Hyakka Ryouran series girls and another cursed exclusive through Hobby Japan.  This is the second version of Sanada, the first one had a slightly different face.  I missed out on the first version, but I guess that was a blessing in disguise as now I get to order the second version.  I do prefer the facial expression of this version than the predecessor – I am a little weary about her pose though, hope there wont’ be any leaning issues down the road.  She should be released in Japan in March so the US retailers should see them a short while later.  Once again, I’m not sure if my order will be fulfilled.

Embrace Japan – Diabolus Inclinatus (unknown ETA)

This pretty succubus was scheduled for a December release but got delayed till this month – unfortunately due to a manufacture error the figure was recalled and there’s currently no ETA on when she’ll be re-released.  The error, apparently, was that the wrong version was released to the production line and the first batch wasn’t cast-off-able.  There seems to be a slight trend with succubus figures near the end of 2010 and personally I think this one was the best of the bunch.  The pose is cute and I think her facial expression is somewhat angelic – not too shabby for a demon seductress.

Figma – KOS-MOS v4 (February 2011)

KOS-MOS is definitely one of my favourite game gals of all time and this Figma was a must get for me – just look at all those weapon accessories!  But with all those pieces, I think I’m definitely gonna have problems with pieces going missing.  Plus, with so many possibilities for display, I’m so tempted to pick up a second one.  But I’ll wait and see if she goes on sale at a later date.  Thigh-highs, garter, skimpy dress, short skirt, slightly exposed top – she’s so hot!  <3

Griffon Enterprises – Kusugawa Sasara – Nekomimi School Uniform version (released)

Here’s a kitty poised doggy style, hmmmm?!  I guess I’m more of an ass person than a breast person, so this figure was an easy choice.  Her rear does look kind of flat though, not much shape, but the pose is very provocative.  I think there was a similar figure of Kan’u Unchou with kitty accessories too, but I think Sasara looks a little bit better.  From the sample photos, the colour seems nicely saturated, but being a figure from Griffon Enterprises, I’m not too sure what the final product will be like.  The GE figures in my collection all have been mediocre and I can’t say that the finish quality on them are all that good, but I’m hoping this figure will be a trend breaker.  This is one of those rarer figures that not many people talk about, so I thought it’d be interesting to do a review on her.  She’s in stock as of a couple days ago, but I won’t be receiving her till the end of the month as I had her marked to be shipped with all my other January orders.

Good Smile Company – Black Gold Saw – animation version (June 2011)

So GSC finally skipped the normal version and went directly to the animation version for Black Gold Saw.  I think she looks the best out of BRS and Dead Master – the pose is a little played though – it’s very similar to Dead Master’s animation pose.  I have the BRS animation version but didn’t get it for Dead Master, so this Black Gold Saw will act as a counter part to my BRS animation version – just picture them facing off!

GSC – Racing Miku

I can’t say I like this Miku’s pose and face all that much, but I pre-ordered her anyway as she is different from all the other Miku figures out there.  Her eyes look like they’re too wide apart, it just doesn’t look right with all that blank space in between her eyes.  It could be the angle of the photo though and that the picture is two dimensional – I’m hoping the final product will look better.  Since I like motorsports, the racing theme of this figure is appealing to me – plus the fact she has this orange theme going which matches my car.  Maybe I’ll attempt a photoshoot of her with my car in the summer – I’ll really have to play with the angles to match her size to the car though.

Good Smile Company – Tohsaka Rin (May 2011)

Tohsaka Rin is one of the more popular figures on order currently, according to MFC, she’s been ordered by 360 users wished by 324 more.  It’s easy to see that she’ll be a hit, but I guess that’ll depend on how well GSC can retain their quality control.  Many figures from GSC lately have been somewhat lacking when it comes to quality control, I hope this won’t be one of them.  Take careful notice to the base, I wouldn’t be surprised if GSC take shortcuts again and cheap out on the finished product.  Guess we’ll find out in time!  You can’t notice it from this angle but Rin’s got a really nice ass sculpt – this’ll be interesting.

GSC – Saber Alter (April 2011)

When this figure was first announced for order, there were some talk about this figure being boring.  I’m sorry, but whaaaaaaaa?!  I can’t believe anyone would say this version of Saber is boring and un-unique, I’m not sure what kind of crack they’re smoking but this figure rocks!  Plus, with the version name of “~Iron Hammer of the Terrible King Vortigern~”, that alone already made this figure cool!  It’s a mouthful, but it’s still pretty bad ass – with a title like that, no one will want to mess you, ever!  Anyway, I’m definitely looking forward to this figure, I hope GSC will retain a decent amount of quality control on the finished product.  Their QC seems lacking lately…

Kotobukiya – Elwing (May 2011)

Here’s a re-release of Elwing from Kotobukiya, I believe this will be the second re-release.  Not many figures get re-releases so I’m glad that Kotobukiya is pumping out some of their previous figures.  This figure was initially released back in 2008, way before I started collecting, I can’t say that it’s a figure I would’ve hunted down either on the resale market.  So the re-release is a good thing, I can now pick it up at a normal price.  At first I was a little hesitant about what the quality would be like, but if any of the recent Kotobukiya figures are any indication, I don’t think this one will disappoint.  I recently received the re-released Kureha figure and I thought the quality on that was fairly well done, so I’m hoping Elwing will be in the same boat.  Not sure if there’ll be any quality enhancements compared to the first release though?

Kotobukiya – Maxima (May 2011)

Maxima comes from the Shining Hearts series, and I think I’m becoming a fan of Kotobukiya figures.  They’re not of the highest quality, but they’re pretty good and usually at affordable prices.  I think Maxima looks really elegant here and will make a great addition to anyone’s collection.  Like Alter’s Buddy, I think the face looks really pretty.  =P  I wonder if she’ll end up being a cast off, which was a surprise to me when I received Xecty Ein – didn’t realize she was castoff-able.

Kotobukia – Xecty (March 2011)

I had to think this one over a bit, I really wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep this pre-order.  But there’s something about that mini skirt and pose that keeps me drawn to her.  Well, I also think that white puff thing is kind of an interesting accompaniment, so I’ll most likely keep the pre-order.  So much for cutting back on non-essential figures… like Elwing, this will be the second re-release of this figure from Kotobukiya.

Max Factory – Miku – Tony version (February 2011)

Yet another Miku figure, she looks the same as always if you ask me.  But this one is a little different as she looks more livelier as the figure is based on one of Tony Taka’s illustrations.  The pose does look kind of awkward and painful though, not sure why she’s so happy.  If I was her, I’d probably be crying from the pain.  I’m also a little weary about her balancing, not sure if she’ll develop some sort of a lean if put on display long term.  The semi-transluscent hair is a nice touch and I’m pretty confident with Max Factory’s quality that they’ll do a good job.

Max Factory – Xecty swimsuit (February 2011)

Last of the new swimsuit line-up of Shining Wind figures by Max Factory – this version of Xecty seems to be receiving quite a bit of love from the community.  I think I still prefer Seena, and think she’s still the best out of the four in this set.  I initially planned on getting all four, but decided to cut out Clalaclan.  The huge boobs on Clalaclan just didn’t do it for me and her expression seems somewhat dimwitted.  Xecty appears a little more thoughtful and since I have some other Xecty figures, this should accompany those well.  Still, I hope I don’t regret my decision on Clalaclan – I typically don’t find bikini figures all that interesting, but Max Factory did a great job in terms of quality on these figures.

MegaHouse – Yagyu Jubei – Queens Blade (Shipping)

I think I have an unhealthy obsession with these Hyakka Ryouran girls – particularly Yagyu Jubei.  This version from MegaHouse is a little more risque and is based upon the Queen’s Blade series.  Jubei is a little under dressed here, she’s wearing some sort of combat mini-mini skirt.  I think this is achieved when she loses her main outfit (battle damage), at least that’s what I gathered from the pictures in her game book.  The prototype images showed some sort of weird band-aid thing covering up her private part – but I don’t know if that’s just some weird sensorship thing because the figure was on public display.  I hope so – as that really ruins a figure – plus, what’s the big deal?  She wouldn’t be the first figure to “show it all” anyway.  Guess I’ll find out in a week or two when she arrives – will definitely be writing a review on this one.  I am a little concerned about her quality, she kind of look like crap in some of the pictures people have uploaded thus far, I’m hoping it’s just bad lighting and camera work.  =(

Volks - Raira Ria Soreru - E2046 version (Shipping)

Here’s a pre-painted Volks garage kit figure by E2046 – I first saw her when someone uploaded her pics on to MFC.  I saw the face and I thought it was rather pretty too.  I then clicked on the full image and I can honestly say it was quite what I was expecting.  I’m not complaining though, that scythe looks awesome!  ^_^  It wasn’t until recently that I realized she’s actually unzipping her body suit – from the frontal angled photos I assumed her right arm was just posing that way.  She’s in transit right now and I should be receiving her in a week or so as well – with so many new figures coming in, I’m gonna be busy (and so broke).

 So there you have it, a little look back on the past year and the new figures to look forward to this year.  With a renewed emphasis on the site, I’m hoping I’ll get a little more traffic.  Looking at my stats, my most popular reviews were of Momohime and Sora Kasugano.  I’m rather surprised that Sora received so much attention so quickly, especially when my site was so new when I received her.  But I guess it had some thing to do with being one of the first English reviews up (or the first) when I posted it.  Eventually my pace came to a crawl so the site has become a little barren.  I would like to thank the regulars that have come to show their support – your sites have really been an inspiration to me as well!

Cheers and Happy Hobbying!

-VF