I think I’m finally starting to understand the marketing of McFarlane’s Walking Dead building sets. By including the brick construction dimension in the product, McFarlane hopes to appeal to a broader set of customers. At the same time, they haven’t tried to subvert the Walking Dead by making them cute with bright colors and typical minifigures. So while I can’t imagine a kid expanding his LEGO collection with these, or a diorama builder extending these sets with LEGO bricks, the line seems to be working – more sets are on the way.
The enduring appeal will be to model kit diorama builders who will cannibalize the individual products to build massive set pieces, like the prison diorama McFarlane had on display.
A couple of years ago I picked up a SHIELD ID badge and ID card from EFX, so I was pleased to see what they’ve got in store for fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While all are extremely cool, there are some that fall out of my price range, like the replica helmets for Ant-Man, Iron Man, Loki, and Star Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy. (I try to convince myself I don’t have space for them anyways.)
They have more space (and cost) friendly items as well. Among those are the Containment Device and Orb used to carry and conceal the Power Infinity Stone. It uses Star Lord’s Gravity mine as a stand, but when opened, I was a little disappointed but greatly relieved not to see the Power Stone in there. EFX also has a 2-pack of Agent Phil Coulson’s Captain America cards – one set is near mint, while the other is gruesomely bloodied. To top it off, they had a portable power bank in the form of Tony Stark’s Iron Man Mark V suitcase, but smaller, of course.
For old school Mortal Kombat fans that haven’t been satisfied with previous MK action figure lines, help may (or may not) be on the way. I happened upon this display of 1/12 scale figures from Storm Collectibles featuring Scorpion, Goro, and Sub-Zero. The figures show great promise, with great sculpts and super-articulation (the ninjas have a well-hidden ab joint in there). I’m not sure if this was part of the construction of the prototypes, or if it’s a problem with the sculpts, but the masks on both ninjas were slightly misaligned.
But… these may not make it to the States, probably due to licensing conflicts. If that’s the case, it will hit our wallets pretty hard to fill that Mortal Kombat void with imports. Hopefully the line is viable, though, and produces the entire roster of characters.
I have been a fan of Square Enix’s Play Arts Kai line for some time, but with price creep pushing single figures to the $100 range and more, I’ve curtailed my purchases somewhat. I may have to go hog wild on some of their newest reveals though. Most notably, Square Enix expanded their DC license to include Batman v Superman, revealing four figures – Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Bats in his armored suit. While I’ve been particularly disappointed by what some licensees (ahem Mattel) have produced, these are the first to really pique my interest.
While Street Fighter has seemingly gone to the wayside, they’ve continued with their mainstays. DC continues with more Arkham and variant figures. The newer Marvel variants add Black Widow and Captain America. And there’s Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid, and Halo, to name a few more.
The Bluefin booth is always a favorite stop due to its wide variety of Bandai’s Tamashii Nations S.H. Figuarts licenses. The unveiling of a retro cartoon-based Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line was the highlight for many – for me it’s got the nostalgia factor, but I’m vary happy with the comics-based line we got from NECA and the upcoming Turtles from Mondo. Still, I know this will fill a gap for many collectors looking for super-poseable Turtles from the old cartoon.
There was plenty more to see, including DragonBall Z, Sailor Moon, the Star Wars “realization” samurai-themed line (with new Boba Fett), Naruto, and Super Mario Bros. The Nintendo line adds more characters via another diorama set and a new Bowser figure. And, I am really looking forward to that Bruce Lee figure, even though it will likely be a standalone figure with other Bruce Lee variants possible.