SDCC 2013 highlights: figures and toys

In case you haven’t been following Tomopop’s SDCC coverage, I wanted to post a bit here about the toys and figures that caught my attention. As you’d imagine, SDCC isn’t really the place to go for Japanese or anime figures. There wasn’t much at the convention to appeal to fans of that particular aesthetic, and as such a lot of the figures that were on display fell outside my area of expertise. Still, I’m a sci-fi movie and TV show fan, so there was still a lot to get me salivating.

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The first booth I went to was Kotobukiya’s booth because I wanted to get their exclusive Harley Quinn figure. While I was there, their representative Dan Lujan walked me through some of their upcoming figures. For Japanese and anime figure collectors, the main line of interest is the Bishoujo line. Bishoujo Psylocke (X-Force version) was in full color on display, and she’s looking good. I also saw sculpts of the armored Wonder Woman, Jun Kazama, and Chun Li. The main thing I wanted to see was Bishoujo Cammy in some form, but all they had was a teaser – no art and certainly no sculpt.

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I visited a lot of booths on preview night, but NECA’s booth in particular caught my attention thanks to their assortment of Aliens and Predator action figures. The exhibit had no less than five figures for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character (Dutch Schafer) from Predator, and I really want all of them. Above you can see the magnificent 1/4-scale Dutch figure.

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The other highlights from NECA’s booth were Aliens-related. I was especially tickled by their Hudson figure, making the most Hudson face imaginable. You keep on Hudsoning, Hudson!

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This beautiful lady is MegaHouse’s Princess Shirahoshi, which I saw at AAA Anime’s booth. I really wish I could have bought one, but the price was steep (almost $170!). Although this isn’t a particularly new figure, she was just too super cute to not photograph. I guess a few pictures will have to do in lieu of me owning one.

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Right around the corner from AAA Anime was Yamato USA. You know how in most cities you go to, there are hole-in-the-wall restaurants that people swear you should visit? Yamato USA’s booth was pretty much that for SDCC. It was tiny – just a partial chunk of wall with a few display cases in front – but I liked what was on display. Take, for example, A+’s 1/4.5-scale Branwen. Surprisingly, it’s not terrible. The design is excellent, the sculpt is accurate, the paint job is good, and she has possibly the greatest ass of all time.

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Nathan Drake was on display at Sideshow Collectibles’ booth. Sideshow was a nightmare to cover because of the number of people and the number of highlight-worthy figures. Honestly I didn’t care too much about most of the comics figures, but Uncharted‘s Nathan Drake is another matter. The 1/6-scale rendition even gets his half-tuck down!

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I dropped by ThreeA’s little display to check out what was on offer. As usual, ThreeA’s ability to take recognizable licensed characters and put an artistic twist on them impressed me deeply. Beyond that, I was able to talk to Good Smile Company’s Mamitan, who told me everything I’ll ever need to know about WonFes. I also talked to ThreeA’s head honcho Ashley Wood, who told me a bit about the toy making business and how they come up with their designs. ThreeA is creatively driven by Ashley himsef, and their figures all have his distinct imprint on them.

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Diamond Select usually deals in western properties, but at SDCC one of their booths was showing off some Evangelion figures. Above is Medicom’s RAH Asuka from Evangelion 3.0. At 1/6-scale, she was beautiful to see in person. The display had her alongside Eva-01 and Eva-02, with the latter looking absolutely gorgeous (I’m kind of sick of seeing Eva-01 at this point).

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Canadian Domo-kun? Actually, it’s a pizza cutter. You read that right, a Domo-kun pizza cutter.

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Quantum Mechanix’s booth was a place of magic. Much of that magic came from this 1/6-scale Malcolm Reynolds figure. Browncoats rejoice, the, erm, hero of Serenity Valley is coming back!

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The QMx booth also featured this jaw-dropping 3′ Artisan Model of the Vengeance from Star Trek Into Darkness. If they still used filming miniatures, you’d swear this was one.

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Bluefin’s Evangelion display was, well, pathetic. SDCC is not the con for Eva fans. The most I saw was a small display of shokugan figures, featuring the Evas, the pilots (minus Mari), the Wunder, and Eva-02’s orbital rocket boosters.

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Like Sideshow, Gentle Giant’s booth was packed with people gawking at all the amazing stuff on display. I liked the zombie Magneto bust above, but I really liked their Honey Trap line of original figures. They each feature sexy women with big guns doing who knows what.

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Toymunkey Studios had their 1/6-scale Silent Hill figures on sale. Again, I really wanted to buy one, but the price was too steep. The level of detail on these is amazing, especially when you look closely at the paint job.

So SDCC isn’t the place to go for eastern figures, but it wasn’t a bust for figure/toy enthusiasts – not by a long shot. There were plenty of properties represented that I was interested in (enthusiastic about, even), and talking to some industry representatives is always a good time. Check out the gallery to see the rest of my personal highlights!

7 Comments

  • I wonder if they'll ever make some Mortal Kombat Bishoujo figures. I remember remarking about it a few years ago, and someone said he didn't think it would happen since Mortal Kombat is clearly more of a white man's game, but being that the line is clearly aimed at western collectors, I wonder if there's a chance of it happening. Speaking of Mortal Kombat, I wonder if Popcultureshock had their Kitana statue on display there. I've got it on order but it's been delayed a bunch of times and I'm half expecting it to not be very good. Branwen actually doesn't look that bad; maybe I'll have to re-think my opinion that they are the worst figure maker around. I kept telling myself that I'd go see the Star Trek movie (the last movie I watched in a theatre was Kill Bill 2, I think), but its run has ended at the local mall. I guess I'm not too sad about that, though; I try to avoid that zoo as much as I can. Plus I guess I don't have a great opinion of the first movie, which is a little odd because the first time I watched it, I loved it so much that I immediately watched it a second time, and the only other movie I think I've ever done that for is Disorderlies. If you've never heard of that movie, I don't recommend looking it up. I thought the Vengeance looked moronic the first time I saw it but that model actually looks pretty cool, cool enough that I kinda hope that it shows up in Star Trek Online someday. I still hate the Abrams Enterprise, though, both inside and out. Seriously, who the hell thinks a beer factory is a good stand-in for an engine room?
    • I really want to see a Soulcalibur line of Bishoujo figures. Probably won't ever be more than a pipe dream, though... Regarding Pop Culture Shock, we covered the show floor pretty extensively but didn't see anything from them. It would have been cool to see their Sagat and Ryu figures in person. PrototypeZ did show off some Capcom figures (Ryu, Ken, Sagat, Blanka, Megaman X) and those looked awesome. As for A+, I can assure you they're still the worst manufacturer around. What you don't see from the gallery is that next to Branwen, there was a horrible 1/4.5-scale Haruka from Senran Kagura. Derpy face, ill-fitting clothes, terrible anatomy, the lot. Sometimes, great artists/directors/studios make a dud. Branwen is like the inverse of that for A+. You captured my thoughts about the Abrams Enterprise perfectly! I wish they had stuck closer to the proportions of the original movie Enterprise. That design had a better balance between saucer, engineering hull, and nacelles. On the subject of the engine room, though, how do you know the Abrams-verse Enterprise doesn't run on beer??
      • More fighting games should get figures. There's so much good stuff to draw inspiration from. If they do ever make anything from Soul Calibur, I hope they use Ivy's SC4 outfit rather than her SC5 one. I remember thinking pretty hard about picking up Erick Sosa's Psylocke statue, but I'll be honest, I thought it looked kinda manly, and that's not really something I want to be thinking about when I look at Psylocke. It looked pretty great aside from that, though. Yeah, that's pretty much what I expect from A+, I think; I really don't like being too hard on anyone who does or sells anything creative because I know how hard it can be, but sometimes things just don't have anything going for them and you wonder how they stick around. The new Enterprise's imbalance was definitely one of the things I noticed about it, and it's kinda weird, because balance is such an important concept in design and photography and art and (some might say) life itself. I don't quite understand how they messed it up so badly; it's like everything connects in the wrong places. It looks like the front half is moving at warp speed and the back half is staying in place. The nacelles look like they're suffering from elephantiasis. I guess if the Enterprise is powered by beer, it'd be Budweiser, since that's what they drank in Iowa, and from what I've heard, Bud isn't that well-regarded by sophisticated beer drinkers, and that's just another reason why the ship sucks. The first time I watched the movie, I loved everything up until Scotty got sucked into those funhouse water tubes and then got bukkake'd out onto the deck, and I think that was the point where I started thinking that the movie wasn't as good as I thought it was.
        • I thought it looked kinda manly, and that’s not really something I want to be thinking about when I look at Psylocke.
          This seems to be true of a lot of western figures of women. I have no idea why but that's the reason I've avoided them for the most part. The Gentle Giant Honey Trap figures pull it off well, but in my experience Sideshow and Koto veer into man face territory a lot.
          it’s like everything connects in the wrong places. It looks like the front half is moving at warp speed and the back half is staying in place.
          Right?? I hate that shit. The nacelle pylons connect way too far in the rear. The neck from the saucer to engineering hull isn't long enough. The deflector dish is too far forward. Bleh. I actually liked most of the ship designs from the Abrams movie, just HATE the Enterprise design. Please rip off Star Trek III next and have Kirk self-destruct the ship, then find a better looking goddamn ship.
          I guess if the Enterprise is powered by beer, it’d be Budweiser
          Yep! Engineering was actually a redressed Budweiser brewery. <beer hipster>Yeah Budweiser sucks. It's not just the taste. There's cheap shitty beer with soul, and then there's the mainstream crap like Bud and Miller which taste like seltzer water mixed with stale bread. If you wanna go all out, go for the $13-a-bottle Belgian stuff. If you want cheap shitty beer, hit up a Tader Joe's for some Name Tag or find a place that sells Hamm's.</beer hipster>
  • The other odd thing I've noticed about western figures is that they tend to have really flat and really rough paint jobs. Both of the Sideshow Premium Format figures I've got are like that, and the inferior paint quality really stands out next to most PVC figures. Speaking of which, it's kinda funny when I read some forums dedicated to western figures and they disparage PVC figures; even a Griffon figure has far superior workmanship compared to any Sideshow product I've seen. I'm glad I didn't pick up that Rogue PF like I thought about, because the problem with her eye alignment was hilarious. I managed to watch Star Trek Into Darkness today, despite it being out of theatres. Uhh, man, I don't really know how I feel about it. It's kinda odd to be able to enjoy a movie while thinking it's not a very good movie, but I guess that's what I think about it. I was really hoping they'd blow up the Enterprise just so they could rebuild it. Now that I think about it, Star Trek Online has a ship adapted from the Narada design; I wonder why they don't have any of the Starfleet ships from the Abrams movies. (I'm guessing CBS has something to do with it.)
    • hmm I wonder why Sideshow's stuff costs so much then. Is it the materials? I totally get you about Into Darkness. I enjoyed it but there were a lot of things wrong with that movie. Ironically, though, I think it embodied the ideals of Trek better than the first Abrams movie.
      • I'm guessing it's just because they can move it at that price; they seem to be pitched as collector's items more than just ordinary figures. Reading some forums, it seems like a lot of people are more interested in collecting a series than in individual pieces. I would guess the licensing fees probably cost a bundle, too. Thinking about it a little more, I think the main reason I'm not as big a fan of the Abrams movies as I might be is because of the Enterprise design. I recently re-watched most of the older movies and they had tons of contrivances and plot holes themselves, so it's not like the Abrams movies are a whole lot worse in that respect. It would've been really cool if the Abrams Enterprise looked more like the Vengeance; I'm kinda digging its design more and more now, to the point where I'm like, "Man, ten large for that model, I could swing that ... maybe ..."