Fixed Post

LIST OF INTERVIEWS

Thursday, August 10, 2017

TWO SUBJECTS

I realize that whenever Sideshow launches a new line of characters they start with only two subjects of the two main characters of a given universe. That’s how it happened with the Masters of the Universe line when they brought He-Man and Skeletor as the opening pieces so to grab the most fans possible. It’s a smart move because the bet is high since a line can flop and bring loss to the company. They make at least two so that the piece don’t stay out of context in one’s collection. So they bring a companion piece most that bough the first one would be interest in acquiring. The same move is being taken for the Gotham City Nightmare line. They revealed Batman and will be bringing Joker as the companion piece. However, in GCN case I don’t think the art style of both statues match at all. I see them as two completely different takes on the concept of the line with art directions very different from each other. I don’t know if this will give unity to the line at all. Both are devilish and distorted versions of the characters but in very different ways. I guess the art directors were different for each project. You can take a look and judge for yourselves on the video below.





Did you see how different they are in terms of… everything? I don’t think this is really a bad thing, just don’t give the line the unity, in my head, it meant to have. I think both statues bold and creative and really shows what makes Sideshow different from the other companies. I really hope this line to be a success since I cannot imagine what they can do with other characters from the Batman universe. Though I will not buy this line I will gladly watch what’s the next step, who’s next in line to receive the nightmarish treatment and save pics of the characters for myself as I often do with figures I wish I have but can’t own. (See I still have some sense in my mind. Lol.)

Wish the best for this line as I find one of the most creative and daring undertaking Sideshow ever embraced. I'm all in to creative freedom and this line seems to give Sideshow artists just this, what is extremely rare outside the realm of custom figures. Kudos to the company for that.  

-x-x-x-x-





On a very different subject, who seem to be losing their minds are the money guys from Sideshow. The last two PFs launched by the company cost well above $600. If this is a signal of things to come, the future seems very bleak for the average collector. The figures in question are Lady Deadpool PF and K-2SO PF. Although I didn’t get so surprised with Lady Deadpool price, since she has all the bells and whistles that allegedly raised the production costs and overall final price of Deadpool Heat-Seeker, I was very surprised with K-2SO price. The piece has metal legs, light up feature in the eyes and is a taller statue than average but none of these, nor the Star Wars license justifies such an abusive price for such a simple statue. I don’t know where Sideshow was with its head when priced K-2SO. I certainly hope it’s an off the marker mistake took by the company or else I’ll not be able to afford the pieces I intend to acquire in 2017-2018. To be honest I’m really concerned about the future of collecting. Two years ago the PFs average prices were around $400-450 now as it seems PFs are furiously galloping to the $600 plus average. This is simply unbearable to many collectors and I hope this not to be really a trend. I know and said it before that Prime 1 pushed the prices up with their 1/4 scale figures but each one has different target customers. Prime 1 brings to the table a higher quality product whereas Sideshow (used) to bring cheaper pieces. The quality of the casting of Sideshow cannot compete with Prime 1’s, which has heavier better-finished figures. The only downside of Prime 1 – a trap they set for themselves – is the so-called translucent resin they use for skin that doesn’t seem to support a lot of detail as normal resin does. It works just fine with 1/3 figures due to their sizes but not translate well for smaller 1/4 figures. But I’m deviating from the subject. All I really wanted to say is that the new Red Sonja to be under $500 and the Swamp Thing Maquette be no higher than $750. These are fair prices and everybody gets happy with them. Sideshow for selling well their pieces and the costumers for paying a decent amount for the products they get. Otherwise, the nightmare won’t be only in Gotham City.   

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

ARE WE ADDICTED TO COLLECTING?

The adrenaline rush of buying a figure be it on the company site or after a good hunting and negotiation on eBay or Facebook is awesome and all collectors I believe experience that. I know I do. Closing an excellent deal or finally grabbing that XM figure you sought for so long is a great pleasure. As is receiving the box from the mail. The ritual of opening, assemble and examine the piece is the icing of the cake. But once the thrill is over and it goes after a short period of time once having the figure (ever shorter the more figures one have) and you (and me) are already thinking about the next thrill. This is imho means you (and me) are addicted to collecting.





SDCC and the other toy fairs and conventions are like drug spots where dealers – the companies – highlight us all the pleasures to come. The next thrills. Not to mention the customs side market. Many find special pleasure in doing business with their statues, so their collections are always rotating with old figures being substituted by new ones in a never-ending cycle. By new I don’t mean only new releases but figures that were never possessed before. There are those that even sell or trade a figure to regret and acquire the same figure later, possibly for a higher value. There are all kinds of behaviors regarding collecting but when they turn compulsive is where the problem begins. When the urge of the thrill becomes relentless. If one compromises his/her finances in order to acquire figures I guess it's time to seek for help. It means one lost control of the habit. I had very compulsive collecting moments. I spent a great deal of my father’s inheritance in three months buying figures on eBay on a time figures weren’t as expensive as they are nowadays. I entered in the manic cycle of my bipolar disorder and went completely out of control. Sold the majority of them afterwards, some grails, in terrible negotiations because I happen to be terrible in business. From 2016 to today I managed to acquire “only” six figures but given the figures prices nowadays I’ve spent a great deal of money, around $4k. Not counting the shipping.



From the rest of 2017 to the end of my life I intend to buy just two more figures, SS Swamp Thing and the new Red Sonja. The hobby just went out of my financial reach and I believe I don’t have more room to display properly the figures I acquire. I cancelled one order to be able to accommodate these two new figures in my collection and because I found the painting of the final production piece disappointing compared to the prototype showed on the site. Thank god I buy only Sideshow statues, apart some Bowens and one Gentle Giant piece I have. I would be in big trouble if I collected XM and in a huge trouble (pun intended) if I collected Prime 1 pieces. I happen not to like their styles I cannot exactly say why. I feel only blessed I think this way or else I would be on a much bigger trouble. My last acquisition was the Hulk LSB (my most expensive piece ever) and I have a problem since I live in Brazil. The custom taxes here are 60% over the declared price of the product plus shipping. I generally send the figures I buy to my brother’s home in US and he brings me one every time he comes to visit us or I bring another when I go visit him (what only happened once at the time being).  But with the Hulk LSB I won’t be able to do that because the box is too big to fit checked luggage specifications. So I’ll have to ask Sideshow to ship the figure directly to me what will cost me around $800-850 in custom taxes if the shipping cost is akin to Deadpool LSB. Apart the shipping cost itself of circa $300-350. It’s a very heavy hit. I will pay well more than twice for the figure. I won’t give up because it will be the centerpiece of my collection. I believe it is the best Hulk portrait ever done and I need a Hulk in my collection and I want the best. Or, in other words, I just fell in love with the statue as I only did with the new Red Sonja, Gentle Giant Babydoll, Bowen Man-Thing, and with Hatsune Miku Mebae Version. Yes, I collect PVC and vinyl figures as well. My collection is pretty varied. I happen to have even a Hot Toys Jack Nicholson Joker though I’m a terrible poser. Lol. On the other hand, regarding Hulk, this “in love” thing maybe mean I’m still on the thrill of acquiring it. The thrill of addiction. I cannot say for sure.




I cannot say for sure if I’ll buy Swamp Thing out of addiction or because he is my all-time favorite character. I don’t know if when I fall in love with a statue I’m on my “addicted mode” which I believe so. I don’t know if I will be able to quit after acquiring these last two statues I intend to buy. I don’t know what the next SDCC has in store for me. All I know is that my room is not yet prepared for display my statues and I’m planning to reform it in 2018. At least reforming costs are a lot cheaper in Brazil than is US (and in most first world countries for that matter). Sure won’t be cheap as well. However is a sad collection one that is being kept in the boxes. The only figure I dared to take from the box and keep out of it is my SS Daredevil because right now I only have space to display him in my room and because most of my figures are still in US. It’s an even more sad collection one kept in the boxes thousands of miles away from the collector. My brother won’t come to visit us this year so only god knows when I will get my hands on a new statue of mine. In addition, my brother already said to me “no more statues at my home”. That’s another reason why I want to send Hulk directly to Brazil. But my brother is such a good person I think he will forgive me for three more statues to come, Malavestros, Swamp Thing and Red Sonja. At least he will not receive the gigantic Hulk LSB box that would certainly piss him (and especially my sister in law) the most.



Then I guess will be it. However, when planning my room, I will try to leave space for a couple more statues. You know the addiction. One never knows what the next con will bring. But the only thing I could devise to tempt me is another beautiful female character. Other than that there are no more characters I want. I guess. Swamp Thing and Hulk were the last of them. Though I love Alan Moore and Watchmen is the best comic ever to me, statues based on its characters wouldn’t appeal to me. Nor even V for V for Vendetta would appeal to me even though is my second favorite character. So I guess there isn’t anything Sideshow could bring to the table that I don’t have already. And I can only wonder how high will be the prices next year. So I really hope I’ll be out of the game by then. Still I’ll try to leave a some space left. After all, one never knows what may come down the road. Moreover, there’s one thing I’m sure about addictions: once a addicted, always an addicted. You can quit but you’ll always be addicted to it. It’s like a dormant beast, if you tease it, it may wake up hungrier than ever. I’m addicted to other things. I quit them all. I guess collecting will be the easiest one to give up. And the prices are pushing me out of it already. Still the spaces will be there. Maybe for an Iron Man MK III Maquette, or a perfect comic Iron Man (maybe I end up buying a Bowen), a perfect Beast (which was already launched as a custom, that one will be tough to beat, and I missed it…), or a perfect Joker or… well, I thought there wasn’t nothing more I desire but you know the drill, you know thrill…



There is one addiction I couldn’t and don’t want to quit: smoking. I just changed to e-cigarettes. And I even happen to smoke one real cigarette when I wake up and another when I go to sleep. Is collecting another addiction I don’t plan to give up? I honestly don’t know. But I certainly would like to. And about you? Are you addicted to collecting? What makes one person addicted to it, in your opinion? Do you plan to quit someday? When and why? Is it really a bad thing if you can afford it?

One may wonder why I posted these making of images of Swamp Thing. Well,
because it's one of the figures I intend to buy and to remember that these figures
are a form of art of sorts and should be regarded so.



On a side note, there’s something in common about collecting and other types of addiction, most people don’t understand and even have prejudice about it. My family and friends just don’t get my hobby and don’t understand why I spend so much on it. They see my pieces as toys or junk I’m accumulating. It’s a bless to have these Facebook groups to share my passion and being understood in our addicting hobby. The only downsides are the desirable new pieces shared that tempts myself getting but it’s good to train one’s will power. Lol. Jokes apart these are places where I feel right at home and can discuss and share my opinions without being afraid of prejudice since we’re all on the same boat here. A boat we all love sailing.    

   
The Incredible Hulk Marvel Life-Size Bust

Friday, August 4, 2017

MAQUETTE IS SS NEW NAME TO OVERPRICED PIECES?

I warned you last year that Prime 1 Anti-Venom for $860 wouldn’t do any good to the industry. So here we are at 2017 with one 1/4 figure from Sideshow selling for astounding $1,2k. Sideshow apparently found a new venue to make us swallow overpriced figures. They simply call them “Maquettes”. If you happen to like one of the Maquettes showcased on SDCC17 (Iron Man Mark III, Swamp Thing and Alien Queen) you are in for a bittersweet taste when the figures and their prices be revealed. Looks like Maquette is the “deluxe” line of the company, what frees them to put Prime 1 1/3 scale prices (or more) on 1/4 pieces, what is just preposterous. I may be wrong and Thanos is an exception, along with Voltron’s Maquette $1,250 price tag. However, two are one too many Maquettes to call it a coincidence. I think Voltron due to its size and complexity is an expensive piece to produce but it doesn’t justify the overwhelming price. Let alone Thanos which seems a very simple piece to produce. I’ll give you that he is big (as Thanos should be) but the price is much bigger than any reasonable scale. It’s not an 1/3 scale figure. It doesn’t come close. Well there is the throne, one may add. But with or without throne the price is simply too expensive for a 1/4 scale figure. So don’t buy it and shut the f* up, one may reply. Of course I won’t buy it, I don’t even like or know much about the character to justify such immensely abusively inflated price. But I won’t stop complaining. It is my right as a Sideshow fan to point when the company is being greedy and unfair to its customers.

Come an get me if you can face my artificially inflated price.


So I’m scared with the term Maquette and what it may mean, if people buy these pieces, to the other lines of the company. Per example, how much will the new Wolverine PF cost? The last Wolverine, still available on the site, is up for $480. It has quite an elaborated base, not too far from the mechanical Sentinel hand the new one is on, though the hand is a bigger base. Let’s see the prices of the new figure. Sideshow cannot allege the price (if much higher) is due to the license of the character nor the complexity of the figure, since they’re on par with the Wolverine they’re selling right now. The only thing left to blame is the rising production costs in China. However, First4Figures doesn’t seem to have the same issue (one can only wonder why) since they’re new Metroid Varia Suit 1/4 Exclusive figure (with lighting features all over the body) costs $429. So who is to blame? In my opinion (in the case the new Wolverine comes for a much higher price than the last one and the prices of the new Maquettes hit around 1k) is Prime 1 and it’s 1/4 line, since their price plateau for this line is stratospheric. One can argue that Prime 1 quality is unmatched, that the quality control is virtual flawless, that the Witcher’s bases are very cool and all… but $860 on Anti-Venom? This opened the door to Sideshow overprice their Maquette line. This will make the new Wolverine cost a lot more than the old one imho. This will make my beloved Swamp Thing to be no less than $800, though is not a complex character to produce, just big (so I still dream for a $700 price tag). But Swamp Thing is not 1/3 big to be priced as such. Prime 1 showed the way and Sideshow is gladly following, hitting hard the average consumer of their products. Deadpool Heat-Seeker for $700? Come on. Lady Deadpool for $675? Come on twice. Hulk and Deadpool LSB for $980? Without ES? When the marvelous mixed media Joker LSB costed $700 an year or two back? Come on… Not to mention the ArtPrints that jumped from $90 to $180 only god knows why….

Sideshow Swamp Thing will be the last statue I will buy in my life. Depending on the price. Only because is my all-time favorite character. I never imagined somebody would do a 1/4 figure of him. And a marvelous figure at that I must admit. At first, I was shocked with the bold, daring art direction but grew to love it with passing of time and more images revealed. I just wonder how much it will cost… And the 1/3 Swamp Thing from Prime 1, for that matter… If their prices are somewhere near I’ll get extremely pissed.

On a side note, I know I said I would quit with the last figure I bought but I would never imagine Sideshow to do a Swamp Thing. Never crossed my mind. And now that it is coming into fruition it happens in a market with artificially inflated prices. So inflated I might not be able to afford it. It’s almost ironic if it wasn’t tragic. And yes, I assume I’m addicted to collecting and that will be hard to let go the habit. However, Sideshow forces me to do it and may well force many others too. As the last bastion of affordable 1/4 comics-based pieces, Sideshow is falling short…


Sorry for my broken English I’m a self-taught English speaker and not a good one at that… :P 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

HARD TIME FOR SIDEHSOW... WONDERFEST

Even though Sideshow takes a share of every Prime 1 statue sold, when the two are offering (almost) the same characters, looks like Prime 1 wins by more than one neck the preference of the audience, what may put SS pieces in peril. Prime 1 revealed at WonderFest their Swamp Thing 1/3 and Dog Alien (1/3 maybe) and they put Sideshow’s Swamp Thing and Alien Queen to shame according with the opinions from people from the very Sideshow Facebook group in two recent posts I did comparing the statues. This could mean Sideshow will need to rethink its strategies for their pieces, like edition sizes and even prices. For the grace of Sideshow clientele. I’m not certain about that, it’s mere speculation I must add. But the reception of Prime 1 pieces were so overwhelming that one cannot avoid to wonder. And I wonder that when the RSVP for both Prime 1 pieces go online, the number will far surpass Sideshow’s offerings, giving clear sign that Sideshow have two problems on their hands and that are more to come when the new similar licenses from Prime 1 appear, like Predator and Marvel. It will be hard for Sideshow to justify a $ 1,150, 27 inch Jungle Predator Maquette against a 1/3 perfectly recreated Predator from Prime 1. Times are changing for Sideshow. The share they receive for each Prime 1 figure sold will not cover the loss of not selling their own. I don’t know if it will really happen. It’s just an indication from the answers to the questions I’ve posted regarding the four statues. Sideshow will need to review their market plans or only the more artsy guys, like me, will get their Swamp Thing, which I believe are a minority group in collector’s universe.




Swamp Thing went in two completely different directions in his characterization by the two companies. Sideshow dared to design an out of the box piece, with a bold and creative art direction that changes all about Swamp Thing but the essential for him to look like the character. Prime 1 stuck to the norm and made a very traditional ST statue (that will certainly please the purists) and added a ton of detail and attachments to it. Of course, the crowd, more conservative and amazed by the sheer amount of detail of the piece, preferred Prime 1 version over Sideshow’s. And, to be honest, the piece is fabulous, the small foliage and other plant parts compounding the figure are put in so much detail that are nothing short of magnificent. The only problem is that it carries no expressiveness whatsoever. It’s extremely well done but has zero personality. In one word, looks lifeless. In addition, it is too big for my room. The pose is uninspired and the expression looks dull. Looks like a computer thing generated to look perfect but looks much more like a doll than Sideshow’s statue.

Sideshow Swamp Thing lacks the detail and the fidelity but oozes personality through every vine. And has that vibe of a hand sculpted piece which I’m almost certain it is. For all of this – and for being 1/4 instead of 1/3 – I will go against the flock once more and opt for Sideshow. As I said in one reply, my mind says one thing regarding these statues and my heart tells another. I tend to follow my heart. This if I can afford Sideshow Swamp Thing, I mean.




About Alien Queen Maquette (Sideshow) and Dog Alien (Prime 1), figure alone, Dog Alien draws more attention and looks more detailed and well painted, even bigger than Alien Queen. Counting with the base Alien Queen surpasses greatly Prime 1, presenting an amazing highly detailed and rich display. Furthermore, Sideshow have the Queen, a pivotal character of the series. Much more than Dog Alien is. It’s a tougher match but those who didn't choose Prime 1 alone said would stay with both, none chose Sideshow only on the post. So, in the end, Prime 1 is still in advantage over Sideshow on this one too. The only differential Sideshow will have from now on is the price since an Alien fan or a Swamp Thing fan probably will not bother to have one 1/3 scale of their favorite character in their collections being the statues so amazing. If Sideshow keep prices on the rise, they may end up losing this game on the long run. Even getting a percentage of Prime 1 revenues, Sideshow may wind-up having lots of statues stuck in their stock and being forced to appeal to promotions to move pieces Prime 1 did better than them (in the majority of collectors’ eyes, I mean). Sure, in terms of RSVP, Sideshow began with a head-start since their pieces came out first and both were very praised on SDCC. But let’s see how many of these will convert into actual sales now that Prime 1 put its cards on the table. More chapters to come as Prime 1 starts to release all the others new licenses it now detains.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Sideshow fan. The only Prime one piece that I would have would be Batman Beyond Golden Version (but, then again, not enough room or money and SS Swamp Thing and new Red Sonja come first). However, it will be a fierce battle against Prime 1 from now on. Imagine a Prime 1 1/3 Wolverine Jim Lee style? I can imagine eBay flooded with Wolverine Legendary Scale statues…

On the 1/4 front they go almost head to head. Almost. I think Sideshow has the advantage as much as I disliked the new Wolverine and the new Magneto but these two pieces does not overshadows all Sideshow history of creative, expressive pieces. In the 1/4 realm, I believe XM is closer to Sideshow than Prime 1… for now. I find P1 pieces to be without personality whatsoever, just oozes detail and a nice finishing. It’s all bells and whistles and not much more. Additionally, I just happen to hate the “translucent resin” they use for skin, it only reminds me those sex dolls. Lol. But this is a personal taste. Or lack of it. Lol. Then again, Sideshow still have the advantage of price, but with its market strategy of increasing the prices of the figures at every new launch, soon it won’t be a factor anymore.

What I know is that a cold war has begun. Between allies. It is a very interesting moment to be part of this hobby. Who wins? The collectors with more options to choose, of course. Or loses if they choose to get the statues from both companies. Lol.


On a final note, I might be delusional and at the end there won’t be cannibalization of the SS market by Prime 1. Let’s wait and see. It will be fun to watch.  



RUN. FLEX PAYMENT STARTS IN AUGUST.

The Incredible Hulk Marvel Life-Size Bust


Predator Jungle Hunter Predator Maquette


Batmobile DC Comics Polystone Diorama


Batman Beyond - Gold Edition DC Comics Statue



Tuesday, July 25, 2017

TOP 10 SIDESHOW FIGURES FROM SDCC

All top tens are highly subjective. This one is no exception. Fell free do disagree, as I’m sure everyone who reads this will. I didn't count 1/6 action figures on this list. And only SS pieces, no Iron Studios or Prime 1.

10 – Suicide Squad Joker. I was in doubt between him and Batwoman but I ended up with him because of two major factors: it’s the first time that Sideshow does a real-life character that really resembles the source and by the outstanding mixed media clothing of the piece. Easiest one of the best efforts from SS Cut & Sew team I’ve ever seen. The figure just stands out from the crowd for its colorful outfit and, as I said, the fidelity to the source is unmatched regarding Sideshow. Batwoman comes close with her fabulous black white and red contrast and altogether beautiful sculpt but Joker just oozes personality and is a movie character I really feel like having and I’m not into movie characters.




9 – Deadpool Life-Size Bust. How do you do a realistic caricature? Simply you do a Deadpool life-size bust. Mixing the right amount of funny and detail, this is certainly one of the best busts ever done by Sideshow. The expression of Deadpool is priceless and he comes equipped with all the grenades and swords to be ready for a fight for your attention in every display. The paintjob is top notch and is another of those pieces full of personality and humor without being (too) ridiculous. I think Sideshow found a very special balance here that is so hard to achieve.


    

8 – Batman – Gotham City Nightmare. How to reinvent a character so overly done? The answer is to search in the realm of dreams or, better saying, nightmares. Highly detailed and expertly painted this terrifying take on Batman wowed me by the bold art direction. Not even the gargoyle was immune to the nightmare and seems to gain life as another scary figure, a companion to the man-bat figure over it. With an extra-head that bears more resemblance with Batman as we know it, this is a winner piece and proof that Sideshow is indeed the most creative company in the industry.




7 – Malavestros PF. From so many Court of the Dead excellent pieces was hard to choose one that stood out but on his second year on the Comic Con floor he’s still a sight to behold. Besides not being so monstrous as other characters of the line, the skinny jester is beautifully sculpted and detailed and his base is the best PF base sideshow had to offer this year. Full of details like books, coins, candles and even skulls. The scroll is a psychedelic sculpture by itself, depicting a fight between a little angel and a tiny devil and encompassing all the colors from blue to yellow. The paintjob of the piece is outstanding and make it stood out from the rest which is no easy task given the quality of the line where it belongs. Odium is a sight to behold with his gargantuan presence but the tiny Malavestros is still the best Court of the Dead has to offer as a whole (base + statue). If the first version of the devilish siren were still available, it would be harder to choose as that was a magnificent and creative piece as well but in her absence, the crown goes to the jester.




6 – Red Sonja PF. What can I say of this figure? It is simply the best female sculpture ever done by Sideshow. What is no small thing to say. Sideshow has been increasing year after year their capacity of doing astonishingly beautiful female characters, but this year they surpassed themselves by a mile with the most beautiful face and most feminine body ever. The pose, powerful yet relaxed and contemplative (and still sexy) of one who just experienced victory is unmatched. Even though the base is quite forgettable. From the not so red tip of the hair to the bloody tip of her boots, the new Red Sonja PF won my heart and if I have the opportunity to order only one piece next year she will be it. Obs.: I’m not really sure if this is a Sideshow statue since it didn’t appear on the Marvel recap video SS did and on the bottom of her preview picture there was the Dynamite name, so one just wonder… but I’ll take it as if it is.




5 – Swamp Thing Maquette. First things first: Swamp Thing is my all-time favorite character and when I heard Sideshow would be doing a statue of him, I stayed in awe. I confess I’m on the fence about this figure because I’m probably overly conservative about my beloved character. However, I cannot deny the bold and creative art direction of this piece and the magnificent result. With complex texture that mixture plant with an alien-esque feel, Swamp Thing is imposing and claims for the attention of the viewer. I didn’t see him in person but it seems to be taller than your average 1/4 scale, as Swamp Thing really should be since he’s a big character on the comics. Even though not following with the fidelity I desired the comics one can easily identify that is Swamp Thing there. Even with a different color pallet. Even with the floating vines. Even if glossy. Apart all of this, Swamp Thing Maquette is an extremely well crafted sculpture and looks like it has been hand sculpted (what I like). It’s full of details and varied textures that really grabs one’s eye. Very artistic and conceptual. I have to admire it even though it’s not the Swamp Thing I dreamt of.  




4 – Alien Queen Maquette. Simply amazing. Maybe is not as dynamic as the Alien King composition with his horde of xenomorphs going out of the holes and following him but the Alien Queen is certainly full of movement as she menacingly runs into attack. The base is also incredibly detailed and complex with all those eggs rooted on the ship floor and the xenomorphs. All in all is an incredible piece that Aliens fans will certainly rejoice. I found it amazing even not being a movie character collector myself. One of the most detailed – if not the most detailed – piece presented by Sideshow this year. Most certainly, it has to do with Legacy Effects participation on the project. Kudos to them and Sideshow.




3 – Iron Man Mark III Maquette. Opposed to Swamp Thing I guess this is the Iron Man everyone dreamt of. Looks like Sideshow captured the platonic vision of Iron Man that inhabits our minds and transformed into a statue. The pose is perfect. It is so imposing that the statue seems bigger than it really is. The base is also very cool as well as the paint app. Everything in this Maquette is flawless. I think this Iron Man will be very tough to beat (note that I said Iron Man not Hulkbuster…). If I ever go for a movie character or a non-classic Iron Man this will be it.


  

2 – Hulk Life-Size Bust. I know this is quite polemic, there is a lot of hating about this piece. About all regarding it, the painting, the expression, the face altogether, the weight and blah, blah, blah. However, I find it to be the best bust in the history of Sideshow. I think it is perfect, the ultimate combination of comics feel with hyper-realism. And I love the painting. It’s so complex and full of textures, hues and details. It beats my former favorite one, Joker LSB. It beats almost every other offering from Sideshow this year on SDCC. It made me spend $980 in a piece, a thing I’ve never imagined I would do in my life. And will certainly be the last time I spend such an humongous amount in one single piece. This will be the central piece of my collection, my personal grail, my most beloved statue. Besides all criticism, I think this is really a work of art. Of pop art. But art nevertheless.  




1 – Thanos on Throne Maquette. It would be heresy not to put this one in first. It’s a perfect piece that is praised but just about everyone. I cannot see anything to complain about it. In an era when everyone puts everything on thrones, Thanos does not feel forced sitting on his. It’s completely pertinent with the character. The head sculpt on both heads is spot on; he is as massive as he should be. The outfit is cool and creative while not detracting from the original source material. The pose is astounding, the throne is immensely detailed and the gems still light up. In one word: flawless. A grail as we know it.




Did you notice a pattern here? Apart from the bust, the top five is all composed by Maquettes, what maybe mean that this is the new “excellence” line of Sideshow. The best among the best. Or maybe it’s just coincidence. I don’t know. Want to hear thoughts. What would you take and replace from this top ten? Someone just yelled to take out the ridiculous Hulk LSB from the list? I don’t mind. This is just my opinion. I’ll listen/read and respect yours.

Oh, and be sure to check our newest interview with Imaginarium Art owner! :)

Monday, July 24, 2017

INTERVIEW WITH IMAGINARIUM ART OWNER DANNY LIM

He is a very approachable guy with no restrictions whatsoever. He owns one of the beloved studios from Singapore, Imaginarium Art, and his line of Iron Man figures are praised by many, even though it’s hard to North American people get his pieces.


1 – What do you think sets Imaginarium Arts apart from the fierce competition of the collectibles market nowadays?

Danny Lim: Every statue company has their own touch, be it licensed or customs, every designer gives their greatest effort to ensure acceptance from the community.  In fact, we greatly respect their work.  At the same time, IA sets ourselves apart by producing statues that changes posture by switching limbs and torsos to ensure fresh look on display shelves as and when our fans like.  On color, it is a challenging task to keep up with what fans want, to counter fierce competition to be as accurate as we can.


2 – Why so many Iron-Mans? Could you explain that to us? What else do you have under your sleeve? I see you’re focusing on Transformers as well. Do you have a special taste for robots?

DL: I am a fan of Robots, as Iron Man falls into the same category. I decided this is what we would love to do. In our first 1:2 scale Iron Patriot, our expectation for it was high, we could not imagine we pull it off so well with color application, and hence our factory became one of the best Iron Man producer in China.

As a Death Metal fan, I had always wanted to do something under Horror category, let’s see how we can twist this out in the future.

Yes, Personally, I am a Japanese Anime Robot Fan, I collect Bandai’s Soul of Chogokin from GX-01 Mazinger till now, so robots are my forte.  They capture me with their excellent shiny paintwork while on display.


3 – What’s the differentials seek when developing a new piece?

DL: Though it’s a statue we produce, we seek playability aspect of it too, for example, a pose change statue can be another avenue of playability.  The face sculpt is also an important factor which we always seek good painters to work on color application on production.


4 – You seem to work only with big-sized figures from 1/1 to 1/4. Why this choice?

DL: Personally, I like bigger display in my house, as the details can be seen from afar, and catches more attention at home for me. Also, licensing concern, there are a huge pool of licensees holding many years of smaller scale categories.  Well, we do with what we can have, and work towards success.


5 – Do you believe that characters on throne sells well? Because you made Aquaman on throne and Sideshow launched Thanos on throne and there’s XM famous Magneto on throne. Is this a trend you intend to follow?

DL: Not Exactly, it really depends on the character, to be exact, all kings sit on thrones, for Aquaman, in Chinese, it called King of the sea translated, oh well, then he need a throne.  Our upcoming  Coronation Starscream is on throne as well, he wears a crown and likely to fit in a throne, would be suitable.

The success of other brands with characters on throne, IA congratulates them on their success.


6 – What licenses Imaginarium Art have and for which markets?

DL: We currently hold Hasbro’s Generation 1 license in Asia + North America.  There will be more to come.





7 – Which piece is the biggest IA success up until now?

DL: There are different successes in every release we have, namely, 1:2 scale Mark 42, Mark 17, our 1:1 Helmets, Hulk Busters, they truly brought up the name of company.


8 – What character do you want IA to make that wasn’t done or is not possible to be done just yet?

DL: I would love to make a Transforming Japanese Anime Robot Voltes V in diecast material.


9 – Who do you say it’s your direct competitor in the market today? What do you offer that the said concurrent doesn’t offer and what is the same?

DL: Basically, it’s the paint work, sculpt details, and product accuracy. There are more companies that produce accuracy too. It’s really not up to us to say who is better.  In the end, it’s always the fan that chooses which brand they want to buy from.  If it’s us that they choose, we are most grateful and will keep working hard to fulfill all the requests of our customers.


10 – What is you wildest dream for IA?

DL: My wildest dream for IA is to have me retired and start sunbathing in Hawaii with 2 bikini girls!


11 – Who is you favorite all-time character? Do you have a license for it?

DL: My all-time favorite character would be God of War’s Kratos. Oh well, we don’t have the license but I prefer to buy just 1 for keep sake in the market.  Gaming Heads made a good one on throne.


12 – Is you who decides what pieces/characters/poses will be produced or the development team has some input in the decisions about a new release?

DL: I would think of a draft concept, what the characters should be, poses as well, and we table out all the possibilities in a team to explore production, paint work, and packaging.  It’s a team effort.


13 – Do you consider yourself very centralizer regarding the way you run your company? Do you have some problem to delegate some decisions to other members of the team?

DL: For collectibles industry, it is important to have people with good knowledge, skills at what they do best and enthusiasm with good energy.


14 – Speaking of team, how many work at Imaginarium Art? What are the departments of the company? Is there someone or a team to manage quality control of the pieces in the factories? Because I never saw nobody complaining about IA having any production problems.

DL: Occasionally, there are support issues needed for our products. Electronic problems bound to happen sometimes but very minimal.

We have Design & Art team, Admin & Customer Support, Factory coordinator (Me!), Quality Control Managers, Logistics team, these are the basics as every company needs.


15 – Name three IA pieces you’re really proud of.

DL: Iron Man Hulkbuster, Iron Man Mark 42, Transformers Soundwave


16 – Name three pieces from other companies that you see as great accomplishments.

DL: Sideshow’s Thanos on Throne; Prime One’s Transformers Movie version, all of them;
First 4 Figures’ Zelda


17 – Three favorite bands or singers/composers etc.

DL: Whispered (Finland), Dimmu Borgir (Norway), Nightwish (Finland)


18 – Do you still use hand sculpt on IA or is all digital as it is the new reality of our hobby?

DL: Most of our sculpt are digitally sculpted as it gives the freedom to amend and resize within a short time.  It does not mean manual sculpt is but it takes a longer time, as we all know licensing time frame keeps the clock ticking.  As well as, it takes a very good hand sculptor to produce what we need.  Unless it’s a custom, where time is not a concern, hand sculpt can be considered.






19 – What’s the average time of development of a Imaginarium Art piece, from the first idea to the boxed product ready to go to the buyer?

DL: Depending on the model itself, mechanical projects takes a longer time to cast due to multiple parts and it could go up to hundreds of little parts.  Organic Projects like Batman, takes a shorter time.

Form an idea till a ready product, it takes about 6 - 9 months to complete 1 project.


20 – How do you decide the edition sizes (ES) of each piece? What was the biggest and the smallest ES from IA?

DL: We decide the ES based on the popularity of the character, at times, based on our distributor’s estimation.  The Biggest is our Transformers G1 Soundwave and lowest is our Guardians of the Galaxy Milano.


21 – What do you think about the quick raise of prices of certain collectible companies? Do you think this is a movement of all industry? What do you think are the factors that lead to this immense raise of the prices?

DL: The quick raise of pricing currently is a concern, we agree China labor cost and standard has raised, standard of living too.  It’s an expensive hobby now, we have fans that have to save for months just to buy our Soundwave, as for this, considering factory owners producing statues are driving BMW, Audi, Mercedes Benz and even Porsche. They know the market too, so jacking up the price is somehow normal regarding this.

We are looking into ways of producing products in a more affordable way with no compromise on quality, working hard on this.


22 – Three favorite games.

DL: Crash Bandicoot, Starcraft, Uno card game


23 – Three favorite movies.

DL: Saving Private Ryan, The Lady Killers, Pacific Rim


27 – What would astonish you the most: to see a ghost or to see an alien?

DL: Neither, I would be very astonish to see Jabba the hutt drinking an Ice Cold Beer with me.


28 – Live a phrase, a bombastic revelation or a quote to our fellow readers.

DL: Be true to yourself, and keep going in what you do if you think is right, obstacles will happen along the way, stay focus and believe in yourself.



29 – Many people think Imaginarium Art is gone. What can you tell to those people?

Imaginarium Art is not gone at all, in fact, we have grown into a better company, rumors are rumors, and rumors are powerful in social media platforms.  People use perks and money to engage parties to create rumors.  That’s life, it’s either we fall into this trap or keep up.  Anyway, it’s of not of a concern to us.

The fact is we have new warehouses, new team, new offices, better IA Warriors, new manufacturing partners to keep ourselves up to this game.  How can we be gone or bought over if we are still posting and producing new sculpts to show our fans for production? 

Not the time yet to go Hawaii with 2 bikini girls yet for me.  Still got statues to produce…..hahahaha


Thank you for your time and patience. I’m sure the readers will really enjoy this interview, especially Imaginarium Art fans.






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Thursday, July 20, 2017

IMPRESSIONS ON SDCC

I will only write about the figures that marked me in some way. For better or worst. I will only talk about statues since I don’t collect 1/6 articulated figures. I will separate this post into two topics, disappointments and impressive. Let’s begin with disappointments.

DISAPPOINTMENTS

Terrible paint app! Yuck!

1 – The lame production painting of Killer Croc. I found the face painting of the production piece of Killer Croc to be lousy and lazy. I feel like I was fooled by the astonishing prototype painting and buy a pig in a poke. Airbrushing the black on the teeth the way they did was lazy to say the least. Very disappointed and had so high expectations about this piece. I think I will going to sell it without even open the box. (Update: I cancelled my pre-order...)




2 – I think I’m not alone on this one: Magneto. I have to admit there were maybe too much anticipation and too high expectations about this piece but the finished revealed piece was nothing better than regular. Among the huge amount of versions of Magneto available both licensed and custom and with the magnificent white Magneto coming from XM, Sideshow fell short to stand out from the crowd. The base is okay, the mixed media cape was a terrible choice, the uniform was okay, best part of the figure. The pose was very uninspired, very “me too”, but I guess this is a recurring problem with Magneto, everybody wants to see him levitating looking like he’s using his hands to manipulate metal, so it’s an issue of the character more than of Sideshow. What was a big letdown for me was the face sculpt. I found it to be just plain ugly. Such a big nose. Hope the unmasked version, if this will be the ex, does a better job portraying him. I don’t care much for Magneto at all, so I wouldn’t order it even if it turned out to be an incredible figure, but I can sense the disappointment of the fans who eagerly waited for SS awesomeness on this figure. The base was okay though, even if yet again using a sentinel, I liked the way the head seemed twisted and kneaded by Magneto’s power.




3 – Wolverine. I think this piece would belong better on XM’s catalog than on Sideshow’s. The textured outfit and the bad head sculpt, not to mention the uninspired pose all check. The feeling it’s a smaller scale figure I get so much when looking at XM pieces is present too. I think this to be a great waste of time and a very boring statue overall. Wolverine deserved better. I liked how detailed the base is though. As a companion piece to Magneto, it had to be a sentinel part, and the most iconic part of the character besides his head is his hand so it was a no-brainer. Well, Magneto deserved an opponent at his (low) height and he got one. I guess I’m more disappointed with Wolverine than with Magneto. Maybe because I already saw early efforts from Sideshow regarding the character that oozed personality which this piece completely lacks. But then again, I couldn’t care less about Wolverine as I have the statue of him I want.




4 – The most expected piece of my collector’s life, the Swamp Thing Maquette, turned out to be a huge letdown. Well not that huge since I liked the original take they put on the texture of the character body, even though it looked more alien than plant-like, but it looked cool nevertheless. I let pass the color scheme, much brighter and more yellowish than Swamp thing original palette. I’m cool with that too since it looked great. The strange glossy finishing also didn’t bothered me much, one can imagine he just emerged from the waters of the swamp and is wet, since plants are not often that glossy. What really bothered me was the “creative” take on my all-time favorite character’s head. The floating vines could not help but remind me of that tentacle-faced character of Pirates of the Caribbean. That was unforgivable. And I found the face to be less detailed than the overall piece. My only hope is that they do an alternate “classic” head as the exclusive item for this figure. However, I think this isn’t going to happen as it seems that the figure is “whole” there’s no detachable parts (apart from some of the horrendous floating vines). The final blow will be probably the price as I imagine that this “Maquette” thing is a designation Sideshow created to sell overpriced pieces. I admit I got a little depressed because of this piece, since I know I won’t get another Sideshow Swamp Thing statue in my life. The only bright side is that I will save a whole lot of money by not ordering it. As a last hope I know Prime 1 is making a New 52 version of Swamp Thing. Although by the render I saw it doesn’t resembles the Moore/Totleben ST at all, it seemed much more wooden-made that plant-made, but a lot can change and they can actually put an acceptable vision of my most beloved character (which I doubt). Why you did this Sideshow? Why? I was complaining that Wolverine and Magneto had zero artistic creativity and you decided to put all your creative vision on the character I’m more conservative about. This seems ironic, to be honest. I like creative takes of my characters but not that creative. Not Pirates of the Caribbean creative. I think Sideshow crossed the line here and turned an otherwise magnificent piece into an aberration. I know Swamp Thing is an aberration, what turns it all the more ironic.
(Update: I'm more on the fence now, the more I look the more I grow used to it but need to see Prime 1 Swamp Thing hopefully in WonderFest on July 29th to draw my conclusions. One that I reached is that I need a Swamp Thing 1/4 in my collection regardless if I love it or just like it. I won't have another shot. Which one will be is the big question...)  




5 – Not that I ever considered buying such a gigantic piece, don’t have the space in my room (or wallet) but I found Batman Legendary Scale to be an anatomical disaster. The legs are way too short and thin compared to the rest of the body and the muscles of the abdomen are way too many. It would be much better if they did a life-size bust because the head is the only thing that’s cool about this piece. The belt in bright yellow is discrepant with the dark tone of the figure. 
A total mess in my opinion. (Oh my, how is easy to criticize, I’m impressed by that. I’m not that used to do so much bashing at once and am amazed how easy it comes out.)

6 – Iron Studios pieces overall didn’t impress me at all, especially Marvel’s, but that’s no major failure either. Just don’t like the style. The only really impressive piece from the company was the Batman Black Version 1/3 statue. For me, among the truckload of Batamans available, was the best one and this says a lot. Batman vs Bane comes in second as my preferred pieces from the Brazilian company.



7 – It’s not really a disappointment, it’s exactly what was expected to be but Lady Deadpool (as Heat-Seeker) is a complete overload mess. If they only had put both legs stretched, it would be more feminine and more akin to a real-life fighting pose. On the other hand, the add-ons will be the coolest I’ve seen in a while from Sideshow. An alternate unmasked head and Headpool are no small offerings.

Well, that’s enough with criticizing. Now with I found impressive. Remembering this is a one-man opinion, you’re more than welcome to differ and share your own point of view.


 IMPRESSIVE



1 – I have to begin with Red Sonja. I give you that it has a pretty uninspired base, just a bunch of rocks with a bloody head, and her hair does not appear really red, but everything else about the statue is perfect. The anatomy of the body not to muscular, the confident yet relaxed pose and the brilliant head sculpt makes this the best female character ever did by Sideshow in my opinion. I hope I’m fortunate enough to have her in my collection since I love pretty female characters and don’t have any Red Sonja yet. It’s not a character I really care about but this one I like very much. Just wonder what Dynamite stands for…




2 – I’m not into movie collectibles but the Alien Queen Maquette really grabbed my attention. Besides being very detailed and menacing, like it is galloping to attack, the base is so detailed and full of elements, it is a sight to behold. One of the best pieces displayed on the show hands down.




3 – Freddy Kruger was other that got me wowed. The character depiction is perfect, the painting of the head is top-notch and the base with it’s infinity depth mirror trick really adds to the piece. A winner. Must cost a small fortune though. Oh, and ECC's Jason has a incredible base as well, though Jason as a character, with his hockey mask is not a astonishing sculpt as Freddy.



4 – When I believed I was through with Iron Man Sideshow comes to prove me wrong. Their Iron Man Mark III Maquette is the one Iron Man to have. The pose is perfect, very imposing and heroic, the painting is extremely well done (let’s see the production pieces, though) and the base is cool enough for me. It seem big and bold. Outstanding piece.

5 – The Megatron with T-Rex hand impressed me. I’m not a Transformers fan let alone this Beast variant, but the sheer details of the T-Rex hand alone won me. The pose is very dynamic for a 1/3 piece (I guess is 1/3) and lights adds the bells and whistles to the piece. Sweet. Even though regarding Transformers - and everything else - this was a very weak Prime one show compared to last year.



6 – Hulk LSB. I have to mention it otherwise I’ll be betraying myself. I think this is the best LSB Sideshow ever done, supplanting even the phenomenal Joker bust of yesteryears. I even happen to like the color scheme! Lol. I think Sideshow achieved the right balance of comics style with hyper-realism in this piece. It may be light but I’ll not be moving it from the entrance of my room where I can scare some newcomer and always watch this masterpiece every time I enter my room. I know the majority of the collectors hates this piece but I just happen to deeply love it. The most expensive statue I’ve ever bought and I hope it continues this way.


Give an everlasting flavor of Halloween to your house!

 7 – Court of the Dead offerings. It was extremely impressive the sheer amount of pieces from this line Sideshow brought to the table this year. It just shows how dearly Sideshow holds their own IP. Overall very impressive statues and some oddities like the real-life line. Who the heck will want a life-size Supreme Death in one’s home? Or the ornaments? I really don’t know, I just want to see the price of Supreme Death once it’s out for PO. If the 1/4 figures are already expensive let alone this monstrosity (in every way).




8 – Tweeterhead Joker. The first piece of the company that really made my eyes glow. Everything about the piece is top, painting, details, head sculpt, even though is just a 1/6 statue it behaves like a 1/4. Kudos for Tweeterhead for going the extra mile with this piece.



The star of the show.


9 - I almost forgot the most unforgettable piece on the show: Thanos on Throne. Is quite perfect. What more can I say? It's a grail. Will make a lot of collectors extremely happy if the production pieces match the quality of the prototype. Am I mistaken or the stones light up? A plus to a magnificent piece. I won't order it because I'm not into Thanos, barely know the character and the price is a little too salty for me. I preferred to spend my bullets on Hulk LSB. For the ones who are getting him. Happy collecting!


Well, I guess these sums up the things that grabbed my attention for the best or worse on the SDCC. The rest of the pieces were from regular to good, so average in general. Since so little deserved my time I think this was a very warm show this year. I remember making a much more extensive report of the show last year. Maybe because it was the first I followed (through Facebook groups, never went to one) in my life. Or maybe because there were less engaging pieces this year. Or maybe I’m becoming more selective. I don’t know. I know I realized that criticize is far more easier than praise and this is an insight that doesn’t lift my soul one bit. I wish it was the inverse but was not what happened here. Was not what happened with me. But I avoid to criticize people, I think it is unnecessary to hurt anyone’s feelings so I keep the critics to myself if any. I have the tendency to criticize myself a lot. As much as I try to take it more easy on me I can’t avoid but to be punitive with myself. But this is not a subject to be discussed here. I have a blog in Portuguese for this. It’s my therapy. Lol.