Snap..!

DSC_1269DSC_1266DSC_1260DSC_1259-001So there may be no reveals of anything classic movie-era related coming out of New York Toyfair this month but its always nice to get something unexpected (and with no agonising waiting time) appear from nowhere.

Even having played a similar trick with their extremely popular left-field release of a 7″ tall Keaton Batman ’89 figure, it still seemed unlikely in the extreme that NECA could afford Superman similar treatment – they even said as much on Twitter and besides, didn’t Mattel have the license??

So imagine the surprise when a perfectly formed little cousin of their monster 1/4 scale pops up on the NECA website alongside an equally unanticipated Adam West ’66 Batman.

Released in conjunction with WB as a DVD Incentive (apparently the only way they were granted permission to do it) these beauties literally flew off the shelves of TRU’s all over the country and soon became the dream item of your favourite auction site’s opportunist. As for those of us across Europe desperately wanting that hole in their childhood filled too, ‘screw you’ seemed to be the prevailing attitude as this was to be a Stateside promotion only with no worldwide release pending.

Luckily for SUPERMANIA, friends and fellow SuperFans would come to the rescue and send a pair over the pond for the collection.

In hand, the figure is somewhat of a marvel but, as is common knowledge by now, their QC is abominable.  The stories of limbs snapping off like toothpicks are 100% true and the chances of finding one with without a careless paintjob were slimmer than finding one at all.

NECA got many things right.  The headsculpt (always a contentious issue) is superb, and the cloth cape mounting is the best on any Superman figure to date.  The packaging is a delight (scaling down the 1/4 scale to even better effect) instantly making this the toy you always wanted to open at Christmas.

Naturally its not all good news.  While the decal for the cape shield is a good effort, the chest logo is just as awful as the Quarter scale (where there was no excuse either) and the focal point for the worst of the paint QC.  The proportions are also slightly odd, skinny arms, narrow shoulders and short legs compounded by the thinnest belt rendering on a Reeve Superman figure so far (even Mattel got this right).  The boots go some way to making up for this but when its posed (providing you didn’t snap both legs clean off) he appears slightly bow legged.

As SUPERMANIA was one of the many infuriated by having the figure broken within seconds releasing it from the package, the decision was made to customise it, the results appearing above.  Thankfully this figure needed little in the way of adjustment to make more movie-accurate.  Printable fabric patches took care of both under-par shields (first/third pics) a little work with a craft knife added a parting to the hair (repainted to match Reeve’s hairline for the Donner years, second pic). and taking an iron to the cape (careful with this!!) made all the difference.  It was finished with gloss coat on the belt and satin on the boots.  Posed against the Hot Toys diorama (which the scale is far better suited to) and posed appropriately the result speaks for itself.

SUPERMANIA wished to thank James Sawyer (of 1989BATMAN.com and SuperFan Brian Adriaansen for their kind assistance with this post..!!

God’s Gift…

Screentest1“He hopped off of the balcony and said “Good evening Miss Lane” – and Geoffrey Unsworth looked over at me and went (mugs impressed face) because the tone was just right.  We went through the test and we knew…we had him.  I remember we sent the test back to Warner Brothers and we prayed.  We said we love, love this kid.  And they saw it and they went great, go with him, if you feel that strongly that’s terrific…”

-Tom Mankiewicz, Taking Flight – The Development of Superman

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An infamous casting call so grand in scale it echoed the the search for Scarlett O’Hara decades before, the question of just who would fill Superman’s boots for the upcoming 1978 movie would similarly become the stuff of Hollywood legend.

39 years ago today, young, idealistic and ambitious actor Christopher Reeve took to the makeshift set at Shepperton Studios clad in the most embarrassingly makeshift of superhero costumes to perform a pivotal scene for Director Richard Donner.

Sweating profusely in longjohns with layers of black shoe polish in his hair, Reeve, although clearly nervous, manages to somehow transcend the outfit and even at this early stage, convey the most human of aliens in the most earnest of ways.

It would take a year of weight gain and pumping iron before lean Reeve would fill out the cape in the style to which comic-book readers had become accustomed to over forty years, but the excitement (and relief) must have been tangible by the end of the audition process – having screened everybody from Sylvester Stallone to the producers dentist.

The final word is best left to Donner about his ‘discovery’ of the man who would go on to embody the Man of Steel for 10 years, three more movies and beyond.

“I didn’t find Chris.  God gave him to me…”

Thanks to Seb Colombo/Capedwonder.com for the rare pics above and Jim Bowers for the video.