NECA Delivers…

NECA-7-Inch-Superman-001NECA-7-Inch-Superman-012NECA-7-Inch-Superman-015NECA-7-Inch-Superman-018Despite repeated denials on the subject when the question of the possibility of a smaller scale Reeve Superman figure was posed by SUPERMANIA on Twitter, NECA have surpassed expectations by not only producing this all-new 7″ figure but having in the shelves already.

Part of an exclusive promotion (similar to their Keaton Batman figure DVD tie-in a few years back) by Warner Bros. to boost DVD sales, this limited-edition figure is one of three (Adam West Batman and Heath Ledger Joker scaled down from their respective 1/4 scale versions) available online and selected branches of TRU.

Famed for their constant interaction with fans it would appear NECA have heeded some criticism from fans regarding some of the inaccuracies of their recent quarter-scale release (especially the headsculpt) and have delivered a superb package worthy of any collectors inventory.

While the likeness is improved beyond measure by the flattening of the hair and broader face, the figure appears skinny overall and the chest shield (bottom pic) is still an embarrassing afterthought.  Minor quibbles with what is the most elegantly presented figure in any scale to date with a beautiful box (top pic) and sporting a fabulous cloth cape (third pic) this is a serious contender for the best Superman action figure to date.

Due to restrictions of the promotion this figure is frustratingly limited to the USA at present with no word from NECA on whether or not the run will be extended or indeed make it overseas.  The apparent indifference from NECA regarding availability paired with QC issues reportedly arising from the first batch (breakable limbs and poor paint apps) may have left a poor first impression but overall this release should be cause for celebration for fans of the classic Superman Movies…

Thanks to TOYARK for the quality pics – read their review here

‘I/4th Art Works…’

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While it would be SUPERMANIA’s ultimate pleasure to inform Superfan’s that what you see here is an all-new soon-to-be-available licensed statue from (insert your favourite manufacturer here), sadly this breathtaking work in progress is the latest private art from the father of the Hot Toys Superman figure – Arnie Kim.

Literally expanding his longtime 1/4 scale head project to a full-figure, the shots above portray the astonishing level of detail Arnie is renowned for even on a sculpt that will mostly be enveloped in costume.

And what a sculpt it is – rather than opting for a generic body Kim has obviously put as much work into studying his subject’s physique as he has the face, perfectly capturing Christopher Reeve’s proportions (long legs, short torso) as well as the finer motif’s such as the protruding ribcage and broad shoulders (top pic) making it the most accurate rendition in this scale to date.

And the pose, simplicity itself, proving beyond doubt that a statue need not be contorted into an uncomfortable looking ‘action’ pose to be dynamic.

The future of this piece is unknown at this point, maybe even to Mr. Kim himself.  There is always hope, however, that this could be made available in a similar fashion to Arnie’s recent (extremely) limited run of the finished headsculpt.  While these were expensive, certainly, the quality was such that its unlikely their current owners will ever part with them.  Should this figure yield a similar run history may well repeat itself.  We shall see…

NECArrives…

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From the NECA website;

“We still believe a man can fly… Decades after its release, Christopher Reeve iconic portrayal of Superman: The Movie in the 1978 remains the definitive version. Working closely with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and Warner Bros, we are deeply honored to present this new 1/4 scale action figure of the hero as generations have known him.

Superman stands over 18” tall and features the authorized likeness of Christopher Reeve. The figure comes with a tailored soft fabric cape and interchangeable hands. Highly poseable and movie-accurate, this is a must-have for fans of every age. Ships to retailers in May!”

Highly anticipated and unveiled only yesterday at the New York toyfair, flourishing US toy company NECA, having already capitalized on vintage WB/DC Batman properties, finally came through with their long-hinted Superman figure in quarter scale.

Presenting the fourth contemporary action figure (discounting statues) based on the likeness of Christopher Reeve (top pic), NECA will be the first to release the largest to date at a whopping 18″ tall due to be released this May.

Cautiously optimistic since the announcement from last year’s NY Toyfair and encouraged by the company’s output and constant interaction with fans through their Twitter account, SUPERMANIA is typically as frustrated with the prototype shown (second third & fourth pics) as it is elated.

For something apparently approved by the Reeve estate and WB, its galling that something that claims to be Movie Accurate (that term again!) has obvious issues in the forehead area (where the towering hairline makes the hair itself appear disproportionate) and the now standard free (juvenile) interpretation of the chest shield detract from a figure that gets so many other details right.  Indeed, among the positives are the rendering of the boots, (managing not only to achieve the correct cuff widths but even incorporating the correct seams) passable representations of the screen seen costume colours, correct cut of the shorts and a correct length cape.  The likeness, though suffering from slight cross eyes in the prototype (top pic) has great merit with the nose, cheekbones and lips possibly the best attempt since Hot Toys 1/6 version.

Of particular note is how NECA have listened to their fans and gone to considerable effort to mask the articulation in this figure (always difficult in a ‘skintight’ suited body) having wisely excised the abdominal joint that became such a distracting eyesore on the Adam West Batman figure.

As ever, one hopes for intervention and some amendments being made before the figure goes to production (and, refreshingly, for NECA this would not be a first) but as of right now, one can forsee this item being popular in its own right and of infinite potential for customisation.  SUPERMANIA will keep you informed…

Thanks to TOYARK for the pics taken from the show…

“Freeee!”

DSC_3211DSC_3214DSC_3217DSC_3216SUPERMANIA closes out the month the way it began with a pictorial review of Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse General Zod from Superman II.

As of now only the third figure ever to bear the likeness of Terrance Stamp as everybody’s favourite Kryptonian villain, this release had credible competition as its 1/6 counterpart (from the 12″ Movie Masters series) was far and away the best of the trio with its all-round superior sculpt.

Thankfully nothing has been lost in the character’s translation to 4″ scale, with crisp details similar to the Superman figure and splendid articulation.  Perhaps wisely this time the maroon highlights (a subject of contention with the 12″ figure) were dropped in favour of the perceived all-black costume as seen in Richard Lester’s footage.  Zod even has an accessory in the bendy shape of an M-16 rifle which is a nice little touch but again, given the authenticity promised, a straight one with strap would’ve been welcome (and where was Superman’s accessory?  is a tiny crystal too much to ask??)

Only minor quibbles then in an otherwise solid release – now, can/will Mattel follow through and fulfil collectors dreams by rounding out the group with Ursa and Non or are they to remain in the eternal void that is the toy Phantom Zone..?

Barbie Lane…

Lois Barbie ArtsexyLOISLois_Mego_CustomPictures6-001Right up there with the figure enthusiasts question of why the Mego Corp. failed to produce a 12″ WIlma Deering from Buck Rogers In The 25th Century (in the likeness of Erin Gray) is where was the Lois Lane figure in the Superman line?

Its not as if Mego had any prejudice regarding female figures – see Ilia from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Holly Goodhead from Moonraker and Kate McCrae from the Black Hole being fine examples from the Sci-Fi genre alone, arriving long after such Mego staples as Farah Fawcett & Cher.

Besides the ever-present rights/licensing issues (as documented here) inhibiting the Superman series, could the absence of the feisty Daily Planet reporter be a result of Mattel’s plans to add Lois Lane to their own ever-expanding Barbie doll collection?  This newly-discovered concept art from the late 1970’s (top) would certainly suggest as much.

Presumably following the established Barbie tradition of offering a basic doll followed by a plethora of outfits, whether or not the dolls would bear the likeness of the divine Ms. Kidder (second pic) in her most famous role is unclear but the fact a Superman sweater worn by her for numerous publicity shoots represented in illustration here would hint at the possibility.

While this proposal sadly never came to fruition, ironically by 2006 Mattel did finally get to produce an official Lois Lane (in the likeness of Kate Bosworth) for Superman Returns – leaving fans deprived to this day of an official Lois Lane from the classic movies.

Thankfully, talented and creative Superfans frustration has evolved to fill the void with custom figures arguably tailored to a higher standard than the unmade figures may have been.  I defy even the most fervent toy historian to look at the custom Mego Lois Lane (third pic) and deny it was anything other than a genuine factory prototype.  In fact Ray Flores unmistakable Margot Kidder is a reworked Lynda Carter Wonder Woman housed in a reproduction box.  And just to give a taste of how a Barbie Lane may have looked, check out ferdalump.com’s pitch-perfect Lois from Superman II (bottom pic)…

SUPERMANIA extends its thanks to Trev2005 for use of the Mattel art from his awesome flickr page