Sunday, 18 February 2007

Shaun of the Dead figure review

You could say I have a certain fondness for Shaun of the Dead. I have seen the film more times than can be considered healthy, I have queued up for hours to meet Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright and I have dress up as Shaun himself for an alcohol fuelled Halloween party. So when, on the way home from the Toy Fair in London, I open a catalogue to see Shaun proudly standing next to the rest of the line up for Necas’ Cult Classic Series 4, I was just a little bit excited. Not quite as excited as I was when I finally saw him on the pegs of course….


Shaun comes to you in the ever popular clamshell packaging, so
everything is kept very safe and secure and it’s highly unlikely that it will get damaged in transit or on the shelf. This is doubly helpful if you intend to store him MOC, as it also shows him off very nicely indeed.

The artwork on the box is also very attractive; showing a variety of film specific images including the films poster, as well as that there are a number of shots of the figure itself. On the reverse of the package is a small blurb on the film and images of the rest of the line. Its individuality of each package that I particularly like, with it being designed with each film in mind rather than the line as a whole. Unfortunately though, in this case it also backfires a little with the colour scheme being rather dark, making it harder for it too jump of the pegs when you see it in store, but that’s only a minor quibble.
Once you do crack him open, all that keeps you from playing with Shaun, is a few twist ties, so have some scissors handy.

You can always rely on Neca to produce a sculpt which, at the very least, is above average. So it should come as absolutely no surprise when I say that the sculpt is damn good. Shaun comes to us posed in the same way as he does on the films poster, cricket bat and flowers in hand. Technically they are accessories but you would be a fool not to have them in all the time. In the package I was a little worried about the head sculpt, it just didn’t seem to be Simon Pegg. I quickly changed my mind when I got a better look at him though, it simply is him, but I also worked out why I was worried. The sculpt, with all its wrinkles and details makes it seem like he a fair bit older than he is on screen, but it’s only a minor niggle and not much of an issue unless you have him so very close to your face all the time!
His clothes are also incredibly detailed with all the folds and wrinkles being in the rights places and seeming very natural.
The base that comes with Shaun is in theory a simple one, it’s only a record box placed on the ground after all, but once again the level of detail put into it is quite impressive. Shards of broken records scatter the floor, the box contains a selection of removable records, some of a couple of which have their own labels, and even a few bits off cutlery are included to add to the fun.
So overall it’s all very good.

Shaun isn’t exactly loaded with joints but what we get is still pretty good. We have a fine ball jointed neck, ball shoulders and cuts at the waist and biceps. As good as it is you honestly won’t be using most of it too much as you’ll find you self sticking to the posters poses most of the time. Although the ball neck is always very useful for adding a little extra personality to proceedings.

Even the best of sculpts can be ruined if the paint application isn’t up to scratch, so I’m pleased to tell you there is nothing to worry about here. Everything is neat tidy and clean, with no slop or any errors that I can see. All the colours match the source very well and overall it’s just a darn good paint job!

With Shaun you get a number of accessories (I have already mentioned a few, but here’s the round up)
You get his base, which isn’t needed to make him stand, but it just looks oh so good, a cricket bat, a spare hand holding flowers and a loose record. Also the records in the box can be removed.
You can’t do much with the loose record, other than leave it in the box,
As it doesn’t fit in his hand, but apart from that all the other accessories make complete sense and look very cool when used with Shaun.

I know I’m slightly biased, what with me being a fool for all things Shaun, but I still have to say I love this figure. The sculpt and paint come together so well, they make this an excellent addition to my cavalcade of SOTD paraphernalia. If only I had room for it all…….

Sunday, 11 February 2007

Massive Attack London Live Review

Massive Attack, Carling Academy, Brixton London, February 8th 2007

A band that seems to have shied away from the music kingdom of Myspace (prove me wrong, anyone?), Massive Attack were certainly not short of devotees at this astounding gig.
Crammed in without an inch to spare, the audience were treated to a collection of their most famous tunes to date, pleasing the old traditionalists amongst us.

Setting the pace with their newest heart-stopping song ‘False Flags’, every song played was with integrity and had the crowds mesmerised for the 90 minutes they were on stage.

Favourites from Collected, the greatest hits double-CD of 2006, played on the evening include Angel, Teardrop and the one-and-only Unfinished Symphony used in The Matrix.

Proving that there’s more to the band than a good sound, frontman Robert Del Naja and the group were actively supporting HOPING on the night, a foundation supporting Palestinian refugee children.

Their heart on the sleeve effort was widely applauded but in all honesty the guy handing out leaflets about the cause really started to grind on my nerves by the tenth time he approached us.

A clever tactic of the Attack was to have a huge light display with scrolling text giving facts and figures about the state of Palestine – entertaining and enlightening.

Refreshingly the audience were well behaved and without hardly any effort managed to blag a space at the barrier, affording me a fantastic view without the sweaty jumping teens to boot.
Exhilarating, trippy and most definitely worth the expensive ticket.

Review by Alexia Weeks

Saturday, 3 February 2007

Doctor Who at Toy Fair

So the Toy Fair has come and gone, and as usual the most interesting stuff was kept behind closed doors, and in the case of Doctor who behind a large angry looking man who made me sign a bit off paper before I went in. So now I’m either married to a bouncer or he was simply asking me to promise not to steal everything I saw, I do hope it was the latter.

What was on display was all very impressive though, there was the next few assortments of the regular action figure line (some off which are starting to hit around now) and then all manner of my deluxe items.

The action figures gave us the mixture of old and new that were getting used to with the Doctor Who line with old characters either being re-used or packed in with other characters, Captain Jack now comes with an Empty Child, the Slitheen comes with a Space Pig and Rose comes with a couple of Robot Spiders. It makes me glad that I held back on getting some off these guys The new guys consist of an Autons twin pack, Clockwork Men, a new Dalek with mutant reveal, an Ood and in later series a selection of the new guys from series 3. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get any information on these new characters but trust me they look pretty good.

In terms of larger items the most interesting to me was a face of Boe “figure”, I obviously wasn’t able to play with it but the size of it implies that that is some kind of action feature hidden away somewhere inside him.

Moving away from the action figure line there where a number of items of interest on show, including a very large Dalek, even larger than the RC one that has been around for a couple of years. This guy was stated as having a feature called Dalek vision, basically it’s a bloody big Dalek with a camera in its eye stalk, sounds intriguing.
One of the new characters in the upcoming series seems to wear a mask, so later in the year we can look forward to a voice changer based on that, in the same vein as the Cyberman Helmet.
So all in all its looking like there is a whole lot to look forward too if you a fan of Doctor Who paraphernalia.