SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review…Star Wars Black Series Darth Maul (Chinese Version)

Once again, a blog entry about an item from the Hickory-Con!

I have been looking for Star Wars Black Darth Maul for some time.  And while I was at the Con, I was looking for figures and noticed almost NO Masters of the Universe Classics figures.  However, Star Wars Black Series was everywhere.  And I asked around until I found him.

Darth Maul is my favorite Sith Lord besides Anakin/Vader.  I have mentioned before, I am PARTIAL TO the prequel trilogy.  And Darth Maul was good enough to make all of Jar Jar Binks’ problems in The Phantom Menace into small details.

This figure was on the top shelf…right beside another.  This one was marked $30 and had “Chinese Version” labeled on it.  The other was marked $95.  They were virtually identical.  So which one did I get?

 

Notice..There is no way on Earth to tell this might not be the genuine article.  (The general consensus on the internet is that this is a near perfect bootleg copy.)  There is no chinese writing…the figure looks exactly like “the original” “American (not really)” version.

I am the guy who throws away the boxes.  Do I care?  I am a cheapskate.  Paying $30 for a perfect copy of Star Wars Black Darth Maul doesn’t bother me one bit.  That was an extra $60 I had left to spend on other stuff!

The box is slightly different than a genuine Star Wars Black box.  The Star Wars logo is a little off in color.  But the back showcases Darth Maul’s only line in “The Phantom Menace”

 

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So I ripped open the box.  Everything was in this blister.  I could tell that lightsaber was bent already…

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Here is Darth Maul standing for the first time with his accessories.  He has two lightsabers, Star Wars classic binocular system, and an alternate head.  Notice how incredibly bent the lightsaber is.

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Darth Maul can hold the binocular thing in one hand.  He cannot use both hands to hold it to his eyes, as he is too bulky.  The sculpt is amazing.  This plastic robe drapes over the figure perfectly, and he forever has a wind blown look.

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It is really hard to make Darth Maul hold the saber wth two hands in “I’m about to off Anakin Skywalker” mode.  The lightsaber doesn’t want to stay together, and his bulkiness keeps his arms from gripping it properly.

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Now you CAN remove the robe, supposedly by removing the head from the ball joint…it turns out though, that the bootleg version (if that is what this is) doesn’t have the head glued to the cape.  So Darth Maul has a second, bald head.  I must say, the Spikor effect happens when you try putting the head on the ball joint.  (The spikes hurt your hands.)  The other thing…Darth Maul’s neck seems to be a little awkward.  Just a little.

So enough playing dress up.  Let’s get down to business.

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Darth Maul continues to impress as far as his sculpt is concerned.  Some soft goods are visible as a part of his skirt.  This really adds to the figure, as it allows him to move his legs better.  The lightsaber…you see what’s going on.  The hilts connect together, but the only way to get them to do so stiffly is to make the buttons face in opposite directions…which seems it shouldn’t be.  The red blades suffer from being bent.  I might have to get the hair dryer after them…

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I tried putting the cloak on some other figures…Skeletor seemed to be a natural, but I thought it likely to fit Teela.  It actually doesn’t fit either.  Skeletor is too big.  Teela…it doesn’t fit right even with the hair chopped off the way I customized her.

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I found YouTube videos of people pointing out the differences between the genuine and the knock-off version of Darth Maul.  They all said the same thing.  This must be made from a batch of declined figures because of QC, or using tools that were discarded, or something.  The sculpt is perfect.  The paint here is right on the money, except for maybe the horns.  Reportedly, there is a different neck joint and different hip joints.  The neck joint seems a little obvious, but since we are not looking up his skirt…

I am going to rate this based on what it is as a figure.  An excellent Darth Maul figure.  The best I’ve ever owned.  It does have problems with the Lightsabers.  So I have to take off for that.  Darth Maul is articulated very well.  Sculpted and painted near perfectly.  Stands on his own.  Looks good on the shelf.  I have to award him a 4/5!

And as bootlegs go, there couldn’t be a more perfect item to purchase as the not-so genuine product.

So the SpartanNerd rates Star Wars Black Series Darth Maul (Chinese Version) 4/5.  Do you agree or disagree?  Let me know in the comments!

 

SpartanNerd…250 Blog Posts!

Yep.  The SpartanNerd is getting on up there in age!  250 posts.  There have been ups and downs.  I have covered “all things nerdtainment” that I could afford.  I have made mistakes, as well as hit home-runs.  I’ve had times of not being inspired or having energy or time, as well as times where I felt a real need to blog.

I thought I would celebrate this milestone with a little pastiche of different stories of interest!

My first ever customized MOTUC figure.

Teela

My own Teela, of course!

It has bothered me for some time that I didn’t have a female figure worthy of wearing the extra bit of snake armor that came with one of the weapons packs.  I always felt that it could fit Battleground Teela;  I was reluctant to remove her hair.

Well I’m glad I did.  You can see from the picture that it worked out pretty nice.  It took me over an hour of using a hair dryer and other tools to remove the hairpiece, which is really a hard piece of plastic glued on with some incredible adhesive.  Unfortunately, it left a hole in her head all across the back.  You can’t see it from the front, which is what is important to me.  I might try and customize a backside to the hood sometime to completely cover the ugly.

Yes, I can put the hairpiece back on!  So its like I have two Teela figures now!  pfffttt to all you people who own one figure that cost over $100!

I know what else you’re thinking, and yes I DID remove the bra-armor piece to see if I could make her appear more comic accurate.  The problem is…it just doesn’t look right on this figure.  She seems too…Well, your eyes go right to her bust.  And then it doesn’t look right.  She isn’t “that accurate,” ahem.  She looks better with her stock armor underneath the hood piece.  And no, I’m not interested in doing ANY painting on this figure!

Moving on, moving on.

Unicorn vs. Sinanju

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The SpartanTeen hasn’t played Magic the Gathering in quite a while.  This is fine.  I have had to find other ways to bond with him.  One of those ways is the appreciation for Gundam models.  Here is a pic of his best two.

He got the flight stands in the mail, and put them in this pose.  We kept them this way on the kitchen table for several days!  I love the action that you can sense between the two characters, Gundam Unicorn and Sinanju.

Speaking of MTG,

I bought a box of Battle for Zendikar.  And I have been incredibly pleased with my investment.  I don’t generally buy cards for their monetary value, but you just can’t overlook it when each pack gives you a full-art land, (in time will be worth $1.00-$2.00.)  But aside from that, you also get a rare as in every Magic booster.

But I have been blessed.

I’ve opened TWO Gideon, Ally for Zendikar, and one of those was a “bounty” at The Tangled Web!  (They give you a second copy if you open one.)  I traded both in for a Snapcaster Mage, which I really NEEDED.  (I figure Gideon will come and go.  Snap is forever!)

Then I traded the other for an Ugin today, to build this deck for Standard….A Re-Animator deck.  It needs some work.  Suggestions are welcome!  (I modeled it after the four-color reanimator I have been playing in Modern…where the snap caster went!)

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The SpartanKid also built a Standard deck (with my help)….He is quite pleased with it.  The only thing we tried to do really was use the colors of Omnath, Locus of Rage.  We put a lot of landfall in there.  And Scythe Leopard and Sliderunner have done all of the work pretty much!

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While on the subject of MTG cards and customizing stuff, check out what I did with my Father’s Day present…I made a Commander deck, and used the inadequate deck box that “Graveborn” came with to pretty up a Commander box!

New stuff….

I bought a Battle Droid figure at Mighty Dollar for $1.00.  The full real thing!

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I purchased and intended to review the Deckbuilders Toolkit for Magic Origins.  Maybe I still will.  But I’m not feeling it.  Here is a pic of the janky deck I put together with it though!

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I made a chessboard for MOTUC and similar figures!  Don’t steal my idea!

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The SpartanKid purchased this incredible item at Toys-R-Us…

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You get all of this variety of Halo mini-figures.  And a ton of weapons.  It comes with a display stand to boot!

Some parting thoughts….

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Remember the unfortunate situation with this very expensive figure….  He is still holding up after all this time!  His wrist hasn’t let go even once!

The SpartanKid wanted me to mention his Mega-Man Art Book.  I have never reviewed this item.  So here are two pieces of art…

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I about shouted for joy when I saw this page of a recent He-Man and the Eternia War comic!  That comic keeps surprising me with its twists and turns!  A review of issue #10 is coming soon!

Death of Hordak

Vikor remains my favorite MOTUC figure.  Maybe my favorite action figure of all time.  While I give serious props to Marvel Select Deadpool, Vikor is continually all that an action figure should be.  Incredibly detailed and articulated.  Fits any fantasy.  Is a MOTUC design.  Armed to the teeth.  I love to photograph him!

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So will the SpartanNerd make it to 500 blog posts?  Time will tell!  Hopefully the upcoming Star Wars season doesn’t make me go broke!  I keep getting tempted to purchase new things.  But I have decided that I will only purchase the best things.

So keep reading, Hub City Geeks!

SpartanNerd Scoop…Marvel’s Star Wars Darth Vader #1

Out sick on a Wednesday…giving me a chance to pick up a release day comic or two. I picked up Darth Vader #1 instead of that Harley Quinn kissing Batman thing…

I skipped on Star Wars issue #1. Don’t get me wrong, I have never been a fan of Star Wars comics. A huge movie fan. I read some EU novels, usually really enjoying them.  But all the comics I have read have been lacking. Of course, the news about Disney owning Lucasfilm and rebooting the EU interested me, but didn’t disgust me as it did many other fans because I haven’t been that involved. But I can say that I have been turned off by some of the product offerings so far… Especially the new toys. (The new toys are reminiscent of “green army men”, but cost a ton.)  And I haven’t been immersed in the clone wars cartoon, nor the new cartoon, but many of the represented characters haven’t appealed to me much. Probably Anakin’s apprentice most of all being what turned me off of that. (Ashoka Tano was far too “pre-teen brat” in the Clone Wars movie that kicked the whole thing off.)

But the cover of Darth Vader #1 looked cool, and the alternate cover looked cool as well, but not so much cooler that I bought it instead.

This story takes place right after the Death Star was destroyed at the end of “A New Hope.”  It is about Darth Vader’s penance to the Emperor.  Because it IS a new story today, I don’t know how much I should spoil.  But it isn’t a resolved plot or anything.

The first thing I took away was Jabba the Hutt apparently considers himself EQUAL to Vader.  I am saying “Vader just got downgraded.”  I don’t like it.  He is supposed to be THE VILLAIN.  There is an opening scrawl on the back of the front cover, and it is interesting because it takes the Sith’s viewpoint in explaining things.  I should think this would give us a Vader that is at least as strong as we saw him in the movies.  But Jabba regards Vader as his chump.  As does the Emperor.  And he just took a defeat at the hand of Luke Skywalker.

This issue dwells on the situation.

But what annoyed me the most was that the story is told OUT OF ORDER.  Apparently for no reason at all.

Out of order storytelling is becoming so CLICHE in comics.  I’m about sick of it, to be honest with everyone out there in Hub City Geek land.  Batman Eternal has been the CHIEF OFFENDER.  But all of those titles are doing it more and more.  And here Marvel’s first issue of Darth Vader tells us the present story, then two days ago, and then one day ago, and then NOW AGAIN.  Why not just start the story at two days ago?

The art in this book was really good.  The characters looked like their movie counterparts.  Vader’s mask had the old school, more asymmetrical look to it.  Jabba was a fat slob, the brief picture of the rebels looked good.  There was an annoying scene where we saw ALL of Jabba’s entourage, as we see them in “Return of the Jedi.”  And Bobba Fett was there.  I always had the impression that Bobba Fett was a well traveled man.  That he didn’t spend all of his time hanging out on Tattoine with the low-lifes.

So apparently Vader is on assignment from the Emperor, as a punishment.  And there is a new agent who we have no details about.  Everyone knows that there is jealousy from Vader.  He suspects, of course, that there is another apprentice being brought up to replace him.  And the gears for future story are set.

I am highly skeptical.  Did reading Darth Vader #1 catch my interest enough to want to purchase more books in the series?  I’m not sure.  I told the sales-lady at the Tangled Web not to hold these books for me monthly, that I would try it out first.  Maybe I will get to the end of this story arc.  But if issue #2 doesn’t wow me, it will be another Star Wars title that I ignore.

The art gets a 5.  The book gets a 2.  My average rating must be 3/5.