Review: Hot Toys Biohazard 4 Leon Kennedy R.P.D. Version

Hoorah! It's zombie-arse kicking time. I picked up Hot Toys Leon Kennedy (R.P.D. version) from the good people at TFH today. And since my sister's camera is a little low on the res', I've borrowed my boyfriend's semi-pro camera. I hope you enjoy the photos - it's my first attempt doing a photo shoot of a 12" figure.

I know the lighting's inadequate and too orangey, plus I need to work on better poses and composition. I'll take more photos and update after I've borrowed the camera charger - the batteries ran flat before I was done.


I'm a fan of Michael Crawford's figure reviews, so I'll borrow his format. (With apologies to Mr MC. ^^)

Packaging - ***
I took off the first half-star because the figure was secured with six twisties, delaying Leon's emancipation from the box by a good 5 minutes. There are those circular pieces of sticky tape too, but these are easily removed without damaging the packaging. Package design is very simple on the front - all-black with an embossed "Biohazard 4" logo. Considering the flashier, metallic boxes for the popular Hot Toys Movie Masterpiece series, this is a lot less exciting (another half-star removed). Would have been great if they printed something similar to the game cover on the front to pay it proper homage. Lastly, Hot Toys has taken a leaf from Sideshow and used magnets for the front flap, which is a tad more sophisticated than velcro patches.

Sculpting - ****
Leon is a Japanese-created game character, so he's got an idealized, almost pretty-boy look. Thankfully the very talented Yulli sculpted him with a stronger jawline, giving him enough macho cred to survive in the average guy's figure collection. (If you wanted a sculpt that's an accurate representation of the video game Leon, you should knock off 1 star.)

Paint - ***1/2
Hot Toys, in my opinion, does the best job with paint. Human skin is a complex material to render in any medium, and I think they're the most successful at it. It might have to do with the colour of the plastic they're using for heads, but I'm not gonna test if it's their blend/layers of flesh-toned paint or the plastic itself. The only drawback here is the hair. I would have preferred a more subtle gradient. In photos it's hard to tell, but looking at the figure in-person the contrast looks a bit too much.

Articulation - ****
Leon uses a Hot Toys True-Type base body, and therefore poses like a dream. Since good articulation is currently a given with Hot Toys, let me mention that unlike their military series where most of the utilized bodies are the tanned-skin version, Leon's body matches the skin tone of his head. I wish they would sell these other lighter skin tone bodies (again).

Outfit - ***1/2
You should be familiar with the high quality of Hot Toys' outfits. Extremely well-made, and I'm really anal about these things, being female and detail oriented. The half-star deduction is because of the ammo pouch that you have to insert on his belt. It's quite impossible to remove the belt from the belt straps without potentially damaging the belt or the trousers. So I chose not to put the pouch on. Another thing to be aware of - you might want to check your figure so that the "R.P.D" lettering is printed faultlessly on both the front and back of his outfit. I came across one where the white print making up the "R.P.D" missed a spot. (Told you I'm picky.)

Accessories - ****
No complaints here, there is quite an arsenal for Leon! You get a total of 11 weapons (2 knives, 4 handguns, 1 magnum, 1 shotgun, 1 rifle, 1 flash grenade, 1 energy weapon). Under handguns, the basic handgun, Mathilda and Blacktail have a removable clip. The barrel on the Broken Butterfly Magnum can be flipped open, and its hammer is functional. Matilda and the very awesome-looking Plaga Removal Laser 412 (pictured above) are secret weapons from the game. He also comes with his communicator device, which flips open to reveal Hunnigan's and Leon's portraits. The display stand helpfully comes printed with the Biohazard 4 logo and Leon's name.

Fun Factor - ****
Watched the Resident Evil movies? Here's your chance to have Leon star in his own movie, and out-gun and out-kung-fu Milla Jovovich. Also a great excuse to stockpile 12" zombies.

Value - ***
There is quality and quantity here. Both versions of Leon are going at the official price of SG$200 locally. It's a high-end collectible, so only big fans of Hot Toys or Resident Evil need apply. The first shipment of Leons is fully pre-ordered at TFH, so if that's a good gauge of this figure's popularity it should retain or increase its value in time. Despite that, it's still pricey.

Overall - ****
I am sure many people can count themselves as fans after having watched the movies and/or played the video games. Hot Toys delivered this with utmost quality and integrity - picking Biohazard 4 as their very first Video Game Masterpiece. (It's not a movie tie-in, and Biohazard/Resident Evil 4 was inititally released in 2005.) With enough support, Hot Toys might eventually pick up another quality game license like Silent Hill, or perhaps even compete with Medicom with Metal Gear Solid.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ****
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ****
Accessories - ****
Outfit - ****
Fun Factor - ****
Value - ***
Overall - ****

In Singapore - you can head to The Falcon's Hangar @ Waterloo Centre for either Regular or R.P.D. versions of Leon. They also sell both versions of Jack Krauser and the Ganado Chainsaw villager.

Online: eBay. You can get it from several Hong Kong sellers at approximately SG$170 (US$119) before shipping.

Stay tuned, I'll be posting photos of Leon taking on a *horde of zombies.

*By "horde", I mean the three zombies in my collection. One Paolo Parente Dust Ubermensch (thanks to Galactiboy :), and two Sideshow The Dead (Subject 05 and 560). If you're in S'pore and want to volunteer your zombie for pix, drop me a note. ;)

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FRAGILE 〜さよなら月の廃墟〜

One of the first two areas revealed so far: Porky's Waiwai Circuit (?) a.k.a. "Nobody Around Fun Fair", plus an abandoned subway station. Talk about deja vu.

Fragile - Sayonara Tsuki no Haikyo (Goodbye Ruins of the Moon) is an upcoming RPG *exclusively* for the Wii console, and will be released in 2008 by NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc.

What's really interesting is that the visuals are strongly reminiscent of Silent Hill, while other design elements and the beautiful soundtrack (used on the official website) are evocative of Studio Ghibli gems like Spirited Away.

From what I can translate so far, the game will revolve around male protagonist Set (who wears a dress in case you want to feel like you're protecting a girl), as he explores a post-apocalyptic world stuck in eternal twilight. Set is all alone, and decides to look for other survivors in the ruins. The website also mentions a white-haired 'Heroine' character, but her name and background are unknown.

Gameplay will involve Set fighting evil spirits while exploring the ruins. Let's hope the game developers arm him with more than an antique camera. The Wii-mote will be used to control Set's flashlight and spirit detection device. Namco reports that Fragile will not be a true horror game, but more akin to "The Sixth Sense".

Fragile world - Studio Ghibli meets Silent Hill?

No exact release date has been mentioned yet. But I'll probably hopefully have a Wii by the time this game rolls out in English.

Check out the official website (Japanese only) for more images and the game trailer.

Fragile (c) Namco

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Nakano Broadway

I took this picture outside a Mandarake outlet in Nakano Broadway. Check out the huge-as Papermoon Saber doll. Fancy lugging one home?

On a tip-off from Sket and the guys at Falcon's Hangar, I went to Nakano Broadway to hunt down some bargains and/or rare stuff when I got to Japan. Thanks for the tip, guys!

Some say Nakano Broadway has displaced Akihabara as the favourite haunt of otaku. It's a veritable trove of toys, manga, doujinshi and for the military geek, replica gun stores. For the 1/6 aficionado, the place to go to is Mandarake - a Japanese chain which takes up shop lots on sevaral floors of Nakano Broadway. (This is their main store, there are 4 other branches elsewhere in Tokyo.)

Mandarake buys and sells new and used toys and manga, and I've discovered that their prices are better than other stores in Japan. I scored a brand-new Azone Saber Fate/Hollow Ataraxia at Mandarake for ¥15,750 (a Volks store I visited in Osaka's Nipponbachi was selling Saber for over ¥22,000). So consider visiting Mandarake to save yourself some moolah. :)

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Doll Show 20 in Tokyo

A custom by the famous Gamisanjp!

I attended my first doll show during my trip to Japan last October. There were four floors to cover and each floor was absolutely massive. I marvelled at the hand-crafted outfits and accessories which are seldom seen on sale outside of events like Doll Show.

Photos from Zozone

I remembered Natalie from Milkshake Melody posted about these cool bat wings from Zozone on her blog. So I made a bee-line for the 4th floor to get my hands on them! They're posable, as you can see from the photos above.

Is this a single person's collection?

Spotted a Megahouse Manji (from "Blade of the Immortal"). Since I can't buy one, I'm customizing Manji - I've painted the head (a DID head with "real" hair), and found kimono sewing patterns from a Jenny pattern book. All he needs now is a body. One with a decent torso to to reveal his many battle scars. I'm usually partial to Hot Toys', but their new versions have feet attached with an odd gap above the ankle. Greater posability over looks?

Although Doll Show mainly features girly-doll stuff, there was a section devoted to 1/6 action figures. I saw many nice custom figures on display, and an interesting set of dioramas that pictured scenes from a Japanese fair (Summer Matsuri perhaps?). Which brings me to this minor rant: I wish Rement made all their miniatures in 1/6. I used to be a huge Rement fan until I realised the scale of their miniatures fluctuates - rarely 1/6, mostly 1/8 or maybe even 1/12.

I'd also wanted to buy a custom painted head, but nothing really caught my fancy (or was within my budget for that matter). Thus my loot mostly consisted of 1/6 clothing, and I racked up a lot of purchases from Azone on the 2nd floor. Azone were also selling some of their dolls at half-price (Bleach Hitsugaya & Ichigo, Shakugen no Shana, etc at ¥6,000).

Doll Show 20 was loadsa fun, even with my fumbling Japanese. I'm hoping we'll have local doll shows like this in the future. But in the meantime, I'll be saving up for another trip to Japan. Banzai! XD

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