Monday, December 9, 2013

Review - Lil' Zelfs Green House Tea House Set

The Lil' Zelfs Green House Tea House, NIB.

"The Zelfs"' initial wave of toys (released in late summer of 2013) received an A+ in my books (click here to see my full review of the medium Zelfs and the Venus Flytrap Spin Salon playset). Colorful, collectible, well-made, and affordable, they came out of nowhere and surprised me as one of my favorite new franchises. As such, I was eager to add more of Zardenia (the fictional dwelling-place of these elvish creatures) to my collection, and readily purchased this set when it popped up on sale at TRU.

The "Lil' Zelfs Green House Tea House" is the perfect "starter pack" if you're just getting into collecting these minis. "Lil' Zelfs" are ordinarily sold blind-bag style, in small plastic flowerpots that provide little to no indication as to which character or variant you're buying. The Tea House gives you a sure-thing; 18 figurines, all fully-visible and guaranteed to be the same in every set. And for collectors, a bonus: 5 of the included characters are glow-in-the-dark Lil' Zelfs, which are not available elsewhere. It's a great value... Individually packaged Lil' Zelfs (with flowerpots) retail at around $2.99 USD each. True, the adorable flowerpots aren't included with the Green House Tea House, but you do get 18 figures for $20-$30. Not bad at all.

Here are the contents of the box: 18 Lil' Zelfs in a variety of styles, or "finishes" (5 glow-in-the-dark, 4 pearlescent, 4 glitter, and 5 standard), a flat cardboard backdrop and overlay, and a standard leaflet. The cardboard pieces constitute the "house" element of the set. They make a nice backdrop to display the included Zelfs with, but to be clear, there are no accessories, furnishings, etc.... This is more of a deluxe gift set than a doll house.
The Lil' Zelfs Green House Tea House box contents.

The Lil' Zelfs Green House Tea House backdrop with Flamy.

The Lil' Zelfs Green House Tea House backdrop and overlay.

First, the exclusives. Here are the "Glowtastic"  Lil' Zelfs: Elfa, Angelala, Mermalade, Flamy, and Lunanne. The glow-in-the-dark plastic gives them a lovely, semi-transparent look, making this the most unique "finish".
The Lil' Zelfs Green House Tea House glow-in-the-dark Elfa, Angelala, Mermalade, Flamy, and Lunanne.

The "pearlescents": Angelala, Elfa, Vampula, and Pega Sue.
The Lil' Zelfs Green House Tea House pearlescent Angelala, Elfa, Vampula, and Pega Sue.

The "glitters": Pega Sue, Mermalade, Buttershy, and Spellinda. The glitter is VERY securely applied! I haven't noticed any shedding whatsoever, even after lots of handling.
The Lil' Zelfs Green House Tea House glitter Pega Sue, Mermalade, Buttershy, and Spellinda.

The "standards": Spellinda, Buttershy, Vampula, Flamy, and Lunanne.
The Lil' Zelfs Green House Tea House standard Spellinda, Buttershy, Vampula, Flamy,and Lunanne.

For those unfamiliar with Lil' Zelfs, they are about half the height of a medium Zelf, standing at around 1 1/2" in the body, with approximately 3" of hair. Their legs are partially hollowed out, so that they can be used as pencil toppers. They feature no articulation.
The Lil' Zelfs Green House Tea House glowtastic Elfa with medium Elfa.

I was surprised by how much detail has been put into these tiny figurines! The sculpts do not fall short, and manage to capture the same cute, quirky appeal of the larger Zelfs. The wings (for those characters that need them) are made in a separate mold from the body, out of a soft (aka: unbreakable), translucent, glitter-infused plastic. This appears to be the same material used for the medium and large Zelfs' wings. Unlike their taller counterparts, Lil' Zelfs tend to have a single hair color. The exception is Pega Sue, whose wild mane features an even mix of green and pink. The eyes are black with white "glints", and are neatly painted on.
The Lil' Zelfs Green House Tea House pearlescent Pega Sue, detail shot.

Bottom Line: This is a great (and economic) way to get a diverse collection of Lil' Zelfs without risky "mystery buying". Perfect for a child or a collector who's fed up with paying for duplicates. There are 9 different characters included, with 2 finishes of each character, adding up to 18 figures in all. Scour the online market for Howlette, Garny, and Lil' D, and you'll have the full cast (as of yet there is no "Lil' Miss Clover").The set retails at around $30 USD; I managed to get mine on sale for $20 at TRU.

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Review - Funko My Little Pony Vinyl Figure: Spitfire

Funko Collectible My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Spitfire vinyl figure, NIB.

Spitfire is one of my favorite characters in all of the MLP universe--who doesn't love a drill sergeant pony?--but I had long since given up on seeing her released as anything more than a blind bag figurine. I was drooling over fanmade customs and considering whipping out some model paints and a "bait" pony myself, when I spotted this... A full-sized Funko vinyl figure... of SPITFIRE.

Naturally, this was my reaction:


Needless to say, I keep better tabs on upcoming MLP releases now. ...At any rate, I waited eagerly for my TRU order to arrive. When it did, I was pleased to find that many of the issues present in the first wave of Funko MLPs had been addressed. Seams are neater and less obvious, there's virtually no discoloration, and the plastic-y odor that plagued a percentage of the Wave 1's is completely absent. (Note: The plastic-y smell DID FADE ENTIRELY from my older Funko ponies after they were removed from their packaging and left to sit out for a few days. Still, it's nice that newer releases don't have to deal with it to begin with.)

Aside from manufacturing improvements, I have to say that this is probably the most detailed Funko MLP to date. Spitfire is portrayed in her full Wonderbolts uniform, complete with detailing and beautifully sculpted goggles.

Funko Collectible My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Spitfire figure with box.

Spitfire's mane and tail are new sculpts, whereas her head (with the additions of new eye shapes and goggles), body, and wings are made from Funko's generic MLP molds. As always, the sculpting is spot-on and I can't honestly find any fault in it. This Spitfire is a very faithful representation of the character, from the shape and volume of her mane to the positioning of her goggles' strap.

Paint apps for the mane and tail are just about perfect! Very nice and neat, with no discoloration or bleeding. The yellow "highlights" should really be more orange, but the color's not too far off. All in all, an excellent job.

Spitfire's eyes, ears, muzzle, goggles' strap, and costume details are painted over her blue base color. These apps are fairly clean all around; there are specks out of place here and there, but nothing major.

Funko Collectible My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Spitfire figure.

The paint apps on the Wonderbolts uniform fall just a little short. The lightning designs on the cuffs only wrap about halfway around each hoof, rather than forming a circle, and the uniform's yellow section ends at the bottom of the chest, rather than spanning the length of the belly. The "cutie mark" lightning bolt is only applied on the display (right) side, but this is true of every G4 pony. None of these issues are very noticeable while the figure is displayed, only if examined hands-on.

Funko Collectible MLP: FiM Spitfire figure.

Spitfire's eyes are designed to resemble her early appearance in S1:E26 "The Best Night Ever", where she is chatting with other party-goers and looks casual and at ease.
Funko Collectible My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Spitfire figure.

Spitfire looks 20% cooler when displayed with Funko's Rainbow Dash! ;D
Funko Collectible MLP: FiM Rainbow Dash and Spitfire figures.

Here's a comparison between Spitfire's seams and those of the earlier Rainbow Dash figure. While Wave 1's imperfections were never significant enough to be deal-breakers for me, it's nice to see the line improving. :)
Funko Collectible My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Rainbow Dash and Spitfire figures.

Bottom line: A great step forward for Funko MLP collectibles. If you liked the other ponies in this series, you'll be pleased to see the line expanding and improving. While not perfect, I found Spitfire to be well-worth her $14.99 USD price tag. :) And come on... it's SPITFIRE! You know your FiM collection won't be complete without her. ;)

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