Since the guest review still has not been posted at http://www.mwctoys.com
, I am including the text and images below (most of these images you would have seen in the fuller set above).Review of Super Flexible Seamless Male Body M35 by TBLeague
Overall Average Rating: 3.5 out of 4
Over a year since its previous super flexible seamless male body (M34) was a released, TBLeague (formerly known as Phicen) has come out with its next product of this type, PL2018-M35 (henceforth, M35). This is another super flexible seamless male body with a stainless steel skeleton covered by a flexible, yet durable, silicone "skin" or "flesh." M35 is a heavily muscled body, even more so than its predecessor M34. When M34 appeared over a year ago, I declared that it was what Phicen's customers had been waiting for; now it seems most of us will be upgrading many (if not all) of our custom Terminators and Conans and Thors, etc., with the new M35. For the earlier products in this line, you can consult my guest reviews of M30 and M31, M32, M33, and M34, also brought to you courtesy of Michael Crawford. A comparison photo of the last four bodies (M32-M35) appears at the end of this review. I took so many different photos, that only a small subset could be included here; to see many additional and/or larger photos, you can check out the original post above.
Packaging - ***1/5
M35 comes in the familiar packaging for TBLeague base male and female bodies: a fairly compact glossy dark-colored cardboard box that holds the transparent plastic trays and cover. The box includes the usual manual sheet for the male bodies, the body, and its accessories. While the product's name is listed correctly next to the "item no." line on the box's cover, the cover itself features the stylized graphic that comes with female bodies, and indeed the text reads "super flexible female seamless body"; the bottom/back of the box, however, has the correct reference to the male body. This is hardly a big problem, but it is an embarrassing slip in quality or attention to detail. The box contains the correct male body and does its task of protecting it from damage -- my boxes shipped from China and were often partly damaged on the outside, yet the contents had remained in perfect condition. Everything inside is collector friendly.
Sculpting - ****
Like the other modern stainless steel skeleton base bodies produced by TBLeague, M35 comes without a head sculpt. Therefore, "sculpting" refers to the shaping of the rest of the body. The hands and feet appear to be identical to those in the previous releases, M33 and M34, sculpted quite nicely and carefully, and featuring a good degree of detail -- veins, nails, separate fingers in some of the hand sculpts. The body itself also has a similar sculpt to M34, but the muscles are now larger, and additional definition and veins have been added. In some parts of the body (for example the back and abdomen), the detail is virtually the same as before, in others (especially the upper legs and calves) it has been revised and elaborated. While there may now be larger muscles and more definition, it should be pointed out that it is not everywhere as sharply sculpted as in M34 -- which is not to say that it is any less appropriate, and helps contribute additional distinction between the bodies. Overall, M35 is a palpably but not overly more muscular build than M34, still without going to the absolute extremes of modern bodybuilding.
M35 measures 29.5 cm (11.5 in) up to the top of the metal neck joint, and a bit over 30.5 cm (12 in) with an added head sculpt, although the latter measurement would vary depending on the head sculpt, hairstyle, and position of the inside neck connector. All this makes M35 similar in height to and very slightly taller than M34. Note that the slightly taller stature and especially the bulkier musculature of M35 give it a higher center of gravity, and that makes it a little bit less stable in some positions. While it can usually stand safely on its own feet, sometimes it does take a tumble and can damage more fragile items in its path. If you plan on displaying it standing around for a long time, consider using a stand.
Both bodies make an excellent foundation for various action and super hero customs and kitbashes; in cases where M34 was still a little less muscular than needed, M35 can now be deployed.
Paint - ***
Let me start by saying that there is nothing wrong with the paint, given that this is a base body. The paint is consistent and relatively appropriate, though very much a tan skin tone (although technically referred to as "suntan" and distinct from both the old and new "suntan" skin tones on Phicen/TBLeague's female figures). The color of the silicone flesh matches that of the harder plastic of the hands and feet very well, and it can also match many, if not all, sixth-scale male head sculpts produced by various companies. There doesn't seem to be any nuance in the skin tone, although the sculpt and the surface allow for some natural variation.
One obvious omission (presumably out of financial considerations) is the fact that the sculpted nipples remain unpainted, as in previous male seamless bodies in this line. This is contrast to what TBLeague does to its female bodies, and what other companies (e.g., ACI, Hot Toys, Kaustic Plastik, World Box) have done with their male bodies in cases where the chest is or could be exposed. (Interestingly, TBLeague did not skip painting the hair on the flaps intended to help attach the genitals to the body.) You can see the original appearance of the body in the box and accessories photos in this review; in the rest of the photos, I have painted the nipples with a mixture of silicone pigments and silicone glue, for added realism. At this price, however, one should not have to modify the product, especially one that prides itself on realism. Hence the loss of the fourth star in this category.
Articulation - ***1/2
Like its predecessors, M35 is very well-articulated (or, as TBLeague puts it, super-flexible). The range of motion and the ability to hold poses is both very extensive and very impressive. The larger muscles do get a little in the way, but not much more so than with an actual human body, which ought to be the point of comparison; certainly a jointed hard plastic body sculpted with the same degree of musculature would not be able to compete with the silicone "skin" and stainless steel skeleton. M35 can flex, reach, stride, bend, and sit just like a human body in pretty much all natural poses; ankles, knees, elbows, and neck work perfectly (how the head tilts at the base of the skull, however, would depend on the type and depth of its inside neck connector). The only specific instance in which I have come to notice a palpable limitation in the articulation is the wrist: although it can rotate freely around its axis, it cannot bend quite as far as a human's. This is why I have taken away half a star from the rating although, all things considered, this is a very minor limitation.
With muscle bodies like M34 and M35 another limitation of these (or pretty much all) action figures becomes easier to notice: because the silicone "skin" is basically unattached to the underlying limbs of the stainless steel skeleton, some of the muscles do not always turn quite as far as they would on an actual human (since there are no real sinews and ligaments to pull them and hold them from the inside). But the problem is usually not particularly obvious, and here, too, most jointed bodies (especially muscular ones) are not likely to have an advantage.
Accessories - ***
M35 comes with the same accessories (or one should really say spare/swappable parts) as M34: a total of three pairs of exchangeable hand sculpts (fists, relaxed hands, and gun- or sword-grip hands), a pair of detachable feet; and two sets of genitals concealed in semi-opaque small plastic bags. There is no stand. This selection is not very extensive, but it is reasonable; that does not mean it is optimal. ACI's base bodies, for example, not only included a couple of additional hands, but also an additional pair of feet with bent toes, allowing greater realism (and stability) in crouching poses. These bent-toes feet would have been a very welcome addition (TBLeague does include a second set of feet for high heels with its female bodies). TBLeague's competitor Jiaou Doll did include something along these lines with its male bodies, except that the toes were so slightly bent, that the extra sculpt was both basically useless and visually almost indistinguishable from the flat feet. The standard instructions sheet is included, with the company's name updated to TBLeague in the title (but still using "Phicen" in the text).
Outfit - n/a
Technically a base body does not guarantee or even need the inclusion of any outfit. However, Phicen/TBLeague has spoiled us by including a basic outfit in the past, starting with M32, which came with an elaborate pair of yellow sports shorts. M33 and M34 came with underwear plus wrist and ankle bands. M35 comes with nothing. This is not only a letdown from an expectation TBLeague has set with its previous offerings, but also a palpable complication. As the largest and most muscular of these silicone-covered bodies, M35 is the hardest one to clothe: sixth-scale male clothing is even more difficult (and often impossible) to fit over the bulkier muscles. Clothing designed specifically for TBLeague figures (with their muscles and rubbery surface) is a bit easier to put on M35 successfully. As you can see in some of the photos, I succeeded in clothing it in the outfit of Hot Toys' Dutch from Predator, but remember that these were designed for a muscle body (albeit of a different type). Clothing with elastic waists (for example some types of pants and shorts for Mattel's Max Steel) also tends to work well enough. With some effort and patience (remember, the muscles are pliable), many seemingly impossible items of clothing can be made to fit; others, however, would be too small and might split or tear in the process. Note that the combination between the large muscles and relatively tight clothing could lead to possibly significant limitations in articulation.
As with earlier male bodies in this line, the TBLeague feet (while proportional) are a bit too large for most of the wearable sixth-scale footwear. I recommend using World Box feet for footwear that needs the foot inserted inside it; footwear designed to fit onto pegs instead does not usually present problems with the TBLeague bodies.
Fun Factor - ****
While the promotional materials for M35 display it, like its predecessor M34, with Arnold Schwarzenegger head sculpts, it can be used for any number of heavily muscled characters. Depending on what you have lying around (or have compiled for the occasion) and what you can fit on it, M35 can be turned into a Terminator, Conan, Beastmaster, WWE or UFC fighter, boxer, soldier, or enforcer, and populate or channel a modern, futuristic, ancient, or fantasy environment. While it is fairly sturdy, the M35 body is not designed for the use of children; apart from any possible damage to the body, the detachable hands and feet could pose potential hazard.
Value - ***
A base action figure body at this price point is not a bargain. But a base action figure body that is seamless, beautifully sculpted, and super flexible (yet surprisingly durable), and hasn't increased its retail price astronomically with each new release over the course of a couple of years may be a little different. Depending on where you look and whether shipping is included, M35 retails for anywhere between $70 and $110. Compared to the price range for M34 over a year ago, the lower end is identical, while the upper end is only $5 more; given the aggressive rise in prices for sixth-scale goods, this consistency is a welcome exception. Unlike my earlier reviews of Phicen/TBLeague male seamless action figure bodies, there is now another company, Jiaou Doll, which produces such products. When they first came out, they were being sold for a comparable price, which has since decreased somewhat. So far they come in only one (slimmer) body type (albeit in different skin tones), and they are a little inferior in quality and articulation to the TBLeague products.
Things to Watch Out For -
Not much, but keep in mind the usual possible issues. Although I encountered no problems swapping the hands, they can be a little difficult to remove and it might be best to heat them with a blow dryer before swapping. Avoid posing the body in very extreme poses for a long time as a basic precaution. Similarly, unless you are ready to commit to a specific look, avoid clothing your TBLeague bodies in dark colors that might bleed and stain the body (especially black and dark blue or red; pleather is a frequent culprit); prolonged exposure or friction does tend to exacerbate the potential problem. The resulting stains might fade or be absorbed by the silicone body over time, and there are recommended fixes one might try, but better safe than sorry and proceed at your own risk.
Overall - ***1/2
M35 continues the tradition of TBLeague excellence in well-articulated seamless bodies, both male and female. While the absence of some additions outlined above is a continued missed opportunity, the product itself is attractive, versatile, and of high quality. M35's appearance and flexibility make it an excellent base for any number of customs and kitbashes or upgrades. While they could be improved further, TBLeague's seamless bodies remain, in my humble opinion, the best action figure bodies in this scale, and M35 is a fine addition to this array. One can only hope for additional variety and improvement in the future.
Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ***
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ***
Sound Feature - n/a
Light Feature - n/a
Outfit - n/a
Fun Factor - ****
Value - ***
Overall - ***1/2
Where to Buy
Online options include these (some of them still preorders) :Big Bad Toy Store
for $80Cotswold Collectibles
for $80Monkey Depot
for $80Timewalker Toys
and on eBay various prices HERE
Related Links -
I have reviewed the earlier Phicen/TBLeague male seamless bodies on this site: M30 and M31, M32, M33, and M34. For many additional and/or larger photos of M35, you can check HERE.