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General Zod - Superman
Mattel

General Zod Superman II sixth scale action figure by Mattel


Back at SDCC, one of Mattel's surprise announcements was a couple 12" traditional (i.e. cloth wearing) sixth scale action figures in their "Movie Masters" line. Up to then, the line was focued on the 6" scale, and was being relegated to online through Matty Collector only.

The two they showed off were Superman and General Zod, clearly based on the earlier Superman film, Superman II. The first of these to see actual release is (oddly) Zod, who starting selling through the web site on December 15th.

These aren't cheap figures, and at $60 it's probably no surprise that Zod is still available. They have not yet set a release date in 2010 for the Supes to go with him, but if I were a gambling man I'd say it won't be at least until April, and most likely in June.

Packaging - ***
I've included two shots of the packaging, just because I thought the outer box was pretty sweet as well.

This outer box has a silver S on the front, with the General Zod name done in the 'zooming' font that we saw in the film. Open this one up, and inside you have a package very similar to what we're getting with the Mattel sixth scale Ghost Busters line.

The figure is pose nicely on a Oval Office background, complete with cracked Presidential Seal on the floor at his feet. The accessories are stored on the left in a box, but instead of doing it up like a locker (as it was with Ray), it's a book case. Appropriate of course for the office scenario.



General Zod Superman II sixth scale action figure by Mattel
General Zod Superman II sixth scale action figure by Mattel
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General Zod Superman II sixth scale action figure by Mattel
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General Zod Superman II sixth scale action figure by Mattel
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General Zod Superman II sixth scale action figure by Mattel
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General Zod Superman II sixth scale action figure by Mattel
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General Zod Superman II sixth scale action figure by Mattel
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General Zod Superman II sixth scale action figure by Mattel
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General Zod Superman II sixth scale action figure by Mattel

I really like the look of the package here, but it's not collector friendly. You'll have to do some hacking and slashing to get him free, and once you do...it's not really worth it. This is one of those rare times where I recommend just keeping the guy in this package - he'll look the best on the shelf thsi way.

Sculpting - ***
I'm surprised about this sculpt - it's not as bad as I expected. It's quite a good likeness of the actor as the character, as you can see from this screen cap.

But this is not a $60 figure head sculpt, unfortunately. We've come to expect a lot on the high end, but it would be unfair to expect the kind of amazing detail that we see on a $100 - $150 figure from someone like Enterbay or Hot Toys. However, the almost non-existent detail in the eyes, eyebrows, hair, skin, lips, and beard will remind you more of a $20 Hasbro figure than it should.

The saving grace is that it is a good likeness. You'll recognize Zod instantly, even if it does look like a mannequin version of Zod.

The figure stands fine on his own, and the hands are sculpted to work with the various accessories and some key poses. They work pretty well, although better gripping hands for posing with the guns would have been useful.

Paint - **1/2
Again, if this were a $30 figure, or even a $40 figure, this score would be a little better. The eyes are clean and straight, as is the edges of the hair, beard, and eyebrows. The colors are nice and consistent, and the only real slop is around his soul patch, where the brown is a bit smudged.

Even without a ton of sculpt detail in the portrait, a little more work with the paint could have gone a long way toward adding some more visual interest. And maybe it's just me, but didn't Zod have some gray in his hair? Actualy, Mattel did try to get a little gray in there, but it's too far back from the temples, looking a bit out of place.

Articulation - ***
The underlying body is fairly well articulated, having most of the joints you expect from a sixth scale body these days.

The ball neck is not quite up to par with other lines though, and the body doesn't quite hang and flow as naturally as, say, a TrueType or RAH body.

He's a pretty tall figure, coming in at almost 12 1/2". I don't have any issue with that though, because he should stack up pretty evenly with Superman, and Supes should be a taller than average guy.

He also has a feature that no other body currently on the market does - he has the ability to truly cross his arms like a real human. This is because his torso is split in thirds, and the outside thirds can move inward to almost touch at the center of his chest. You can actually see this weird articulation in several of the photos, since the outfit doesn't cover the chest well enough to hid it. I'm assuming this is the same on the Ghostbusters figures, although I haven't tried getting them into this particular pose yet.

Accessories - ***
While this figure isn't outfitted like the Ghostbusters characters, he does come with a couple decent extras.

First, there's the extra hands. He has two additional sets, along with the fisted hands he comes wearing. There's a sculpted gripping set, as well as a gesturing set that work great in the crossed arm pose or in the traditional Mr. Burns "Excellent" pose.

The gripping hands don't work quite as well with the guns as I'd like, but they'll manage. I expect I'll keep him in the crossed arm pose, since he'll be the only figure in the collection that can work that look.

Speaking of the guns, these are both done in a soft rubbery material. The shotgun is being superheated, and because of the soft rubber wil actually wilt in his hand over a little time. The machine gun goes one better, using wires to make the stock and barrel bendy. He can be posed bending and warping the gun in any number of ways.

Finally, there's a display stand if you wish to use it. Personally, I like a display without stands, but I don't live in an earthquake state.

Outfit - **
This poor guy suffers from one of the stupidest villian outfits in the history of film. Seriously. How can you take this guy seriously in this bad 80's disco ball room reject of a jumpsuit?

I really dislike how the outfit looks on the figure, but part of that is due to how bad it looked in the film. It's ill fitting, the boots are tubular in shape and look ridiculous, and the crotch strap looks about as uncomfortable as you can get. Assuming of course that Zod still has testicles.

The itty bitty feet don't help any, making the funky tube boots look even fatter and rounder.

Even ignoring the goofy look that they were sort of stuck with, the quality of the work is not quite up to par. The edges of the red trim are unevenly cut, and the white stitching is distracting. They should have gone with a color that matches the shiny material a bit better, so it would have blended in.

Speaking of the shiny material, Mattel knows the color isn't quite right. But this red is as good as they could get to matching the screen look in available material.

Fun Factor - ***
Too bad Mattel can't make a figure like this for the mass market in the $30 price range. While this guy might end up a medicore collectible, it's a decent enough toy, with the kind of quality that would hold up to basic play.

Value - *1/2
At $60, these figures are in the same ball park as the current work coming from companies like Amok Time and Executive Replicas. And while those companies are far smaller, with far smaller production runs, the figures are generallyl a better deal.

For example, the recent Boris Karloff was $70, just ten bucks more than this figure, and included not one but three head sculpts, as well as a much more complex outfit and much better paint and sculpting.

Things to Watch Out For -
Switching hands can be a bit tough, since the pegs fit very tightly in the forearms. Take your time working with them.

Overall - **1/2
This isn't a figure you can pose with your Hot Toys Supes series, or even the DC Direct deluxe versions. But once Mattel gives us a Superman of similar quality, this guy will have a home. I think Mattel may have sold more of Zod had they released Superman first, since as a pair the the display value will rise.

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

Where to Buy -
This is a Matty Collector exclusive, or you can try ebay to get a deal.

Related Links -
If you're looking for other sixth scale Superman items, try these:

- Hot Toys has done a few, and they are generally Hot Toys quality, although I'm not a huge fan of their Superman.

- DC Direct has done an older Supes, as well as a couple younger versions.

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General Zod Superman II sixth scale action figure by Mattel


This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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