Friday, December 31, 2010

The Chase Variant Christmas Stocking!

What a Christmas it has been!  Chase Variant (aka me) didn't get lots of toys this year, but what I did get was awesome.  Quality over quantity, I always say (when I get less toys for X'mas).  So what did I receive from Santa in 2010?


Told you he's awesome! :P
But I did get a Masterpiece Black Optimus Prime from my wife! Thanks Dear, you're the best! :D

Thanks, Bro!
And I got me a Henkei Transformers Animated Voyager Class Black Out from the Rangerlord, all the way from Japan!

And just for good measure, he threw in a DC Superheroes Scarecrow!  Awesomeness!

Now how will I be able to open and review all these on top of the swag I got from the Singapore Toys, Games, and Comics Convention?  How?  How?

I'll also be away for the next two weeks for my much delayed Honeymoon in New Zealand.  Once I get there, I'll have no chance whatsoever to take pictures of toys.  (Photo studio's at home, see?)  I'll also be checking out whatever toy joints they might have and adding to the review backlog!!!  What terrible problems I have, eh?

Anyways, hope all of you had a great Christmas with all the toys you can have and then some.  here's also wishing you only the best for the New Year ahead!


(P.s-Don't forget to check out the last review of 2010 on Chase Variant: Transformers Challenge at Cybertron 3-Pack!)

Transformers Universe Challenge at Cybertron 3-Pack

That's right, folks.  It's Cyclonus, Galvatron and Hot Rod!  (I refuse to call him Rodimus despite what the box says.)

I was really happy I got this for the deal I did at the Singapore Toy and Comic Convention (STGCC) two weekend's ago!  After all, I'd held back on Universe and Henkei versions of both Cyclonus and Galvie, and missed out on Hot Rod because...I hesitated (Yes, the cardinal sin of hunting rare toys...)

Despite Hasbro releasing this set more than a month or so back, I still didn't stump up the cash for it. Why?  Because there was a ton of them at department stores islandwide and they were still at retail (S$69.90, that's US$53.75.)  TFs here always eventually go on sale, with prices dropping by as much as 50-70%, depending if there's a sale on top of the clearance prices or not.

Nevertheless, the rare or really popular characters get snapped up as they normally do everwhere.  And Hot Rod was one of these fave characters.  I never really saw the original single-packed Hasbro release on the shelf, let alone the shiny, chromed out Henkei version.  If I did, they would be priced at double retail and I wasn't paying through my nose for it.

So I waited.  And thankfully, I didn't have to wait too long since STGCC threw up a great deal for this set at S$45, that's about 35% off retail!  Happy, happy, joy, joy!--I was finally going to own my very first Hot Rod!!!

But since when did Hot Rod fight Cyclonus and Galvatron on Cybertron?  Didn't Hot Rod's first and last fight with Galvie happen in Unicron, just before he opened the Matrix of Leadership and became (wait for star name...) Rodimus Prime?  Maybe that's what Hasbro was going for, pretending that lil' Hot Rod here was his 'trixed up Prime self, hence the name on the box.  A lil' lame, but still a commendable effort on Hasbro's part to fool the kids.  Yeah, because we kids who were around in 1986 to watch the movie ain't being' fooled! :P
Packaging strategy aside, let's see how this trio fared against the ranks of the rest of the Henkei/TF Universe!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Masters of the Universe Classics Battle Armor He-Man!

I've been wanting to get my hands on this guy ever since the announced they were going to make him.  But a combination of so-so reviews--the lack of accessories, the switchable plates instead of a revolving chest cylinder, and his limited articulation kinda threw a spanner in the works for me.  For the same price I'd be able to get figures like Mer-Man, COunt Marzo, Keldor, and Prince Adam, all of whom came with a ton more stuff.  So I held out until...

Two weekends ago at the Singapore Toys, Games and Comics Convention (STGCC fer short), I finally gave in at a good price.  I have to confess, he was my favorite He-Man growing up because he'd never lose his armor--the original He-Man's harness would always snap at the catch on the back and as a result, I'd have a regular half-naked guy as my hero.  Not a good deal.

As it turns out, BA He-Man was a fave among lots of MOTU fans too, except the Rangerlord.  But we can forgive him because he gave in to his MOTUC urges and added original He-Man to his Man-At Arms at STGCC.  (Don't worry bro, it's a decision you will not regret.)  ;)  :P  :D.

So how did Battle Armor He-Man fare when he was put up to the Chase Variant review panel? (That's me.)  Find out after the jump!

Monday, December 13, 2010

STGCC Day 3: The Motherload

Even the Predator and Iron Man couldn't stop me from getting good deals
You could say I was looking forward to the last day of Singapore Toy, Games, and Comic Convention the most.  Why?  Because of one thing and one thing only: DEALS! On toys!

And what a bunch of stuff I got.  I know I've written plenty over the last 3 days, so I'll keep this review of Day 3 short on words and long on pictures; pictures of the swag I snagged for cheap!

For those of you who frequent CV and are on my Christmas list (you know who you are), there might be one or two things here you might find in your X'mas stocking come the 25th! ;D

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Singapore Toy, Games and Comic Convention 2010: Day 2

Security was pretty tight, especially for the DCUC Figures
The highlight of Day 2 was at STGCC was the people!

While Day 1 saw quite a long line to enter the exhibition halls as the gates opened, there was still elbow room to mingle, shop, and get stuff signed.  Well, Day 2 probably saw traffic increase y three times--great for the people running the Con (because it's the first year the event is ticketed) but bad for me! I couldn't turn without narrowly avoiding smacking someone in the face, with my own face!  But nah, that can only be a god thing.  More people means it's more likely the Con will come back bigger and better in 2011!

The other great thing was that I got the chance to really meet quite a few people today, which was nice because you hardly get the chance to talk to others when in large crowds, but in a Con like that, you get to speak to artists and writers promoting their work, as well as fellow fanboys when lining up for autographs. And that's where Day 2 began for and ended me, in the queue to get a signature!

"Honestly, I was really gonna pay for the DCUC.  I a little lost..."

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Singapore Toy, Games and Comic Convention 2010: Day 1

What a day!

But I'd like to start off first by saying that this year's convention in Singapore is being held for the first time after being taken over by Reed Exhibitions, the same people who run New York Comic Con.

Random door gift: cutesy key chain
Last year's event was a little bit of a marketplace, with no panels or screenings or sneak previews but tons of vendors selling toys, exclusives and the like.

So with the new management this year, how did things go on Day 1?  Well here's a hint: I spent close to 10 hours there and I'm raring to go back tomorrow!

Friday, December 10, 2010

DC Universe Classics Wave 1: The Demon!

Reaching to past figures from DCUC,

To review this figure finally.

Had him now for many months,

Always close to opening him but never took the chance.

So in my new den, I've taken him out of package,

To play around with, and bring you some photo-age.

The Demon, Etrigan, his name might be,

But Jason Blood is his human reality.

Say this rhyme he does to change,

From human form to the occult, strange:

"Gone, gone the face of Man,
Rise the Demon Etrigan!"

A weird minor comic book character he might be,

Rising to prominence in JLU Animated on TV.

A favorite of mine he's been since then,

Especially in an episode when,

He becomes a little baby,

And helps the Justice League defeat Mordred and his Mommy.

So how does he fair from paper to silver screen to plastic?

Click onwards to see the embed and more, I also threw in some comics!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Why I didn't Open It Earlier: DC Universe Classic Wave 11 Shark

Reason: Seriously?  Was there even a reason to open him at all?  Ok, kidding.  There is, at least for me: He's a Green Lantern Baddie and he's monstrous!  He gets even more monstrous as he gets hungrier!  But this figure?  Just a guy in a shark mask.

I got him very early on after the release, for the same reason I got the rest of the wave: Collect and Connect Kilowog!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Masters of the Universe Classics King Grayskull

I knew I had to get this guy the moment I saw that he had the 200X He-signia and had a great lil' background written for him.

In truth, I had forgotten he'd appeared in the 200X MOTU Animated series.

That's bad when you consider that I have two DVD copies of the entire series. Yes, two.  One original, one not so original.  Yes, bad.  So what did I do?  I popped in the DVD and watched "The Power of Grayskull" once more!  Well, actually I had to watch it on YouTube because the DVD the Rangerlord got me was perfect, except for that one episode!  Gaaaargh!!!

But it's all good because having found it of YouTube, I can share it with ya! (You actually have to "Read More" to see more.  Irony, no?)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Iron Man 2 Comic Series 3.75" Silver Centurion Armor

If you're in your late 20s to late 30s and got into comics when you were a kid, Silver Centurion Iron Man would probably be the first IM armor you were introduced to.

For me, I can't remember what Tony Stark was wearing when I first read a comic with him in it, but the distinct look of the helmet was what caught my eye--it wasn't the color for me, it was Iron Man's "face."  Then there were also his unique powers and weaknesses.

The suit had a Force Field, which he could polarize to generate magnetic attraction. He also was able to use the armor's sensors to create a "chameleon field" around himself; the armor's computer would analyze its surroundings and generate a hologram to make the armor blend in with the surroundings, making him effectively invisible.

His weaknesses were the interesting bit: Silver Centurion was mostly solar powered.  He'd constantly run out of power at a crucial juncture and would need to recharge from electrical sources like a simple power point.  But if he couldn't find a power plug somewhere he'd be able to convert heat and cold to power the suit.

That was the Iron Man I remembered, not his colors, but his powers and his unique weaknesses.

It's also interesting to note that a copy of the Silver Centurion armor was used by Tony Stark to defeat the Mandarin, when his Extremis abilities were temporarily deactivated due to concerns with his mental health.

With all that going on, it would be hard to not recognize Iron Man no matter what armor he wore--the Iron Man visage had been burned into my mind's eye because of this armor.  And I didn't even like Iron Man back then!

After having seen so many versions of Iron Man armor in the comics, and now the movies, looking back at the Silver Centurion suit really brings back a sense of a simpler time, when a more powerful suit of armor came with drawbacks that were just as powerful, and where some triangular shoulder guards meant a more kick ass modern look.

Placed side by side with the newer armors, the Silver Centurion probably looks out of style.  But as a toy, it shapes up like the classic it's meant to be.  More after the jump!

Monday, November 22, 2010

DC Universe Classics Wave 14 Collect and Connect Ultra-Humanite!

Yes, it's the elusive Walmart wave 14 and the even more elusive CnC figure, the Ultra-Humanite!

Ever since the wave was announced in ToyFare complete with pictures, there were only two figures I really wanted: Zatanna and ol' Monkeybrains here.  Ok, and maybe Alan Scott.  It seemed like it was going to be a tall order to get a build-a-figure without getting the figures themselves but what could one do?

Well, just a couple of Sundays back, I ventured down to the local weekly toy "flee" market after missing it for various reasons over the past month or so.  And guess what?  He was right there.  And only for S$50! (That's a low, low US$39!)  That's right, just the CnC itself, no other figures that I didn't want attached.

Yet, I didn't get him initially because he was the only one left and had pretty bad paint splash on the back of his leather costume.  So this weekend, I paid a visit to the market once more and what did I find?  My regular seller Dave (from the reputable Dave's Toylet, no less) had a couple more pieces on hand.  He told me one was scuffed pretty badly on the back his uniform so he'd only charge $45.  But thank goodness the other Humanite he had was in good condition and still gave me a further S$2 discount on that.  So US$37+ for one of the latest CnCs?  Hell, Yeah!

So the remaining question would be: where did these figures come from, and so cheap at that?

I can only think of one place: China.  Straight out of the quality control reject bin.  And while it's still a great figure, you'll see why it might have failed QC as we look at the ultimate smart-monkey himself (the Ultra-Humanite, not me) right after the jump!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The New Displays in the New Den in the New Lair!

So I moved into the new place in late October with my wife and we've been taking our time to get settled in and buying furniture and all that stuff.  So now with pretty much the basics in place, I've managed to get the "Den" set up!  Ok, so it's not a den, just a room in our new home.  But it's all ours!!!!!! Mwahahahahaha!

So what does it contain?  So far and most importantly, my new toy displays!

So while I like the spaciousness and the white backgrounds for real-life viewing of the display, I realize the shelves look quite bare in the photos.

But worry not!  I have lots more stuff to move from my old place and lots of unopened stuff as well!

If all goes according to plan, I'll be doing lots of reviews and continually filling up the shelf space quick-fast!

So I guess empty-ish shelves are always a good thing? ;)

Friday, November 19, 2010

DC Universe Classics Wave 15 Martian Manhunter

Yessssss!!! He's finally here!  The Magnificent Seven is finally complete!  Or not.  I have a Two-pack Aquaman (And Black Manta) on the way, but he's stuck somewhere in Canada...for now...

So we'll just use Hawkgirl as a stand-in for now!  Yeah, it'll be Justice League Animated Series Mag 7 for now. :)

I chose to get the variant version of J'onn J'onzz because he's be less "standard"-he'd have a pointy head, a chopper blade hand and be loads better than the human form version.

As the Rangerlord says, the classic Manhunter can be quite boring, depending on your taste.  But after having a gander at both, I realized that they were both equally ok, and that in order to have the complete Martian Manhunter, you'd have to get them both.

Why?  He's a shapeshifter, so having interchangeable parts like Plastic Man would be totally awesome.  But Ol' Stretchy Tights was a Comic Con Exclusive, meaning that there is no way Manhunter could be equally awesome, yes?  Well, yes and no.  And here's why...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Iron Man 2 Comic Series Ultimate Iron Man!

*Hey all!  Sorry for the delay between posts--was out for my annual nation serving duties (read: army reservists) and was also in the middle of my move to the new place (read toy/gaming central. Lol wait till the wife sees this.)  We finally got the broadband set up today so here it is, the latest of my reviews.  Hopefully I'll be able to post more consistently now. :)


You might be wondering, wait a tick, why I'm reviewing Iron Man 2 figures waaay after the movie that hit the theaters in May?  That's like six whole months ago.

Well, I'll tell you why:

1. This figure comes from a completely new wave of IM2 armors that contains many different new sculpts/re-use of later early wave sculpts that were fine-tuned to be better.

2. Because they're awesomely detailed toys!  And at 3.75" scale at that!

Still not convinced?  Well, I got three words and a picture for you:

Ultimate. Iron. Man.

Now all you Ultimates fans (me included) can roll up your tongues from the floor, put in back in yer mouths (removed scraps of dirt etc. first), then shut those jaws and swallow.  That's right, remember to breathe...

For those of you who are not Ultimates fans, you still gotta admit that it looks like a pretty darn good-looking toy.

Still not convinced?  Not a "looks" person, you say?  Well then this guy's personality will getcha!  Ultimate Iron Man might not talk to me (despite my attempts to strike up a conversation) or anyone else for that matter.  But his character's appeal, brought to life by the superb Mark Millar and the splendid Bryan Hitch in the Original Ultimates Comic Series, is so cool that he might as well have a personality.

What do I mean?  Well, click on to find out!
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