Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Star Wars Vintage Collection 3.75" Bastila Shan

Bastila Shan is exactly the type of Star Wars figure that I wouldn't care about until I saw her on the pegs.  I love that she's an Expanded Universe character from the Knights of the Old Republic computer game.  Most of the EU characters are unknown unless you follow their game/story/series specifically.  And usually this means that their stories are not done being told/continues to be told.

It kinda has a roleplaying game-like feel, which reminds me of the time when the Rangerlord and I would get the siblings/cousins together for many a spot of the old West End Games Star Wars Roleplaying Game.  There was a real sense of boundless potential for your characters.  You could be anything you wanted to be--a Force sensitive but untrained character, a half-trained Jedi, a wrongly trained Jedi, or even a guy who thinks he's a Jedi and has powers because of it.  But my favourite was coming up with your own "occupation," like "Space Cowboy" or "Galactic Ladies Man"  Heh, those were the days.

But getting back on point--Bastila Shan captures this same sense of potential in plastic toy form.  And while I was on a buying-characters-I-don't-know-of streak with Barriss Offee, I picked up this lass too--how could I possible resist the "Character Debut: Never before offered as a figure!!!" sticker?  I'm such a sucker!

From seeing her in-package,  this was what I could garner:  Jedi?  Check.  Double-bladed lightsaber?  Check.  Funky new hair sculpt?  Check.  Fancy Schmancy duds?  Check.  Snazzy name?  Check.

So let's take a look at her out-of-package, shall we? :)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas in Legoland!

Well, sort of. ;P

But that's what it sure felt like this year as my dear wife got me this bad momma:

Oh and the wife is adding on a Marvel Universe SDCC 2011 Exclusive Sentinel as well. (Hell Yeah!)

To top it off, the Rangerlord added on these babies:

Aw heck yeah it's gonna be a very a very Lego-y Christmas and New Year for the rest of 2011--let's just hope I get some of the reviews in before the year-end, eh? ;)

That's the other thing I wanted to say: the holidays have really gotten me into the mood and I've been busy running around getting gifts for as many people as I can. So I apologize for the very very infrequent updates/reviews.

Oh boy, Oh boy, I can't wait!
Although the son got a ton more toys for Christmas than I did, he's gonna have to go quite some ways to catch up to Daddy.  But my boast ends there--you must be thinking "if he's got so many toys, where the heck are the reviews?!?!?!"  Lol.  On the way, on the way.  (Or at least that's what I tell myself. >.<)

Oh and on one final merry note, I just have to mention this awesome gift I got from a couple of dear cousins of mine.  It's a car windscreen sun shield--but it's ain't just any windscreen shield:

Awww yeah.  Laugh my but of every time I look at it--for those very hot days in Singapore or when I'm travelling in hyperspace.

Well, so to one and all: May the Force be with you...

...And also a very Merry Christmas! ;)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Star Wars Vintage Collection 3.75" Bariss Offee

I'll have to say for the record that I'm not a fan of the New Trilogy.  Or at last I'm not as big a fan of the NT as I am of the Original trilogy, not by a long shot.  I seriously dislike the way the NT was treated like a 3 movie-long commercial, with characters more or less being sold as merchandise.  As long as they appeared for a split second on screen, they'd be sold as an action figure sooner or later.  Same with the vehicles, aliens, and whatever else made it into the theatre.  And the Star Wars Universe suffered greatly.

Back in the day, the OT characters, background or otherwise, were very much less deliberate.  In fact you couldn't even tell that George Lucas had merchandising on his mind.  Perhaps he didn't even know himself.  Sure, he may have already had backstories for everyone in the Mos Eisley Cantina to the Forest Moon of Endor, but it wasn't forced on you the way Jar Jar Binks felt like it was.  Hence, I can't really get myself to like the toys--I already have a bad taste in my mouth for most things NT, so I tend to be less partial to Clone Wars stuff.

But sometimes, just sometimes, a figure will pop out at you from the pegs and no matter which trilogy/series/timeline/universe they're from, you're just drawn to it.  Barriss Offee is one of them.

Looking at the character pic they have on the card, Bariss really looks like a noob Jedi wannabe who might've been in the movies (she was) and ended up dying a meaningless death (she did)/being an easy kill during Executive Order 66 (incinerated by an AT-TE. Hm.)  The character, despite all the awesome makeup and the lightsaber, just looks uninspired in the card pic.

But look at the figure--it's almost as if they made the figure first and then based the character of the toy.  I just had to get her.  Being at 2 for S$25 helped too.  It's not often Star Wars figures go on discount here in Singapore.  So was Bariss as good out of package as she was in-bubble-on-card?  Let's find out!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Marvel Universe 3.75" Mutant Leaders: Ultimate Magneto & Cylops

No peeps, this ain't no two-pack--I just happened to snag them at the same time and thought it would be more fun as a double review. :)

Props to the Rangerlord who hooked me up once again.  I swear, he's somehow become my full-time plastic crack dealer.  He also happens to to have me by the short hairs (to use the polite term)--no reviews, no hook ups!

Ok, so maybe he didn't put it in so many words.  But he did say he wanted to "speak to me" about picking up my review slack.  Now that's a veiled threat if I'd ever heard one!

So that's yet another reason to double up--I don't want to be found frozen to death from withdrawal symptoms outside a Toys R Us, my fingers bloody to the bone from trying to claw my way in.  *Shudder*

I'm kinda starting to feel fidgety and*scratchscratch*...*sniffle*...yeah, let's move on to the review!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Marvel Universe 3.75" Commander Steve Rogers

I knew I wanted to get this figure the moment I saw the photos from the SDCC 20011 Sneak Preview.  And it was simply because it would be the first version of Steve Rogers that had him unmasked.

Boy, was that a mistake.

Because this guy is awesome for so many more reasons than that!  And to think when the Rangerlord spotted him on one of his now famous rangings, I was kinda ok on getting him.

I mean, I wanted the guy, but not "ok-you-gotta-get-him-for-me-no-matter-what" kind of wanted the guy.  It was just: "Ok, I'll take him.  That is, if you don't want him, though."

And so it was that Steve Rogers became mine--no prizes for guessing how this figure turned out! ;)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Marvel Universe 3.75" Fantastic Four 4-Pack: Future Foundation

Here's the problem with all the Marvel Universe Fantastic Four figures--There isn't any four of them in the same uniform!  The single-carded light blue modern/ultimate versions of the Human Torch and The Thing (in full pants) came first, but there was no Reed Richards or Sue Storm.  Then came the running change of the Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm in dark blue with white gloves/boots.  By this time, the Secret Wars two-packs series had a Mr. Fantastic in the same dark blue (packaged with Ultron).  Secret Wars also had a dark blue Speedos Thing (packed with the Wrecker.)

Still no Sue though.

Then came this 4-pack all in modern light blue or in Future Foundation white: Mr. Fantastic, the Thing, Sue Storm (Yay!!!) and...Herbie?  Wha?...

Ok, well at least now we have all 4 members of "a classic" Fantastic Four.  But all the 'Bro really had to do was just toss in a dark blue Sue and viola!--we'd have had a complete 'Four.  Instead, now we get the three guys in dark blue and Sue in light blue...Hm.  Ok.  No problem.  We'll just have to put the light blue Sue with the light blue Johnny Storm and Thing and Mr Fantastic.  Only one problem though--I went for the dark blue releases instead of the light blue, so I'm effectively screwed.  Lol.

Moral of the story: prepare to get teased as you wait to complete your favorite superhero team, even if it's a team that's this classic and more famous as a team than as individuals!

My solution: get the Future Foundation white.  At least the previous members of the 'Four you got can still be completed separately as a classic team (if they make 'em...) while you get yourself a variation of the modern day Fan Four!

So let's see how this 4-pack measures up!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Star Wars Vintage Collection 3.75" Darth Vader

When it comes to Star Wars figures, I'm the king of not opening them.  It's not that I have no intention to, but that I tend to procrastinate--either the latest Marvel Universe figures come in or the latest DC Universe ones and I put the relatively newly acquired SW stuff aside until they become oldly acquired.

I've come to a point that I realized if I open every Star Wars figure I've gotten in the past 2 years, I'd have an instant display.  After all, I was building up towards doing an Endor battle scene complete with Ewoks hanging off hang-gliders, swinging off branches, tackling AT-STs, and humping Han Solo's leg.  Ok, maybe not so mch the last one, but I digress...

One of the figures I got because I had to get the perfect version of him was Darth Vader.  I had snagged over the last 3 or so years the Power of the Force version of him on card for S$10, as well as later getting the album-plus-medallion 30th anniversary release for just S$5 complete with album.  But neither of these I opened because I was told by a reliable source (aka the Rangerlord) that they weren't the best versions anyway.

So when they released a Vintage Collection Empire Strikes Back version I immediately got him...And kept him for quite a bit because, well, sometimes Hulk or the Avengers, or SDCC sneak peaks or Batman or Zatanna got in the way.  But no longer!  It's hard to resist the power of the Dark Side succumbs eventually, and it has finally compelled me to open the Dark Lord of the Sith himself!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Lego Minifigs Complete Series 5 Review!

I love Lego!  Say it with me!

All right, you don't have to.  But my wife does and we love to go feeling for minifigs together.  Back in January we found a somewhat untouched box of Series 3 in New Zealand and found three Elves.  When she got me the Star Wars Home One Lego set we built that together, along with the TIE-Advanced and Y-Wing set.  So it was natural that when I split a box of these nyum nyums with the Rangerlord that the wife and I immediately got to feeling out the 16 figures from this series.  It turns out we had 15 of the figures and were just missing the Zookeeper.  The Rangerlord had everything but he Graduate.  A shimmy and a swap later and we had our complete sets.

I tell ya, my wife's got a knack for this--she felt out he gloves of the Boxer and the ridged tail of the Lizard Man.  Me?  I just felt happy, as I always do when we do Legos together.  I also felt out the lone Gladiator.  Yes, thank you, thank you.

For those, who like me, want to get a complete set, splitting a box is definitely the way to go.  Take the half-box home, feel it up, crack it open, and sell on the remainder.  Better yet if you feel out another set and can sell it as such!  That's what I'm gonna do.  Or at least I plan to...

But for now, the review!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Star Wars Vintage Collection 3.75" Lando Calrissian - The Ladies' Man

How do I know he's the ladies' man?  Well, the wife and I are watching The Empire Strikes Back and she suddenly says, "I like Lando.  He's my favorite Star Wars character."  Just like that.  Not Chewie, not Wicket, not Luke.  Lando.  See?  Ladies' Man.

I guess it didn't help that Ladies'-Man-Wannabe Han Solo was proving to be an obnoxious piece of bantha poodoo throughout the Original Trilogy.  But come on!  You put that next to Lando "I'm respectable and have got a lot of responsibility, so I betray my friends to Darth Vader" Calrissian and Lando still comes off as more likable?  It's gotta be that slicked back hair and the artfully trimmed 'stache.  It's gotta be.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Captain America The First Avenger 3.75" Red Skull

What a movie it was, huh?

Though I liked it a lot, I think I still like Thor better for now out of the two Marvel movies this summer. I say for now because I had the chance to watch Thor thrice, with each time better than the next.  So until I get to watch Captain America: The First Avenger three times, I'm only going to make a temporary judgment. ;P

As far as toy lines go, Cap certainly does have the better variety.  I mean, you can put ol' Stevie R in winter gear, jungle fatigues or even toss him in with a spiffy vehicle but you can't really do the same with our favorite Norse god.  Mjolnir can only be repainted in so many ways before people will start to think Hasbro is up to something.  Well, actually we'll know even before that.  But you get my point.

The range of characters we get from the First Avenger line is also larger in terms of characters they can put on a card and sell to us.  Captain Britain, U.S. Agent, Winter Soldier, Red Guardian, and Crossbones all don't appear in the movie but are in the line.  Thor has no characters from outside of the movie so far.

What does this mean in terms of the Red Skull figure?  Well, nothing! ...Except that the Rangerlord and I managed to find a whole bunch of him and Crossbones, both of whom are shortpacked, when we went to our usual Toys 'R' Us.  And we paid retail price too, so one more notch in the belt for the knight/ranger toy-hunting dynamic duo.  Lol.

To be honest I was less than excited about opening Red Skull up until I saw the movie opening night (28th July) here in Singapore.  But after a great movie and a masterful performance by the evergreen Hugo Weaving, I had to bust the figure open and do this review.  Let's see how it went! :)

Oh, and this review will contain spoilers, so be warned! (Even if it is two months since the movie opened.  Heh.)  ;P

Monday, September 12, 2011

DC Universe Classic Wave 14 Zatanna!

*Apologies for the long delay between reviews--I've barely had time to take photos though I've written up some reviews I'm excited about sharing--family and a gig I had were beckoning!  But I'm back now with a bigger backlog of toys than ever!  And I say it like it's a bad thing.  Heh.  Well, enjoy this one--I'm gonna attempt to pump out at least two more reviews out by this week!*

Finally!  Finally after more than a year of prowling, stalking, hunting, waiting...

Finally, I find her!  Zatanna is one tough cookie to find and if you do chance upon her, she's a tough one to find for a reasonable price.  So there was no way that I was turning her down for the low, low price of S$30 (US$25 now, lol)!

I'd snagged her at the local Singapore Toys, Games, and Comics Convention about 3 weeks back and on the 3rd day, no less. That's when I expected to find $2 Power of the Force Star Wars Figures going for half-off, not Zatanna in packaging, and sold as a single instead as part of her whole wave, which is what most speciality shops who have her for sale are doing.

My one regret is not being able to get one for my hunting buddy and wingman the Rangerlord, who just returned recently from ranging and scored me a whole buncha Marvel Universe figures and Lego Series 5 minifigs.

At last count I have 57 unopened toys that I really want to get to reviewing.  That number doesn't include the likes of my Superhero Squad stuff (Marvel, TFs, Star Wars, Indy Jones...arrrgh!!!), (old) movie GI Joes, and MOTU 200X figures.  With that, the total easily comes to over 100, 150 toys maybe.  When I told the Rangerlord, he replied, "Tough life."

I just had to laugh.  He has no idea! ;P

But I digress.  On to DCUC Zatanna, who's not one of the many figures that I haven't opened. She just top of the pile I have on my desk right next to the photo studio...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

DCUC Batman Legacy Collection: Prototype Suit Batman & Lt. Gordon

When I first saw this 2-pack, I knew I had to get it.  Comissioner Gordon?  Finally!  Looks like Gary Oldman?  Even better!  Christian Bale likeness?  Right on the money.  Accessories?  Check.  Articulation?  Looks pretty good from the preview shots.

So what was a guy to do?  I put down a deposit for it (along with the Arkham City Bats and Two-Face 2-pack) and waited patiently for about 4 months.

 It's taken me a while to actually crack them open and take some decent shots and that's mainly due to their size?

Well, let's just say while I love the figures, they fall short.  Literally.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Lego Speederbikes with Stormtroopers!

...Which will be henceforth known as the "Great Lego Speederbike Blind Building Contest!"

So I picked two of these babies at last weekend's Singapore Toys, Games and Comic Convention for S$15 each, which was about half of what they would be in specialty stores outside of the Con.  And the fun thing about Legos is that Mel and I love to build them together.

Usually it's the bigger sets we work on together, like the Knights Kingdpm Green Knight Stronghold, the Star Wars Vader's TIE Advanced vs the Y-Wing, or the Home One MonCalamari Star Cruiser.

This time around, the Legos in question were way smaller and would take no time to build.  So the wife decides to challenge me to a "blind" building contest, stating that we'll "see who can build a speederbike faster without the instructions and just by using the pictureon the packaging."

I laughed and agreed.  I knew I'd win.  I knew Star Wars and Lego better than the wife.  But ya know, we musn't fail to encourage the spouses, even if they have a Tuantuan's chance in Tatooine.

But anyway, here are the results... ;)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Singapore Toy, Game, and Comic Convention 2011: Day 2

So I went into Day 2 almost desperate for some good toy deals.  As with any convention, the vendors start to slash prices in order to clear as much stock as they have probably so that they don't have to lug it back to theeir stores and re-pack all the stuff again.

After I got done with Sunday stuff like church and a meeting/rehearsal for this non-toy related gig I was gonna do, I drove down to STGCC at around 4-ish, 5--I thought that would give me a good chunk of time to wander about before the Con closed its doors at 8pm.

Bobble-heads from Simply Toys, anyone?
This time the wife and baby were at home so I figured I'd have a better chance of moving through the throng of people at the venue more easily than yesterday.  Well, I was right.  Not because I was able to unleash my superhero/ninja training I'd prepared for by reading comics most of my life, but because the crowd had thinned  somewhat for day 2.  Good news, because I'd be able hunt for deals better and also take in some of the sights.

And I gotta say, I kinda like being a Last-Day-Con kinda guy.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Singapore Toy, Game, and Comic Convention: Day 1

Con time!
It's Con time again for us here in Singapore!  The last edition we had was barely 8 months ago--the dates for this year's STGCC got moved earlier to be more in line with the summer Con season in the States so yay for us!

Me: "Time to go, then!"
Christian: "Ok, but I'm holding on to the pass!
Well, last year the Con was three days starting Friday but this year, organizers Reed Exhibitions streamlined the thing down to two days.  Though this seemed like a down-sizing and got the fanboy in me down a little bit, it proved to be the right move on Day 1.  Last year, the halls were fairly easy to move through because there weren't many people.  This year, everyone seemed to be there all at the same time!

Peoplez! And Mario and Luigi running from them
The Rangerlord also pointed out that word had spread about the Con (in it's third year) and he'd noticed more people from neighboring countries and even further abroad attending.  My wife also agreed they'd done a better job of getting the word out--she'd heard news about STGCC on the BBC and they'd also gone on Channel News Asia for a bit of a promo interview spot.

Speaking of the Rangerlord, last year, I'd met up with him on Day 1 and we hunted for toys, comics, autographs, and other goodies.  This year, our ranks swelled as he brought along his two girls with his artist brother-in-law tagging along.  And I had Melissa and lil' Christian with me.  Needless to say, it turned out to be a great opening day!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

DC Universe Classics Batman Legacy Collection: Batman and Two-Face

Hey all, sorry for the long delay between posts funky work schedules and crashing laptops tend to get in the way of toys--what's wrong with this world?  ;P

I suppose in that sense the wait for this review fits the toy--it's been a long time coming.

Way back in December, I had seen this two-pack on the pre-order list at the specialty store I frequent.  Immediately I put down a deposit for it and the Prototype Batman/Commish Gordon 2-pk as well (but that a review for another time...;p)  Both figures in this set looked awesome--A very classy looking Batman in gray and black, and a black and white Two-Face that would boot the orange and purple DC Universe one I had off my display and take its place a default Harvey. But when it finally got the goods in my hands, I was slightly disappointed.

Perhaps it was the long wait to finally get the figures, perhaps it was the slightly glossy finish both Bats and TF had.  But it didn't matter because I'd already put down for the 2-pack and it was mine so I was going to open it anyway.

I felt slightly better about the figures when I busted them free but I discovered something else that I didn't like: the figures were too tall and largish to fit in with DCUC.  Hm.  Nevertheless, I was still game on giving the figures a chance, especially since they turned out to be excellently sculpted and painted.  After all, it couldn't get much worse, could it?  Well...

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