Saturday, December 15, 2012

Walking Dead: 5" Comic Series Officer Rick Grimes (Series 1)

Otherwise known as "The Man" in the TV version of the Walking Dead, Rick Grimes is the everyday sort of guy who starts out as an average Joe but is forced by circumstances to become a survivor, a leader and eventually, a hero.  He's the sort of guy you can relate to, a person we can all see ourselves becoming because he's got very human weaknesses and strengths.  In other words, he's the perfect sort of guy to be the centre of a zombie apocalypse story.

In toy terms, that means if you have a zombie action figure collection and need a dude to complete a display, Rick Grimes is your man.  This also means that if you have friends over, they'll easily recognize Rick in all his bloody glory because who hasn't seen the Walking Dead, right?  well, that's the irony--the TV version of Rick is not the one I'd recommend: poor articulation, a fixed pose (think NECA's Harry Potter range in terms of these two things), a not-so-accurate likeness and average paint render him more of a staction figure.  It would also be so easy to cast this Comic Series version in the same light because of the bad rap of the movie figure.

Well, I'm here to say that's entirely untrue!

I've not read the graphic novels, but my wife has and she's rarely reads stuff unless it's worth it.  We bought the super-fat 1st compendium that contains the first eight books and let's just say she devoured it like a Walker on fresh human flesh.  I've yet to get to it, though it's on my to-do list, and it remains one of the few properties my wife actually knows more than me about.  So yeah, when it comes to zombie knowledge, I am the suck compared to wifey...for now, Dear, for now. ;P

So what do I know about comic series Rick Grimes?  Not much.  I do know I love the on-screen Rick, though there's no doubt he's probably a slightly different character from the books.  In terms of this action figure though, he's probably similar enough at this point of the story.  It's do-or-die time, grab-a bag-of-guns-and-get-into-the-big-city-looking-for-other-survivors moment.  I'm sure it happens in the graphic novels, just like it happened in Season 1 of the TV series.

And here's rick Grimes, with that famous bag of guns!

(Oh, and sorry for the lack of package pics.  I'm sure I took one before I ripped the guy open.  But I can't seem to find it!  Lol.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Contest Time!

Hey guys, it's been a good, albeit unscheduled, month off (where did the time go?).

So time to get back into the thick of things!  And what better way to do it than with a contest?

Well, I can't take credit for this next giveaway, because our friends down at DASH Collector-Action Figures are behind it!

What can you win, I hear you ask?  Let me let them tell you how!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Transformers Classics Generations Hot Spot (Voyager Class)

It's been too damn long since I last reviewed a Transformer.

No, it isn't because I like them any less, nor is it the because there's been too much great stuff from Marvel and DC. (There has been but that's not the reason: a toy that gets me excited will get me raring to review it no matter what.)

The real reason is that I'm a real G1 fan.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not staunchly "only G1 toys."  In fact, I think those toys are dated.  But I think their designs are timeless.  Clean lines, very human-like faces, yet on the whole very much robot.  And I love it when they take it back to the drawing board and give us a brand new toy with all the bells and whistle but with and update on the classic look.

That's why I love my Henkei Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and Cliff Jumper, Generations Hot Rod, etc.

And that's why I love Hot Spot.

This guy and me go a long way back.  After Optimus Prime died in the Animated Movie, Hot Spot was my new favourite.  He kinda looked like Prime, was the leader of the Protectobots, and had a posse that would have his back no matter what.  If things got rough, they could even merge and form Defensor!  Needless to say he was my favourite combiner.

So when I saw thins guy n the shelf, I didn't hesitate.  I knew he was in short supply, since I saw one of him to every three Megatron and Power Dive.  To find out they are all part of an Asian exclusive line just make me think how lucky I am to be living in this part of the world!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Marvel Universe 3.75" Masters of Evil 3-Pack (SDCC 2012 Exclusive)

I thought I'd see this set a lot more here in Singapore despite the fact that it was an San Diego Comic Con 2012 Exclusive.  We're lucky down here because we usually see SDCC Exclusives as store exclusives somewhere down the road.  And even if they don't show up in your regular department store or Toys R Us, they usually make it to the local weekend toy "flea market," though it's at "collector" prices.

But there was no sign of the Masters of Evil here, no sign until STGCC 2012 and Toyrealm had brought a few sets in as their "Exclusive".  Okay, so they didn't call it as such, but Vincent was the only one who'd bought it in.  Despite the rather hefty price, I didn't want to miss out on this box set because it was one of the few Exclusives at SDCC 2012 that caught my eye.

Now I don't particularly like any of the Masters of Evil guys as individuals, but as a group, I think they're more than worthy adversaries for the Avengers.  After all, they did form up for that purpose--to take on the good guys. 

The list of characters on the Masters of Evil roster is almost as long as that of the Avengers'.

In Marvel Universe 3.75" figure terms, this is the list of made characters so far :

Absorbing Man
Wonder Man
Whiplash (Iron Man 2 Comic Series)
The Wrecking Crew:

Toastin' it the way only bad guys know how to...
That's about 10% of the villains on this list and not nearly enough to make a formidable force on the toy shelf!

Thankfully, we can add a couple more members to the roster, as well as their dreaded leader!

Enter Baron Zemo, Radioactive Man, and Tiger Shark!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Avengers: Original Avengers 3.75" 4-Pack! (Concept Series)

As a result of a massive backlog of reviews I want to take on, I realize that not only do I have tons of unopened toys, I have tons of them in boxes.  Which ones, you ask?  Well, I have too many to name, so let's just call 'em a surprise for now.  (Yeah, ok.  I don't know myself.  Lol.)  For now, I'm determined to rid my collection of needless cardboard, so I'm hereby declaring October The Month of the Box right here on Chase Variant!  (I'm sure you wouldn't mind if the occasional carded or loose figure review slips in.  Right?  Or am I right?  Right, I'm wasting time...)

So to kick it all off, I'm gonna start with my newest boxed acquisition: The Avengers: Original Avengers 3.75" Toys R Us Exclusive 4-Pack!

I walked into one of my local TRUs last Sunday and I see this very set that I'd never seen, heard or read about it before.  So it was a very pleasant surprise when I find one of them, face down amid some non-movie Marvel Universe figure 4-packs.  Then the wife points out that that's not the only one there, because right above us on the shelf are about six or seven of them.  You can imagine my amazement when I had a good look at Loki--I'd never thought I'd see them re-use the Thor movie sculpt again!

Then I saw Iron Man--a brand new figure!--or at least a new armour.  I couldn't tell right off if it was made from older parts but it looked like a new sculpt and I dig bulky armour, so I was at least 50% in.

As for Captain America and Thor, I already have these very sculpts when they were originally released.  Both are great figures from their respective lines, so I didn't mind taking home some repaints...for now.

Yes, they look great in the box, but I hear you ask if they're just as good outside.  Well, let's find out! ;)

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Amazing Spiderman Movie Series 6" Lizard

First up, apologies to the Rangerlord!--I saw this figure for the first time when I was on vacation in Malacca and had never seen before in Singapore.  There was one him and Ultimate (Miles Morales) Spiderman for S$28 each, so I grabbed them both!  At that price, I was thinking it was a steal compared to the Marvel Legends retail price of S$39.90 back home.

The Rangerlord was game for Miles and I was so-so, so I handed it off to him for what I had paid.

But of course, I then start seeing these everywhere retailing for S$24.90 in Singapore.  I felt really bad that he had to pay a few extra bucks for them, but the price was too good to resist.

So I picked up Miles.

I also picked up movie series Spidey for just under S$20 at a Metro department store sale a few days later.

The moral of the story?  For every good deal you find, you're likely to make a bad one too.  Of course, it's not entirely terrible paying a few more dollars in this case, but it was for someone else.  I guess on my part it pays to be patient.  Then again, you can end up being too patient and miss the boat altogether. (Memories of Marvel Universe Vision come to mind...)

On to the subject in question:  The Lizard!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Singapore Toys Games and Comic Convention 2012

**First up, I have to apologize for this post going up so late, what with work, this Con, gaming and a family vacation all taking place, three quick weeks have just flown by.  But no, I'm still alive, thanks for asking.  And thanks for your patience too.  Other things in life may be happening but, dare I say it, the toys do too!  So from having cleared some backlog of Marvel Universe figures, I suddenly find myself with a whole bigger pile of stuff I want to open and review.  It all started with this Con that took place on September 1st, that's some two and a half weeks ago now!**

Come to STGCC or Hulk will grab ya and drag ya there anyway!
I was really looking forward to this years STGCC as it came right after a busy period at work for me and also because it was the first year it was going to be held at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre.  for those of you who are unfamiliar with this neck of the Woods, MBS = luxury.  It's not to say the previous location of Suntec City wasn't awesome, but kinda signalled that STGCC was moving on up.

Day 1 was a doozy, because we'd planned to dress the son up as his fave Captain America and were looking forward to not having to carry him around since he can walk now.  But we had a friend's wedding lunch to attend first.  As it turned out, after we were done, Lil Cap was more than happy to carry around his shield, which I had tied to his backpack (which he loves carrying around for some reason.)  So he looked awesome!

"I hope they like my costume!"...says Daddy
After quite a few photo request for Cutie Cap, the lil' guy pretty much ran out of gas.  Oh, he did last about 45 minutes or so before he had to take a nap.  A long one, at that.

I forgot to mention that we were going to meet the Rangerlord and was bringing along the Justice League: Supergirl, Batgirl, and (later on) Green Lantern. Rangerlord was just the guy collecting the money for the photos. I kid.  By the time Green Lantern arrived, Cap was so deep in sleep there wasn't any way for a female Justice league/Baby Cap team-up, so sorry there's no pic of them all together kickin' a$$ and taking names.  Ah, well. We'll dress them up again soon...

On to the Con itself, true believers!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Marvel Universe 3.75" Series 4 Beta Ray Bill (010)

Weeks after I get this guy, can you believe he's become a peg-warmer?  In these parts, there's so much of ol' BRB on the racks that the 5 Kraven, 3 Astonishing Beast, 2 Hulk and numerous Jubilee look like they are hot items.  Well, I guess they are, depending on where you live, but I jumped at the chance to get him at full retail thinking that he'd be hard to find.

Given that he's a cult favourite and that he has a working jaw makes him hard to resist.  But never did I think the cases that came over to Singapore would have so many Beta Rays that he'd be left on the shelves like an unwanted knockoff.

Clearly, he isn't.  I was always curious about the character.

Well, after I got over my "meh, this guy is  horse dude in Thor's armour" phase, anyway. (I was just 6 year-old or something.)  I'd did find out from the time I got BRB that his story is fleshed out in "The Ballad of Beta Ray Bill" but I have yet to locate a physical copy so I'll still have to wait to find out more about him.  The action figure though?  I can tell you about him right now! ;)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Avengers 3.75" Hawkeye

Ya know, what is it with guys with a bow?  It's like they hit a target and everyone thinks they're cool.  Seriously, they're not!

Just look at those guys in that whatchamacallit Games going on right now in London...That's right, the Olympics!  Ya don't see taught, tight, muscular bods, cool shades, pointy ears, or designer haircuts.  You see (some) overweight, bespectacled, ordinary-looking dudes shooting at stationary targets.  Stationary targets, fer cryin' out loud!  This guy is even legally blind in one eye.  And he won a gold medal by beating his own world record!

Really, he's legally blind!
But in all honesty, those guys (and gals) are marksmen through and through.

And I'm delighted to say ol' Clinty Barton here is from the same stock as a former Olympian himself!  (Or at least at the Olympian level.)  Sure, those guys at the London Games aren't gonna be shooting into the wind at Chitauri from the edge of a building, but what they do is about just as hard, I reckon.  And I even bet if you asked them to try a no look shot they could hit the target too!

Avengers Movie Hawkeye, though, is on another level.  He's gotta be--dashing, cool as a cucumber, nicely muscled, has all that super spy training, a cool superhero name, and can shoot and hit gods, even if it was just Loki.  And yeah, he's also got a hot superhero wife in Mockingbird.  What's not to like?

So I expected his action figure to be disappointing, especially since this movie line lacks a lot of articulation.  But I was so happy to find him that I had to grab it, since I have a thing for 3.75" actor-likenesses.  And I think I can safely say I was somewhat surprised.  Somewhat.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Haul!

3 for $20?  Thank you very much!
Hello, true believers!

It's been a while since I last had a decent haul.  I think the last time I had anything good enough to be considered a good bargain was way back in December at the Singapore Toys Games and Comics Convention 2011.  Yeah, that's long enough back.

So when I read over at Open The Toy that there was a sale at local department store Takashimaya, I jumped at the chance to go!

This particular store usually is stocked with the latest from all the lines like Marvel Universe, DC Universe, Star Wars, Lego, Thundercats, etc.  But it almost never puts stuff on clearance--except in these particular 3 weeks in the year.  And when stuff goes on clearance, it really goes on clearance!

So I'd been working without a break since the last week of July so I really needed to cut loose.  And that I certainly did...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Marvel Universe 3.75" Series 4 Blastaar (024 Variant)

I was just thinking about it while playing around with Blastaar and realized that the really badass villains in both the Marvel and DC Universe come from somewhere other than Earth.

Sure, the craziest ones still come from our neck of the universe--Magneto, Dr. Doom, Apocalypse, the Joker and Lex Luthor--but the really powerful ones usually come from somewhere else.

In the Marvel universe, Blastaar is one of those villains that has the raw power to take over the world single-handedly.  Like Annihilus, Thanos, and Galactus, he's seemingly powerful enough that he could very well take over the universe.

So despite not having read much about him in the comics or seen him much in any other medium, I knew of him.  I can't say for sure where I'd heard of him but he's always been there, hovering like some nightmare Carebear.  And now he's gotten his own Marvel Universe figure!  Yay!  Enough talk, more review!--Okay!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What's in the Wes Box?: The Avengers 6" Captain America! (Walmart Exclusive)

Walmart Exclusive 6"
The 3.75" Retail Version
"What's in the where???..." you ask?

Well, some weeks back, my ol' buddy-in-arms from the Articulated Discussion days Wes Dennis scored me some Walmart Exclusives--and the box arrived this week, much to my delight! (Big shout out and thanks to Wes of Scary Crayon!)

The Avengers movie 6" Captain America was the first figure I pulled outta Wes' Wonder Box of Plastic Goodness, and with 3.75" avengers Shield Launcher Captain America the only figure in that line in that scale I have on the review burner, I've decided to make this a double-header!

Ok, ok, so I haven't gotten around to Avengers 3.75" Hawkeye yet though I got him some time back now.  But I certainly couldn't help not reviewing my first 6" Avengers figure right here, what with it being a Walmart Exclusive and all.  And since I'd taken individual pictures of the 3.75" Cap, I thought a comparison review would be a great idea.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy a double dose of movie Captain America goodness! ;)

From here on out, it's gonna be a game of "Spot the Difference."  Are you ready?  Here's a clue: ears. ;P

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Chase Sighting: New Stuff hits the Shelves!

I was in the local Toys R Us near my office today looking for Transformer generations Wheelie before having to put in a shift for Olympics news coverage.  I promised 3B of 3B's Toy Hive that I'd snag one for him since I'd seen Wheelie there a few days before.

But this was all that greeted me:

Generations Springer, Cliffjumper, and Swerve.

Where was wheelie?!?

There were a good three or four of him the last time I was there.  From what I'd seen, he looked like a re-coloured Jazz with a new Wheelie head.  He was way too big for my own taste, so I passed.

But this time, he was missing!  Obviously people like him much better than I do.  So sorry, 3B!  I'll continue to hunt one down for ya!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Marvel Universe 3.75" Series 4 Hulk! (007)

This is the figure that all Hulk fans have been waiting for!  Or at least the Hulk fans who like figures in the 3.75" scale and don't like the sculpt for the line's releases so far in Classic Hulk, Secret Wars Hulk, Red Hulk (old rating system) and Grey Hulk.  There's also Avengers 3-Pack Hulk, which is a first-ish appearance look on a reliable big buck, but he's almost a different character altogether.

Then there's World War Hulk, who hit the right spot but is far from your classic-looking, Gamma irradiated, cuddly giant with torn stretchy pants.

I didn't like the head sculpt of the classic Green Goliath like most people (ditto with the repainted Grey Hulk variant), but I kinda dug the Secret Wars head sculpt with that body.  The neon-like green they moulded that figure with was an eyesore to some though.  And Red Hulk isn't really our dear, sweet Dr Bruce Banner at all. (He had a great head sculpt though.)

So this figure was an eventual must-produce for Hasbro.  And I'm glad to say they made it a must-have for us fans too despite they long wait.

In fact, I'm sure they were deliberately taking the time in doing this, milking the success of the extremely popular World War Hulk figure and of course, the recent Avengers movie Hulk.  Because of these two things, any 3.75" Marvel Universe fan will probably want this Hulk, and that's on top of those of us who wanted him anyway the first time he was revealed at last year's San Diego Comic Con 2011!

Funny thing about this Hulk is that he's got no name other than "Hulk".  No Gamma Smash or Classic or Avengers or even a colour.  Since it's Hasbro's second go at the classic mainstream character, he's technically Hulk 2.0.  But I think I'll call him..."Worth the Wait" Hulk! (Or WtW Hulk for short.  Hah!)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Marvel Universe 3.75" Series 4 Professor X (022)

The first time ever I saw a pic of this figure was a couple months back on eBay--and his price was something like US$100 and climbing.  Chuck eventually sold for for a whopping one hundred and twenty-seven (or so) big ones.  Immediately I thought either someone on the inside got their hands on a few figures and snuck them out months ahead of their release, and/or Charlie X here was going to be so shortpacked people didn't care and were willing to pay US127  for him.

No more Prof X appeared for sale on the auction site and I never saw him again, until...

I walked into one of the specialty stores at China Square Central a couple weeks back and saw him right there on the shelf, flanked by Beta Ray Bill and The Hulk.  Needless to say I grabbed them up.  They each were tagged at S$30 a pop, that's about S$10 more than Marvel Universe retail, so I didn't want to get them all.  By process of elimination, I put Beta Ray Bill back--great sculpt, but he was the character that I knew the least about, and was most likely to be seen again, I thought.  I was then also about to chuck Chuck until the wife said, "I think you should get the professor.  He's rarer, isn't he?"  I couldn't keep my mind off the eBay auction price, so I agreed and put The Hulk back on his perch.  I was now the proud owner of the most powerful plastic mind in Marvel Universe history!

I returned later to get The Hulk for the Rangerlord, but that's another story. Of course, I did find Hulk again the following week for cheaper and got one for myself.  But that's also for another review.

Charles, Charlie, Chuck, the Chazz.  Whatever you call him, Professor X is a darn good figure.  And he's a great example of how Hasbro has been able to re-use resources to a refreshingly new effect!

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