Monday, February 20, 2017

"I'm the Ninja Consultant..."

Local stores very slow in stocking following releases after the initial wave; finally something new - here's Titan Masters Sixshot.


Sixshot wasn't a prominent character in G1 media. We didn't see him in the comics and saw little of him in the cartoon (unless you count the japanese series). But it doesn't matter. He has six friggin' modes. SIX! When Hasbro execs brainstormed multiple changer toys, they basically asked themselves, how do we top triple changers? Somebody said, how about FOUR? And they thought, HMM... and then another guy says, OKAY, how about FIVE? And they go, EHH, i don't know... and then finally somebody says, FINE! How about SIX??? And everybody's heads exploded.

Initial pics made the robot mode look underwhelming - he looked TOO similar to the original (fucking unbelievable, right?), but in hand he looks good. Actually no, he looks GREAT. Solid articulation - lacking only a waist joint - and the colors, like the original, was always a visually great combination. Practically no complaints here; the alt modes on the other hand...


The winged wolf mode is...serviceable. It's basically just the robot mode with the lower legs flipped forward. I think the elongated head looks awkward, the overall proportions aren't great. But i'm partial to beast modes and i still find this mode fun.


I rate the tank mode as serviceable too. Nothing particularly bad about it, but i don't like the fact the arms and legs don't actually tab to anything in this mode. But plus point for for having a fully enclosed cockpit for the Titan Master.


Car mode i think is the most solid of the lot, figuratively and literally. Arms tab proper to the body and everything locks up. Its obviously not the most convincing car mode, so think of it in terms of Batman's Tumbler. Exposed cockpit? No problem - its a drop top.


Jet mode is okay if fake cockpit is your thing. The Titan Master can be stored in the chest compartment in this mode. Similar complaint on the arms, they just kinda hang there - so you better hope you luck out with ones that aren't floppy. Otherwise, its nice, big and swooshable.


Submarine mode! Which you hold in your hand...and make pew! pew! noises...is decent. Similar issue with jet mode (non-locking arms) and unlike the G1 toy the wing tips do not tab to hold the, uh, submarine handle in place. But the wolf's moveable jaw comes into play and work here as the, uh, submarine's trigger for when you go pew! pew! like you would when playing with toy submarines.

Sixshot has some flaws if you're nitpicking, but he's otherwise a great looking and fun toy because he has:

Not ONE,
Not TWO,
Not THREE,
Not FOUR,
Not FIVE,
But SIX! SIX MODES!

And the death of those Hasbro execs years ago has been well worth the sacrifice. In memory of our fallen corporate providers - a moment of silence.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Lego Star Wars Microfighters 2017

1st pick ups for the new year! 2017 lego sets are out (the Lego Batman stuff looks GREAT) and i only recently caught Rogue One (i've a review up at my Deviantart/Tumblr account) so here's a look at the new Star Wars Lego Microfighters:

REBEL ALLIANCE'S U-WING STARFIGHTER



With Rogue One being set immediately before A New Hope, the moviemakers had a task in making the movie look 'period accurate' so to speak, but at the same time add in new stuff that would keep things fresh. And i think they did a commendable job with these new design.

The U-Wing as depicted in Rogue One is Cassian and K2S0's ship, who's missions are more clandestine in nature - although in the final battle the U-Wing was also part of the attack fleet.

KRENNIC'S IMPERIAL SHUTTLE



Krennic's shuttle is the 1st spaceship we get to see up close in Rogue One, as Krennic and his death troopers arrive at Galen's doorstep. I suppose the original imperial shuttles like the Tydirium is meant for higher ranking Imperial Officers (or it could be because Krennix's project is highly classified and his shuttle is for stealth purposes). The all black design and lack of nosecone also recall's Kylo Ren's shuttle from The Force Awakens - although both movies are on separate ends of the Original Trilogy.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Nintendo's Mini Famicom

I don't consider myself a gamer per se, but if you were a kid growing up in the 80's you practically grew up with the development of computer games. As a kid we played the Atari, then the NES, then Sega Genesis. When Pentium chips came out for the PC the game makers took advantage of processor speed and fast video cards to make 3D games - although i was more of a point and click adventure game guy. I never got into modern consoles like the PS and XBOX so i missed that movement - but when they announced mini version of the old 8 bit NES i was pretty hyped. I couldn't get my hands on the US version, so i got the next best thing:


Actually, the ones i played as a kid were based on the Japanese version (Micro Genius!) so i dig the mini Famicom's look. The game choices are different than the US though but to complain would just be nitpicking - the essentials, the ones i played as a kid are all there: Super Mario, Ice Climber, Excitebike, Super Contra, and Double Dragon.


Nothing like Ice Climber to build the ol' sibling rivalry. My kids also like Kirby's Adventure. And while my 9 year old likes playing SMB3 solo, my 5 year old likes to play with Contra and Double Dragon with me.


My fave is Galaga, which i never really played as kid.

I also recently bought a Macbook recently and started playing Beneath A Steel Sky on it. I missed out on it when it came out and reminds me of everything i love about the point and click adventure games Lucasarts used to make. But that's another post for another day.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

CRAB BROS (Oh yeah, and Titan Returns Brainstorm and Lego Star Wars Build Your Own Adventure book)

(Bisk is technically a lobster-bot, but CRAB BROS is catchier than CLAW BROS)

RID BISK & CLAMPDOWN


The alternative title for this post was 'Don't talk to me and my protoform ever again' but i digress.

I considered buying Legends Clampdown previously - he just looked too goofy to pass up - but finding Deluxe Bisk sealed it: these crustacean based designs are just unique and fun to mess with. I'll be picking up Legends Bisk when i find it in store - here's hoping Hasbro eventually releases a Clampdown in deluxe class.

TITAN RETURNS BRAINSTORM


I initially thought about passing up Deluxe Brainstorm, being content with the voyager class version from Combiner Wars. But the Blurr mold proved to be too good to pass - even as a remold/repaint - and i'm rewarded with whats actually a better toy than Blurr. He's got more deco, nicer colors - the paint on the nosecone piece is deep and lush - even the open cockpit is forgiveable because the mold makes for a decent (subsonic) jet.

LEGO STAR WARS BUILD YOUR OWN ADVENTURE BOOK


I've been looking forward to this book on account of the set it comes with: i've yet to own any version of the Y-Wing, either as lego set or regular toy vehicle. As it stands it makes a great addition to my collection of mini vehicles but the book itself is a fun read too. The story features the Y-Wing pilot as he interacts with different SW character and settings- from Tatooine, to Hoth, to Cloud City and moon of Endor - while making suggestions and providing instructions for MOCs. I love books like these because they remind you that Star Wars is essentially for kids and the young at heart.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Star Wars Action Fleet Retrospective

I got into collecting - serious collecting - around 2002, when Attack of The Clones came out. I picked up an issue of Toyfare, with a feature on 'The Best 25 Star Wars Toys' and between 2002 and 2005 i was heavy into Star Wars (before i changed my focus to TF's). Of course i bought the 3-3/4's but the highlight of my SW collection is the Action Fleet series by Galoob (same people who produced Micro Machines).


I bought maybe 2 or 3 vehicles during the Special Edition run in the 90's - that's when these were 1st released - but when i discovered the collector market i started tracking down the ones that i never seen before at retail. Some i bought at local collector shops like Treasure Island at Starhill (way back before it closed and made way for Graffiti Toys/GT Toys) and some others were bought through Yahoo Singapore Auctions (early 00's, no access to Ebay then).


The Action Fleet series is great for display. They;re model scaled and a bunch of em will actually fit into your shelves and they aren't as dinky the Micro Collection series - which is die cast cars scaled. Plus, they come with little minifigures than you can fit in the cockpit and include some action features.


Thats the Nostromo's escape shuttle from Alien by the way, my biggest regret was not buying the APC and Dropship when i saw them at Comics Corner in the early 00's.


When the prequels came around, some of them were re-released by Hasbro - Galoob was defunct by then - but sans the minifigures. They also produced new molds based on the prequel vehicles like the republic gunship, assault ship and AT-TE; Dooku's solar sailer.



I also have some micro playsets from The Phantom Menace - Naboo's Royal Starship and Theed Palace Hangar where Obi Wan, Qui Gon and Darth Maul have their lightsaber fight. These are actually kinda fun with gimmicks that simulate action from the movie.



I've also bought the occasional SW Miniatures set - like the SSD Executor and Rebellion's Home One. They're larger than the standard playing pieces, nicely detailed in both sculpt and paint apps.




I've also found the Star Wars Transformers crossover series to be compatible with Action Fleet in terms of scale. And it helps me to fill in me some gaps in my collection - like Darth Maul's Sith Infiltrator.




Something else the SWTF series provide is playability and fun factor. SWTF Death Star and Millennium Falcon feature lights, sound effects and sound clips from the movie.


The Action Fleet series under Hasbro didn't last beyond AotC, so SWTF series also gave us more vehicles from the prequel like Yoda's republic shuttle and Turbo Tank.



I practically stopped buying SW toys for awhile, until the day i discovered Lego SW Planet Series, which feature mini vehicles. It gave me an excuse again to buy SW toys and in fact, kicked off my Lego habit a few years back.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Titans Return Wave 1 Voyagers & Legends Class

The rest of wave 1 finally turned up at the local TRU, so besides Fort Max, i'm practically caught up with Titan Returns until they release wave 3.

(It's been a super expensive month and a testament of how much i'm enjoying the Titan Returns line. I've bought more robits in September alone compared to rest of the past 12 months.)

GALVATRON


Galvatron is the figure i was looking forward to the most from this batch, the other being Wheelie. We've had decent incarnations of Wheelie in the past, whereas this is the 1st time we're getting a proper SPACE CANNON version of Galvatron - plus he's a unique mold, as opposed to a Megatron remold/repaint. Despite not scaled to leader class Optimus i think he's a nice size and his colors are great. I don't care for the 3rd mode (a dodgy looking spacecraft that look like a made up fanmode) but the toy's headmaster gimmick is flawed. The 'crown' flips from the torso compartment but results in a gap between the headmaster and the crown and the spring loaded mechanism limits the neck rotation. Its a nice idea but alas spoiled by poor implementation.

SENTINEL PRIME


I went back and forth deciding between Sentinel and Astrotrain, but reading good feedback on the former helped me decide. In hand, the choice should have been clear: its the 1st time we're getting an incarnation of the character despite him being long and well established as Optimus' predecessor. Also, the 'train' mode is much more believable as a gunship, which is a score against Space Choo Choo. Sentinel also gets plus point for a cool head sculpt and his color scheme works great in flight mode, recalling the Autobots default color scheme for their space shuttles. Sentinel in shuttle mode is good enough to be pass off as The Ark.

WHEELIE & REWIND


If TR Blurr is in contention for best deluxe ever, Wheelie here is up for best legends class. He looks great in both modes and even has a working cockpit for titan masters. He does have quality issues though - on some of the toys the tabs that connect the arm to the waist in car mode fits poorly, which ends in the car mode not being properly secure. Easy fix with some box cutter to shave off excess plastic though.

Rewind is actually pretty good albeit a bit boring. Serviceable tank mode but more fun when you have Blaster to interact with - like in G1 Rewind fits in Blasters deck compartment.

CRASHBASH & LOUDMOUTH


I actually bought Clobber - the Autobot repaint of this mold - ahead of Crashbash, but prefer the latter's color scheme as the definitive character to represent this mold. And as a dragon he makes a good pair with Apeface from wave 2, a nice recall to G1 Apeface and Snapdragon.

Loudmouth is based on G1 Siren and i just bought him to get another Autobot Titan Master. I bought it mostly because i like the hovercar design - i'm pretty sure its based on something else but i can't quite put my finger on it...

Sunday, September 18, 2016

CELEBRICKTION at Bangsar Village (Part 3)

There were also a few micro builds, featuring prominent Malaysian landmarks. Here's the National Parliament building, a great example of the early modernist style, notable for its facade's brise soleil - sun shading elements...


...examples of recent and more contemporary designs, the Petronas Twin Towers and the KL Tower...


...Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad, built during colonial times but influenced by Moorish architecture, to reflect the ruling Malays Islamic cultural influence.


Besides buildings there were also builds of ferrys, which were used to commute between Pulau Pinang and Seberang Prai - and still in use today, even after the Pulau Pinang Bridge was commissioned in 1985.



Lastly, here's a mosaic portrait of Tunku Abdul Rahman, one of the nations founding fathers and the 1st Prime Minister of Malaysia.