Saturday, March 30, 2013

Lego Review: TMNT's Turtle Lair Attack

(I actually meant to post this next week but i'm super stoked over this set...)

The week i bought lego 'the bat vs bane's tumbler' i was actually set to get this and a few other stuff from amazon. Thats where i usually get the larger sets: great prices and wide range of available stuff. But my usual forwarding service (my brother's hookup in the states) was going through some issues and i had to pull a favor with a long time toy-collecting conspirator (jarodimus of tfw2005, holla!). I also picked up the mini-modular collected sets but in the meantime...

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The set is comprised primarily of 3 compartments: splinter's training room, donatello's lab and...prominently featuring a pizza stove, michelangelo's kitchen, i suppose (ironically, neither don nor mike are included in this set).

The set includes some loose set pieces: a half pipe - actually, half of a half pipe, a springboard thingie (which you can launch figures from) and a loose triangular base with a large screen monitor/TV with some, uh, color coordinated cushions for the turtles to sit on. There are also independent components that are integrated into the individual compartments.

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Splinter's training room central feature is the removeable practice platform (with a spinning training dummy). Its got a tree growing on one side and theres a sewer grille that flips open in the back.

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The lab sits at the bottom of a double storey structure. Theres a big writing board at the back where don post up his inventions, which doubles as the gimmick for this set piece: theres a switch at the back where you can attach explosives and flick to blow open the back wall.

There's a workbench (with a computer, clamp thingie and microscope) on one side and storage shelf (displaying some mutagen canisters and spray cans) on the other, both are removeable.

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Going up the spiral staircase takes you to the kitchen. The centrally placed stove has a push rod at the back which makes the pizza pop out. Just like a real restaurant! To the sides of the stove are a skateboard rack and a tool bench with a robotic arm, uh, crane thingamajig, both removeable.

On top of the kitchen is the street level (in case you havent noticed, the turtles live in the sewer). Theres a lever that pops open a NYC street manhole cover (which sticker was a biyatch to put on - took me and my OCD 3 tries to fix it properly centered and aligned along the studs) and the back wall has a random pole with an action feature: hang a figure on the pole and you can swing him around using a lever at the rear. This level is kind of bare really, save for a street lamp and a fire hydrant.

Overall, i think this set is pretty great. There's lots of fun features, great use of varied colors and textures with interesting details (check out the neon ooze drippings in the background) and very affordable, considering its at the highest/second highest price point for the series. And while not shown here, the packaging is really nice looking, especially if displaying the box is your thing. Looking forward to get a few other sets to complete the rest of the cast.

(Late) March Madness: Cassette Robits & Toy Cars

Belated posting from last week's shopping, which was apparently kill-your-wallet-weekend. Besides picking up some MOC inventory from bricklink, a discounted brickmaster set and wreck it ralph's art book (loved the movie, the book even more so), here are the highlights from a trip to amcorp mall:

HOT WHEELS ECTO-1, KITT & SWEDISH CHEF VAN

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(Actually quite surprised at my sudden interest in hot wheels. Like i needed another thing to collect.)

Been on the lookout for it for awhile and finally found the ghostbuster's ecto-1. Also lucked out in finding knight rider's KITT at the same stall. Swedish chef van is part of a series of muppet-themed cars and trucks. There were some other characters which i preferred (Animal, in particular) but i thought this hot rod van was the coolest (read: least doofiest) looking.

Der dee der dee BORK BORK!

MASTERPIECE RUMBLE & JAGUAR

Was looking forward to these: more cassettes for MP soundwave, yay!

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Ravage, i initially thought was a dud (just overlooked some transformation step) but is actually alright once you warm up to him. Kinda think they forced the integration of his rockets, and not as photogenic as USB jaguar from awhile back. Where USB ravage might be more fun and feels more solid, MP ravage edges it only due to alt mode. Still, not a bad toy and if i had to choose just one, it has to be the one who fits into soundwave's chest.

Rumb, uh, frenz...red cassette dude is solid. One hip joint tends to pop off a bit but he looks great, decent articulation and is fun to mess with. Piledriver accessories fits and works well. Kinda wish the guns were a bit bigger though.

Rumble, eject!

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Operation: body massage.

Friday, March 15, 2013

I'm gonna MOC it! Wreck-it Ralph characters and Lego Batman

So i just caught wreck-it ralph on cable. Such a great lil movie (little as in, its kinda low profile for a pixar flick - i suspect its due to lack of star power). Its up there with monsters inc. and cars as my personal faves, and the link to monsters inc. is very apparent (tho i find sarah silverman hella annoying. Even more so when compared directly to boo).

(Edit: Wreck it ralph is NOT a pixar joint, my bad! Thanks to suhaimi aka sx3po for the heads up.)

The gaming references are, at the risk of understating it, GREAT. I'm not a gamer, but if youre an 80s kid this movie really speaks to you because the gaming scene grew up with you. You were there when home gaming was invented (asteroids, super tank) and when it hit its stride with the 8-bit platform (super mario bros, contra, double dragon). I stuck around gaming as a kid at least thru the 16 bit era (sonic, golden axe, road rash) but totally missed the 32 and 64 bit consoles. I was old enough then for arcades tho so in my teens i played some street fighter and super monaco gp.

While i played zaxxon and katateka at a friend's home pre-NES days, I was then reacquainted with PC gaming during my uni days when i got a pentium machine and played SW's rogue squadron 2 and other lucasart titles like full throttle and the dig. Doom (tho i preferred corridor 7) and tomb raider came out later (mid 90s) and with internet becoming more widely-used (oh man, i'm starting to sound prehistoric) network games (starcraft, diablo) PC games was tops back then. I was a terrible FPS player tho (2hrs straight fragging makes me nauseus) so i was more into racing games (midtown madness, carmageddon).

I'm out of touch with your xbox and PS3 and wii and whatnot these days. But its still great to recognize the game archetypes from wreck-it ralph, heres my take of the main characters in lego:

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(Oh, man this wreck-it ralph write up is hella long winded.)

LEGO BANE's TUMBLER vs THE BAT

I gotta be honest: i'm not a big fan of Nolancholia. I know some of you guys are like OMG BEST DIRECTOR EVER but i kinda think he's...overrated (there! I said it). Don't get me wrong, he's very good at what he does (knows how to keep audience on their heels by using intelligent, well written material. Great tone when it comes to drama) but i kinda think his stuff is gimmicky - as if he relies on overly complicated plot and themes to make an interesting movie. Also, i'm not overly impressed with his batman stuff, partially my own fault since i'm too familiar with angsty 80s batman, where nolan draws a lot from (dark knight returns, batman - year one, batman - the cult).

STILL! The dark knight rises is my favourite movie from the trilogy and if theres one thing i gotta give nolan credit, is that he gave batman some really cool new vehicles.

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Couple'o TF Group Pics

Hey guys, look! An actual TF related post!

I've actually been keeping up with robits, but i've been putting off opening em. I've 3 deluxe FOCs unopened and amongst the half dozen GDO Asian (so called) Exclusives i've only opened Springer. Lego is just much more fun currently. Anyways, was sorting stuff and found some time to take some group pics.

THE CREW OF THE LOST LIGHT

TF comics are generally mediocre when it comes to writing (i'm being real here: 'Uncle' Bob and Furman did a good job of making stories based on children's toys credible, but they're not actually great writers when you consider the medium as a whole) but IDW's MTMTE has been surprisingly great in that aspect. Its full of fun dialogue, interesting take on characters and full of unexpected plot twist. And the best part is the writer (James Roberts) came out of nowhere and is really making his mark with 2nd to 3rd tier characters; thats right - no Prime/Bumblebee/Megatron/Starscream.

The cast remind me of season 2 of the G1 cartoon, with its cast of idiosnycratic characters - neurotic even. A couple of guys are absent (in storage) but here are my favourite characters from, as dubbed by Swerve, 'Knight Quest':

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G1 WRECKERS

IDW also brought back the Wreckers (think of em as the dirty dozen of Autobots) into the spotlight with their 'Last Stand' mini series and it looks like Impactor (who 1st appeared in the UK comics back in the 80s) will finally get a toy (even if it is a repaint of FOC Onslaught). Here's a shot of the original Wreckers team as they 1st appeared in 'Operation Volcano', featuring Springer (who joined in a 2nd wave of inductees with his triple changer brothers Broadside and Sandstorm):

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CAST FROM TF:TM

'07 by Michael Bay? Pfft. '86 for the win! :P With the exception of Gnaw apparently. Still need to get that guy but he's such a fugly lil sucker and Ebay prices are ridiculous.

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G1 HEADMASTERS

I really should get around completing these guys. Great overall colour scheme with varied designs. I used to hate post movie toys but i've grown to appreciate the gimmicks and design theme. Also, i'm sure some of you guys are looking forward to the Fort Max reissue, coming out soon. I'll stick to my vintage but i gotta say, that ginormous G1 box is miiighty tempting.

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TFA STUNTICONS

Also, finally got around to messing with these guys, from the Botcon 2011 set. Which gave us (besides turning Drag Strip into a fembot) not one, but two characters with facial hair. Moustachioed robits!

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Monday, March 04, 2013

Table scraps: Lego Superfriends, Rocketeer (and others)

Made a couple'o small builds over the past week, some connected, some random. Listing starts from top left, clockwise:

WOLVERINE, SURFER GIRL, SUPERFRIENDS and, uh, POLE DANCER

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Yeah, i know the last ones kinda WTF. I was practically singing in my head SHES A PRIIIIIVATE DANCER, DANCIN FER MONEY (any old music will do) while putting it together.

I started with wolvie (black curved slope pieces which i figured i could work into his hair), moved on to the DC guys (and gal) using the same base design. Doing wondie gave me the idea for surfer girl (hehe, tiny little boobies). A buddy over at instagram suggested a stripper as alternate build to surfer girl and i was all WHY DIDNT I THINK OF THAT?!!

THE ROCKETEER, SAMURAI, DUNE RUNNER, YODA

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I have a thing for the rocketeer movie from the early 90s. It was directed by SW production alumni joe johnston, a terrific performance by timothy dalton...and jennifer connelly, homina homina homina.

I was watching some samurai jack (such a great little cartoon) and got the idea of using white curved slopes for the sleeves.

I had the base for the ferrari FXX from the shell exclusive (bought for parts) and had some tan/beige pieces lying around which turned out into 'dune runner', a desert rally car.

Lastly, i wasnt quite satisfied with my previous version of yoda, which had downturned ears and miscolored robe. The construction for the head here is much simpler and with the reduced proportions i made a smaller body. SIZE MATTERS NOT, hrmm?