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)


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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.

CELEBRICKTION at Bangsar Village (Part 2)

This portion of the diorama features a street market scene, with Central Market as the backdrop - a prominent architectural landmark of the cultural market district associated with the Petaling Street area in Kuala Lumpur.

Besides urban based architectural builds, there was also a diorama featuring village-based architecture that depict 'kampung' scenery. While bungalow scaled structures in town areas used masonry and tiles in the colonial style, 'kampung' houses in the olden days were built in timber and raised on stilts.

Something a little more contemporary, below is a scene of a typical Malay 'warung' (roadside  restaurant) with its distinctive covered but open dining area...

...and here's another sight that's uniquely Malaysian, a PETRONAS gas station - Petronas is the national producer of petroleum.

CELEBRICKTION at Bangsar Village (Part 1)

LOM (LUG Of Malaysia) does it again, with the CELEBRICKTION installation at Bangsar Village. In conjunction with Malaysia's 59th year of independence, LOM commemorates the event with a Malaysian-themed group build. Some of these have been displayed in previous exhibitions, but this is the 1st time they've done an event focused on heritage styled buildings.

I'm spreading the event though 3 posts, due to the number of pics. This 1st post will focus on the shophouse typology, which is the most prominent archetype of buildings that formed early towns in pre-independence Malaysia (then called Malaya). The architectural influences are eclectic, ranging from neo classical to art deco to british colonial, and considering Straits Settlement towns (Penang, Melaka and Singapore) had a high population of Chinese, the designs featured oriental influences, along with characteristics that make it unique to the tropical climate.

This build stands out not only for the early modernist style, but also the little rooftop prayer house - a tradition the chinese practice for good fortune.

While the main diorama is modular scale, this set of builds is at a sightly smaller scale...

...while these are at a large scale - to accommodate even more intricate detailing and decorative features.

Quite a few of the builds included interior detailing. Unfortunately the diorama is arranged in an island with builds facing all 4 sides, so views to the interiors were limited.