Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Saturday, May 2, 2015
Thursday, April 30, 2015
We South Asians were lucky enough to have caught this movie a week earlier than our buddies in the States. Therefore I shall caution my dear readers that I might be 'accidently' giving away some spoilers here although it is not my style to completely review a movie in detail. I'm just gonna talk briefly about the movie and if it really did meet my expectations.
So here we go....here are my brief thoughts on the movie:
1) I love it that Marvel expanded the team roster. Apart from the obvious Maximoff twins and the uber cool Vision, I was pleasantly surprised to see several other Avengers appearing at the end of the movie (one even joined in the climactic battle with Ultron and his baddies).
2) That 'snow scene' at the very beginning and that battle scene in that cathedral in Sovokia harkens me back to the good old Millar-Hitch's The Ultimates comic pages. Those who have the epic Ultimates 'wide-screen' comic pages will know what I mean here. If you haven't then please do so already.
3) It was cool to find that Hawkeye ended up to be the focal point of the movie. Nice touch by Joss Whedon to give him a backstory.
4) Those who dissed the movie as boring clearly didn't understand the build up that Stan Lee wanted for his movies and the plans to eventually link up ALL of the Marvel movie-verse teams i.e. Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Inhumans etc.
5) I truly love that banter between The Vision and Thor about the weight distribution of Mjolnir. This has got to be one of the most coolest scene from the movie.
6) Ultron turned out to be a 'gentleman-ly' villain and not the psychotic android we've come to know from the comic pages. He didn't turned out that bad either.
7) The decision to prematurely kill off one Avenger pisses me off. I thought he/she will at least make it to the next Avengers flick. They better introduce more members in Avengers 3...haha.
8) I think that the overall feel of the movie echoes perfectly to what The Ultimates intended to be for comic book readers. The dialogue was full of wit, humour and the movie didn't lose that comic book feel while trying to stay realistic at the same time.
9) I'm leaning more towards the Marvel camp myself but that's not gonna stop me from wanting to watch Batman vs Superman next year. DC is definitely trying to outdo Marvel but they have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to their team roster (I'm looking at you JLA and Suicide Squad!).
10) The mid-credit scene was short BUT meaningful. It kinda tells you where Marvel Studios are taking their movies and how they'll move forward towards a common goal. Very cool.
Saturday, March 14, 2015
I've not been focusing much on my MOTU Classics acquisitions these days. Maybe it’s because at the back of my mind I’ve been constantly conditioning myself that the MOTUC line is coming very near to its imminent end. What a ride it has been since 2008. That was the year when I almost didn’t get into the line. Well, I’m definitely glad I did. I would’ve kicked myself senselessly by now knowing that I’ve skipped one of the most important nostalgic toy lines (albeit re-issue versions of the originals) of my youth. The life of an 80s-themed toy collector devoid of the Masters of the Universe action figures is simply unacceptable!
I haven’t been getting the time to do full reviews like I used to. These days, I’m happy just to shoot a couple of pictures of my toys without actually posing them like they are in some ‘retail product shots’. Like a blogger buddy of mine once said, most toy bloggers are unfortunately sucked into the interactive worlds of instagram, facebook and flickr nowadays thus neglecting their blogs. While this is true (I am one of those guilty of these too!) I still feel that blogging on a real blog page evokes a very strong geekiness feeling as opposed to the other above mentioned social media platforms. But then, there’s always the ‘laziness’ factor. But let’s not get into that for now (haha).
*Laziness kicks in*...how about if we do a multiple review instead of individual MOTUC items? Sounds good to me....haha.
Right. On to the toys. I’ve really been on my best cherry-picker mode lately. Been skipping a lot of the MOTUC releases (although I’d have to pick up a bunch of the Princess of Power figures from my toy-pusher the soonest as my wallet gets extra cash injection) prioritizing those which are deemed important first. Lately, I’ve picked up the Galactic Skeletor (from the New Adventures of He-Man cartoon series) and Rio Blast (one of my most favourite characters from the 80s toy line!). But what amazed (and totally shocked) me most was my dearest wife’s choice of birthday present to me late last month.....
Lo and behold!
It’s freakin’ Castle G-R-A-Y-S-K-U-L-L!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
According to her she found this MIB playset way below the market price. I think somebody must’ve wanted to clear his extra Castle Grayskull in a hurry to make way for some other important purchases so I thank my lucky stars that my wife was able to be at the right place/space-time continuum to snag this one up for me. It’s official now you know....my wife is the coolest person in the universe!
The castle has heaps of accessories and play features. I think most of us have read about these already so I won’t go into detail. All I can tell you know is that my 30-year itch has finally been relieved now that I have this baby in hand. You see, I tried to lobby me ol’ dad into buying me the original castle way back in the 80s but he couldn’t find one (or so he claimed! Haha).
I’ll probably get into snapping some pictures of this behemoth of a playset in detail sometime in the future but for now it’ll be a great background for my MOTUC figure shoots. For example, let’s take Rio Blast here for a test-photography against the Castle interior as backdrop....
Rio Blast was one of the must-have MOTU Classics character for me. But I don’t have much to say about him except that I had such a great time playing with his action-figure in the 80s. Unfortunately I didn’t have him in my collection hence I had to be content of playing with him whenever I visit a friend of mine who seemed to have everything from the MOTU catalogue! I love the Eternian cowboy concept and I always had the feeling that someway somehow this guy was related to the Bravestarr series. This was another dream come true for me as a collector even if he was as late as Castle Grayskull!
Galactic Skelly.....or NA Skelly, whichever way you want to call him, is simply a bad-ass figure in my opinion! He’s been receiving quite a barrage of flak from hard core MOTUC collectors due to his bulky appearance caused by his armour etc. Ain’t a biggie for me. It’s enough that he has such a mean head sculpt, way creepier than how he looked like in the cartoon series and that itself is a good selling point for me.
I actually enjoyed the early 90s cartoon series and I don’t really care what some MOTU fans are saying or have said about the show. I accept that some fans just can’t fathom He-Man in space and all but that’s ok. It’s a case of hit or miss for some some. Nobody forced you to like the concept but know that some fans actually cherished the show and it forms part of the overall MOTU lore.
You can’t please every single fan/collector in the world and Mattel knows this. I believe it’s better (and comforting) to know that for every hate comment they receive for NA Skelly, there’d be double or triple the number of fans actually liking the figure! At the end of the day, we should all be thankful that Mattel (Matty) actually revisited the property and gave us the Masters action figures while staying faithful to the originals back in the 80s (here’s lookin’ at you Hasbro! Where’s my M.A.S.K. Classics???!!).
Lastly we take a look at Two-Bad. This represents one of the last few baddies that I really want to complete my core evil Masters team. I’ve already missed a couple of ‘core’ MOTU Classic characters to some unforeseen circumstances over at my toy-pusher’s end so I made it a priority to get Two-Bad the moment he arrived. I was not gonna miss him at whatever cost!
Funny how Matty seemed to be giving every each of their MOTU Classics characters their own ‘real name’ in their respective bio. Actually this time Matty didn’t do too bad (pardon the pun!) with names like Tuvar and Badra for each of the heads. Whatever. We didn't give a hoot about them 'real names' when we were small and I sure ain't heck gonna burst my brain thinking about them now. It adds colour to the newly crafted back stories that Matty had been conjuring for us since the line begun in 2008....so let's just leave it to that.
Ok, that's it from The Rebel for now. I'll be looking into another 'classic' MOTU character next. Stay tuned.
Friday, February 13, 2015
While I’m technically a Generation 1 (or G1) Transformers (TF) nut, I’ve always avoided any other scales apart from the deluxe/voyager and the occasional leader class scales. My G1 TF collection has always been centred along the main characters that I’m familiar with when I grew up as a kid in the excellent 1980s. Having said that I’ve only recently ventured into a new ‘scale’ i.e. the Masterpiece scale with my recent purchases of MP-20 and MP-21 respectively (see my previous post on this) and that was only because the MP-scaled Wheeljack and Bumblebee were so gosh-darn perfect I almost forgot I loathed the scale difference issues altogether!
So with that in mind, I was always in the hunt for the so-called ‘perfect’ Optimus and Megatron to grace my TF display shelf so that they’ll look good standing amongst the rest of my collection. I was never into the MP Megatron. He looks rather frail/flimsy to me and does not give justice to the menacing leader of the Decepticon as we came to know him in the cartoon series (those who have him will know exactly what I mean). For the record, I sold off both my Henkei (TomyTakara) Convoy/Optimus Prime and (NERF) Megatron figures because I wasn’t really happy on their aesthetics. I mean....a NERF gun/Megatron with ‘wings’ & an odd-ly shaped truck cab that doesn’t scream ‘classic flat-front’ design weren’t really interesting to me. Still I held on to them until I got to know that 3rd party companies were actually producing our beloved ‘Bots/’Cons almost exactly how they appeared in the classic cartoon series.
I got myself iGear’s PP-01 Faith Leader (Optimus Prime) a couple of years ago and he is by far the best G1 Optimus Prime outside the Masterpiece scale. I have my grouses with him (recently I got really annoyed with its plastic brittle issue) but he’ll do just fine standing amongst the Autobots for now. I don’t even transform him anymore into his cab mode in fear of involuntary disintegration...LOL.
Right. With an almost perfect lookin’ G1 Optimus Prime leading my ‘Bots, I got to find an equally good Megs to lead my ‘Cons! I missed out on the 1st release of Toyworld’s Hegemon, therefore I jumped when I first heard that a 2nd version (albeit supposedly without an accessory from the 1st release) was coming our way.
3rd party releases are notorious for being pricey (hey, nobody’s regulating the whole darn unlicensed ‘independent’ releases anyway!) so you know what you’re getting yourself into here. Sub-par paint job, risks of plastic brittle (I can vouch for it!) AND odd random names slapped onto the releases e.g. Faith Leader, Uranus, Warbot, Hercules...Hegemon; are just part of the deal. But knowing that Hasbro would never (or slow) in responding to fans’ demand for screen-accurate TF toys will probably persuade you to give these 3rd parties a chance anyway. I personally like the Hercules (Devastator) for its sheer size and design but I’ve always held back from splashing more than USD400 (or RM1500++) for the set. Hegemon’s here was no exception. I sold off a couple of unwanted items through eBay to get him. Pricey....yes, but I finally have the Megatron I’ve always wanted for my TF display.
The packaging is rather simple. I think I like how my Faith Leader (Optimus) was packaged over this one. This one feels cheap with its thin cardboard box as opposed to Faith Leader’s thick ones. Nevertheless it gets the job done. I took Megs and its contents out from the box (let’s just call him that shall we? Hegemon sounds so....weird) and immediately chucked the box away.
Hmm...as per the 1st release, I wasn’t too happy with the colour scheme. Here’s a toy which has been cast in grey plastic and that represents the main color scheme of ol’ Megs. The leader of the ‘Cons was supposed to look metallic or silvery to say the least. I wasn’t gonna let the drab ol’ shade of grey dampen the look of the mighty Megatron! And so I applied some Citadel paint on him. I wanted a silvery look but I wasn’t too keen on an overly bright silver tone hence I avoided all the bright ones. I think he looks just right with the medium silver grey tone that I picked for him. He looks way better now than how he did when I first took him out of the packaging.
Megs here came with two accessories. First is an alternative black helmeted head. I’m guessing that this is how he looks in some comic version of him. Cool addition but I don’t think I’ll be ever swapping the head. I like my Megatron’s head the way it is right now. It reminds me a great deal of the G1 cartoon series already. I wouldn’t want it to look any other way.
The second accessory is the laser-mace, complete with chain. Unfortunately for me, the chain snapped away when I tried to pry the mace from its handle. After about a couple of seconds cursing my bad luck the feeling immediately went away as I realised that I’d probably stow it away because i prefer not to display Megs with it anyway. So that’s that.
I don’t really want to talk about his alt mode. He transforms into a Walther (or Luger?) hand gun. Everybody knows that. But he is such an a** to transform. I did it once with some help from my son and that’s probably the last time I’m gonna do that....LOL.
Let’s get him back into robot form shall we?
So how exactly does he fare against the Generations/Universe/Henkei (GUH) figures? Well, as a start, he looks in scale enough when he’s with his fellow ‘Cons. He towers over everybody inside the picture above except for that Soundwave (that’s not even a G1 version of ol’ mono-eye but I put him there anyway).
Perhaps the most disappointing (and annoying) issue I have with the figure is that he is noticeable shorter than the Faith Leader/Optimus figure. I mean come on....they’re both supposed to cater for the GUH scale but why in the world would they even be taller than the other? I can understand iGear and Toyworld NOT talking to each when they each embarked on their respective projects but at least Megatron here should be at a ‘voyager-class’ height, right? I’ve seen some customisers adding some height via some extensions underneath his feet but that ain’t just my thing. I’ll just have to be content with Megs and maybe play around with camera angles to make him look alright when paired with my Faith Leader.
Well, with that I’d like to end my short review on the figure. He really is a dream come true for most. Like I’ve said before, we haven’t gotten a decent Megatron to go with the rest of our GUH figures. The height anomaly bothers me but I can live with it. Right now I’m rather anxious and curious to see if Hasbro or TomyTakara’s gonna retaliate and give us an official Megatron in the GUH scale any time soon. So far they have been keeping quiet so it seems that Toyworld’s version is by far the best Megs out there for us. If you have the moolah to spend on a 3rd party TF toy then this is one of those surely to be in your must-get list.