Whatever's cool with me...

Whatever's cool with me...

Monday, June 29, 2009

DiD 101st Airborne Division Medic

"I never knew except that if any man who struggled in the snow and the cold, in the many attacks through the open and through the woods, ever deserved such a medal, it was our medic, Gene Roe."
-Excerpt from Stephen Ambrose' book, Band of Brothers-

Honest to God, this is one of my most anticipated 1/6th scale action figure this year (apart from the upcoming MMSDX Joker[s] and Sideshow Darth Vader). As a fan of the Band of Brothers book (yup, I read the Stephen Ambrose book before I watched the mini-series) and later through endless/countless re-watching of the mini-series, I grew very fond of the characters portrayed in the excellent re-telling of the real-life drama that the men of Easy Company went through during WW2.

As I already have a (supposedly through his uncanny resemblance) Capt. Lewis Nixon action-figure, naturally i waited eagerly to see DiD's next offering, whether it'll be a Major Dick Winters (wishful thinking!), a Sgt. Bill Guarnere, Pvt. Shifty Powers or any of the brave guys in E-Company. Shocking enough, DiD then announced that they'll be releasing the medic Eugene "Doc" Roe. Strangely (and competitive) enough, another 1/6th action figure company by the name of Soldier Story went ahead before DiD and released their version of an Airborne medic, from the 82nd Airborne Division. This is a review of the said figure from an online scale military toystore. An excellent figure too to say the least, but I knew where my passion lies, it's gonna be the 101st Airborne Division for me through and through. If I have the extra cash, I'd definitely get both for that matter!

An interesting point to ponder, would it have been different if the Band of Brothers mini-series focused on the 82nd Airborne Division instead of the 101st? Would WW2 fanboys all around the globe go crazy over the 82nd Division too? I wonder....."double-As" instead of a "Screaming Eagle"....?

Nevertheless, let's now enjoy the pictures of this excellent figure, shall we? Let's start by taking a look at the box art/packaging....
medic 01
medic 02
On to the figure itself!
medic 06
medic 07
medic 08
The Thompson machine gun is made out of real wood and iron! It weighs considerably heavy for a 1/6th equipment!
medic 9

Aptly named "Gilbert" rather than Eugene, I could only guess that DiD again did not acquire proper permission to use the likeness of the character portrayed by British actor, Shane Taylor as they had failed to do so during their take on Capt. Lewis Nixon's figure; brilliantly portrayed by American actor Ron Livingston in the mini-series (whose figure was re-named "Albert Ross" by the way!).
Below is the picture of his main parachute bag and the reserve 'chute bag which he carries around in front of his stomach. I wasn't really keen in posing him with these 'chute bags, so here they are, lying around waiting for a future paratrooper to utilize them!
medic 15
What's a medic without his medical kit! These came with the figure! Pretty cool! Read on and you'll know why....
medic 16
Close up view of the 'identification tags' used to identify 'fallen' soldiers...so it'll be easy to recognize them once it's time to 'go home'.
medic 17
These miniature safety pins really work!!! Amazing!
medic 18
Some of the many medicinal items that the medic came with. These were magnified so that we can see how insanely detailed these miniatures can get! Although there is a typo error to spell the word 'burn'......
medic 19
My favourite item from the medic kit, his surgical utensils! Look at these shiny kit! Scissors, scalpel and all!!! The scissors really work by the way, I wish the same could be said about the scalpels!
medic 20
medic 21

The Geneva Convention clearly states that if you knowingly fire at a medic while his insignia has been clearly been displayed, you can be tried for war crimes!
medic 10
Head sculpt resembles more towards actor George Eads, who played Nick Stokes from the hit TV series, CSI (Vegas)! Actor Shane Taylor, who played Pvt Eugene Roe in Band of Brothers has a narrower jawline IMHO!
medic 11
medic 12
medic 13
medic 22
Eugene Roe came with an excellent 'steel' stretcher which is very useful to 'stretch' off his wounded team members! Thanks to Capt. Nixon for volunteering as a 'wounded' trooper!
medic 14
Pvt Eugene Roe pictured with Capt. Nixon....
medic 24
Just for further tribute, this is a real-life website dedicated to the actual person, Eugene Roe, created specially by his children and grandchildren to honour the brave and honourable medic during his time in WW2:

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen...a snapshot review of the movie!

Finally my wife and I caught the movie last Sunday, a mere 4 days after the much-hyped premier showing of the movie. At this point, we were informed that tickets were virtually sold out for the rest of June, some were even saying that it was impossible to get tickets up to the 1st week of July. Luckily we bought ours 1 week before the actual screening. I remembered in 2007, we actually bought the tickets to the 1st movie one-month before the screening! Seemed that it is still THAT bad this time around. Several friends have also voiced out that they would be seeing the movie for a straight-3rd time....hmmm, and some people were complaining that they were unable to get tickets just to catch the movie for the 1st time!

Anyway, I'm sure pretty sure most fans would've watched the movie at this point, so I feel this entry of mine here won't constitute as a SPOILER. Nevertheless, treat it as a spoiler alert as you will from here onwards though i don't reveal much storyline/plot! Heheh....

As hardcore Gen 1 fans, we were obviously excited to watch the sequel to the highly anticipated follow-up to the 1st movie. We are aware that many fans were calling it 'Bay'formers in view of Michael Bay's inaccurate interpretations of the classic 80's cartoon storyline and all. To both me and my wife, this was just another classic example of a movie adaptation gone wrong i.e. in the lines of the LOTR trilogy. But then, you either hate it or love it. I personally feel that we'd be better off leaving the movie version as it is without heavily comparing it to its' book (or in this case its' 80's cartoon series) form. Let's just enjoy the movie shall we?

As the movie unfolds itself bit by bit, I finally understand why most people I know (who constantly refer themselves as 'Gen 1 purists') disliked the movie for some reasons. They dubbed ROTF as being too 'action-packed' and lack that 'build-up' story line that was so evident from the 1st movie. Well, those 'build-up' plot has been cultivated in the 2007 movie, furthermore Bay had clearly mentioned that ROTF would be more action oriented and feature tonnes of robots bashing each other. Need I say more?
The movie is definite 'must-watch' for Gen 1 fans. Those casual fans will enjoy it too. There are no two ways about it...ROTF kicks 'behind'! The fast paced actions were sometime too fast up to the point where you'd swear that you've missed some of the actions. As my wife has dilligently put it, we'd be better off watching the DVD release when it comes out later in the year. That way, we can cover the whole screen without missing any of the actions.

SPOILER alert........

I like the fact that Starscream is now a glimmer of his Gen 1 cartoon self. With his squeaky vocal chords to his cowardice approach...he's more like his 80's counterpart than he was in the 1st movie. I was in the verge of another heartbreak when that certain Peterbilt truck-robot was killed by ol' Megatron....a reminiscence of the 1985 movie when he too, was killed by ol' Megs (back then the heartbreak lasted longer since he was only 'revived' much later!).

The acting done by the human characters were superb to say the least. Continuing where they left off from the 1st movie, the casts did a wonderful job in providing the humour and the lighter side of the movie. I particularly liked the acting done by John Torturro who reprised his role as Agent Simmons from the now defunct Sector 7. Apart from that, we get the usuals from LeBouef, Fox, Duhamel and the rest of the gang.
The Fallen was interestingly portrayed as one mean leader of the Decepticons. Heck, his head was implicitly mentioned as the basis of the Decepticon's insignia. Which makes him the REAL boss behind the evil-doers' show! Step aside Megatron! It's also nice to see that Jetfire (faithful to his Gen 1 counterpart) made that 'switch' from being a Decepticons to an Autobot.....I initially though that he was voiced by Vinnie Jones, but he wasn't...hehehehe!

The new robot characters were cool too. A lot of fans were mightily impressed with Sideswipe and the 'biker-chick robot squad'. But for me, the interesting point was that one of the 'twin' robot duo of Skids and Mudflap, was voiced by Mr Spongebob Squarepants himself, Tom Kenny!

Of course, I was a bit disappointed when Devastator screen time was cut short. One must've expected more from the giant combiner robot. I had this tiny hope back when Devastator was first announced as one of the many robot debutants in ROTF...I'd hope for an equivalent combiner robot from the Autobots, perhaps Superion or another robot of a gigantic mass equivalent like Omega Supreme.....*sigh*....there was never to be in ROTF. Maybe there will be in the 3rd movie...who knows?

Anyway, to cut it all short, this is one heckuva ride of a movie. A definite watch for me again, but I rather wait for the DVD release to fully enjoy the action again. To those who haven't watched...or planning not to watch, I urge you to watch it.

'Nuff said

Geeky nerd trivia: What is the on-screen connection between Batman (The Dark Knight) and Spawn?

Eveybody knows Spawn, the cool comic character created by Todd McFarlane, produced under the Image Comic banner. There was even a real-life action movie of Spawn in 1997 to immortalize the character as a screen persona.
Before I go any deeper in this week's edition of a geeky-nerd-discussion, I'd like to point out that Spawn was actually McFarlane's take on both Batman and (to some extent) Spiderman, having worked with both DC and Marvel comics previously. This was explained and discussed endlessly during the early years of McFarlane's highly successful formation of Image Comics with 6 other 'co-founders' from Marvel Comics at that time.
Ok, back to the Spawn movie. The title character was played by an American actor by the name of Michael Jai White, who successfully portrayed Al Simmons as the deceased military dude who later got transformed into a (Hell) Spawn. Pretty accurate to the comic version I should say. While the movie was just so-and-so to most, McFarlane's fans rejoiced having the pleasure to see Spawn on the big screen.
During one of my re-watching of The Dark Knight movie (again!) during one of the past weekends, I noticed that the actor who played Gambol, the African-American gangster leader/mob boss looked mighty familiar!
My curiosity served me well as I found out that that the character Gambol was actually played by none other than Michael Jai White aka Mr 'on-screen-Spawn' himself!
So there you have it, the actor who played the comic character Spawn; which was inspired heavily by Batman/The Dark Knight, also appeared in the The Dark Knight (2008) movie!
Geek trivia rules!

Blackburn Rovers home jersey 95/96

This is THE classic jersey that I was looking for since Blackburn last (and coincidently the ONLY time so far!) won the EPL 15 years ago. I got this from an eBayer from the States who was clearing out his vintage EPL collection last year. I couldn't afford to purchase one back then during the 94-96 heydays as I was a mere high school student shouting out support for the Ewood Park outfit. The days when the strike force dubbed the "SAS" aka Mr Shearer and Mr Sutton were the main goal poachers for Blackburn. This post was also inspired by my fellow blogger buddy, Shaun who started to document his vintage Liverpool jersey some weeks ago.
Asics honoured Blackburn's capture of the EPL title by embedding the words "Premier League Champions 94/95' below the left chest club logo.
blackburn rovers 01
Upon further inspection, I found that the jersey was in fact produced and made in the UK, as opposed to today's mass practise of outsourcing everything to the Far East to enjoy 'more affordable' labour costs.
blackburn rovers 02

Those magical words....Arte Et Labore, which when translated roughly means "With art (skills) and labour".
blackburn rovers 03

Friday, June 26, 2009

Au Revoir King of Pop.....thanks for the memories!

How can one NOT read about the demise of Mr Jackson today? It's virtually on every media communication known to mankind. Well, not gonna be a long list of his discography or career highlights here, just thought of having this post as a tribute to the man whose songs moved millions. I guess I was a fan (though not as diehard as my wife is) and my earliest memories of watching the Grammy Awards were obviously watching the music videos of Beat It and Billie Jean way back in the early 80s. I wasn't interested to know much about his 'sideshow circus scandals', which in my opinion, were fabrications made up by those who tried to take advantage of the man. It's just my opinion though...you might think differently.
I read on the net today, a man who was there at Times Square when the news of Jacko's demise was flashed onto the big screen was saying..."This felt similar to the time when Kennedy was assasinated or when Elvis died"....such a heartfelt remark echoes the same through out most of the people whose lives he had touched and changed. Musical genius, excellent moonwalker (among the thing I'd always remember him for!) and of course a great entertainer.......
Rest in peace MJ......

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

1/6th scaled Wolverine: Origins

I wasn't too keen over Medicom's version of Wolvie. In fact I find it rather cartoony (for such an expensive action figure!). So when Hot Toys announced (or rather previewed) their 1st prototype take on ol' Wolvie, I was left rather impressed, although the headsculpt has to be improved to reach that level of similarities with Mr Jackman. I'm sure HT will improve on the headsculpt as they strive to perfect their offering before its' expected release later this year.

Mighty impressive with the jacket and especially the 'chromed' claws. For comparison sake, here is a picture of Medicom's 'cartoony' version....with a picture of Medicom's Cyclops as well to further stress my point on the 'cartoony' likeness we get from the Medicom RAH line.

Now, bring on Hot Toys' movie Deadpool....let's see how that one will turn out!

This is a crazy year indeed with Hot Toys (as the leading 1/6th scale action-figure producer) releasing/going to release so many cool figures, some (cool ones) of which are:

The Terminator Salvation line:

T-600 endoskeleton

T-600 endoskeleton with the 'rubber-mask' thingy

John Connor

John Connor variant (looks cool with the non-PVC jacket)

Marcus Wright

Resident Evil 5 line:

Chris Redfield

Sheva Alomar

The Predator movie line:

Dutch Schaefer

Predators (not sure how many versions are there already!)

Apart from that, we're still yet to get the official releases of:

Mark I Iron Man

Rorschach of Watchmen

MMSDX batman (strongly rumoured!)

I wonder how some collectors plan (and managed) to keep up with collecting everything that HT is planning to release this year? I'm already down to having instant noodles for lunch just to get the MMSDX Joker and probably another one or two releases from HT....heheheh....now that Wolverine has been previewed, I guess the 'to-get/wishlist' slot is being filled up pretty fast!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

X-Men: The Characters and Their Universe

X-Men : the Characters and Their Universe gives the story and insight of this unique band of comic book heroes right from their creation in 1963 by the creative dream team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby through the late 1970s re-emergence as a platform for socially and politically relevant storytelling, then up to the present day as one of the globe's hottest movie and comics franchises (including the groundbreaking 1992 animated series and blockbuster feature films, including X-Men III: The Last Stand).

This colourful, abundantly illustrated volume also traces how the characters have been adapted into the media of television and film, including the blockbusting feature films and groundbreaking animated series. Through exclusive interviews with many of the key creators and contributors to the X-universe from all media - among them Stan lee, Chris Claremont and John Romita from the comics world, Bryan Singer, Hugh Jackman, Sir Ian McKellen, Brett Ratner and Halle Berry from the film world.

Being an X-Men fan since as long as I can remember. Well, what really sparked my interest on these 'muties' was a graphic novel (pic above) bought for me by my late father in the late 80s called God Loves, Man Kills. It tells the tale of one Reverend William Stryker who tries to stir up religious anti-mutant movements and subsequently kidnapping Professor X in an attempt to eradicate all mutants. This brilliant graphic novel is often touted as one of the most stand-out examples of X-Men comics using mutant relations as a metaphor for race relations. So when this hardcover volume (of X-Men character bios and all) first came out, I was ecstatic and I knew I had to get one! This is one HEAVY hardcover book by the way!!!

Actually I've been holding out from buying this superb hardcover book since it first came out in 2006, merely because of the price slapped on it. At about RM265 (USD75) when it first came out (it still is USD75 on amazon.com and other online stores by the way!) I was immediately put off and decided to wait. And what a wait it has been. It's in the middle of 2009 now and guess what? I finally found the book at a discounted price at a local book store yesterday night. It was only RM59.90 (USD17)!!!!! It'll be ludicrous not to grab it now! For the record, had my wife and I decided to renew our discount/member card much earlier in the year, we would've enjoyed another 10% discount on top of that 'filthy low' price. Nevertheless, RM60 is already 'cheap' enough...so I wasn't too perturbed by the RM6 (USD1.70) 'could-have-been-discounted' issue. Heheh......

Check out the preview pages below.......

They even discuss on the various toylines that came out for the X-Men characters throughout the times and the best of all would definitely be the Marvel Legends line from Toybiz. It's a pity that the company now has been taken over and not making "Marvel" character action-figures anymore!

And just to show that the price was indeed insanely low.....check out the price tag:

Just to punctuate my fascination and interest for the 'X-Dudes', here are some pictures of my 6" Marvel Legends' X-Men action figures.

x men 03

x men 02

x men 04

x men 10

the brotherhood

This would also look good beside my other 'giant/over-sized' hardcover books I have in my collection, namely my Hellboy Vol. 1, Alex Ross' Anthology (tho' the Alex Ross book is currently someplace else) and The Beatles Anthology. :)