Whatever's cool with me...

Whatever's cool with me...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Rebel's review: HobiMax magazine.....Malaysia's 'premier' toy mag!

***This is a review of a local Malaysian toy magazine. Suffice to say that you won't be able to find this on newstands outside of Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia. Nevertheless, I feel that it is somehow my duty as a budding geek to provide an independent view on the quality of the publication, especially for Malaysian collectors who have yet to pick this one up. Do join me for a brief yet critical evaluation of the magazine.....

First of all, let me start by saying that it was a pain in the butt trying to find a copy of HobiMax around KL. I spent the last couple of month trying to find the inaugural 1st issue (May-June '10) but often left frustrated as most magazine store owners don't even have a clue on the existence of the magazine. This magazine is released every two (2) months and supposedly received rave reviews from those who read it. Yup, you've guessed it right. I missed to pick up the first issue despite launching a city-wide search for it. Let alone the fact that the magazine is in Bahasa (Malaysia's national language), I was still curious as heck on the type of contents that the magazine featured. So when I saw the 2nd issue (July-Aug '10) on sale at a magazine kiosk this afternoon, I just had to snatch it.

Let us now go straight into the positives of this magazine:

  • Good effort by the publishers to give Malaysian toy collectors the premier source material for their hobby - Hats off to the publishers for creating the very first ever toy magazine for the Malaysian market.  'ToyFare" it ain't, but it's a start.

  • Full of pictures and in depth details of upcoming toy releases - Colourful pictures speak a thousand words and the magazine's full of it.

  • Paper material is of high quality - Truth be told, I'm a sucker for them glossy and thick paper. Hey, at least I know I'm gettin' my RM8 worth!
...and the not-so-impressive/negatives of this magazine:

  • Wayyy too much coverage on Gundams/mechas - Heck, even the covers of the two issues thus far has been depicting Gundams. I don't really fancy the fact that 'other type of toys' reviews/articles have been taking a back seat to the Gundams/mecha reviews. One can even come to the conclusion that the publishers are hardcore Gundam fans and simply does not care about other categories. Might as well re-name the magazine "GundamMax" or "Mechamax" etc.

  • I'm beginning to suspect that most of the reviews are mere 'cut-and-paste' from their original source materials - This is undeniably true especially towards the end of the magazine where 'non-Gundam' toys are given a rather mundane reviews. They look like they've just been translated directly from the original webpage/articles.

  • There is a lack of critical analysis of the figures/toys featured - Same point as the above. Where are the critical comments and evaluations? I didn't spend my hard-earned cash just to read product brochures/descriptions.
  • Serious typo error (or is it intentional?!!!) - Wow, I never knew that the opening scene of ESB took place on a planet "Hoss".......I doubt that it was a typo, the word was in 'bold'.

  • Lack of events coverage - The only event coverage featured in this issue is the one on Gundams (what else?) held at the Sg Wang shopping complex in June '10.

  • Not a single local toy store is mentioned or recommended - Most collectors would probable have his/her favourite joint, but none of them are mentioned in the magazine. I feel that somehow HobiMax should have some sort of collaboration with the local toystores.
At the back page,it was indicated that #3 will only hit the newstands/magazine kiosks in Oct '10....

The Rebel's verdict:
This magazine has a long way to go till it can cement itself as an ultimate source of pop culture references for Malaysian collectors. As I had pointed out before, it takes more than just 'cut & paste' efforts to convince me to spend RM8 (roughly USD2.4) every month to read stuffs that are ALREADY readily (and freely) available through the internet. The publishers of HobiMax should also seriously consider getting guest writers and local collectors to contribute their reviews/comments/insights/piece on the latest action-figures and toys. Reviews should be made on a diverse category of toys and not on Gundams/mechas alone. Give collectors something to ponder over while making their decisions before purchasing any particular figures/toys instead of just mere facts (which are widely available through the 'net anyway!). The other thing is, I do strongly urge the publishers to consider having an English section in the magazine for the benefit of the English-speaking fans. And for God's sake, make it easier to find one of these magazine...don't make me search all over the city again!

It'll take a massive improvement by them publishers before I pick up their next issue. I bet my a*** that the cover for #3 is going to feature a Gundam yet again!

'Nuff said.

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Asrul "iLham" Sany said...

magazines these days are way behind in everything. Thanks to internet, i barely read magazine these days. hahaha.

saruman said...

I got the first issue and looking forward for the 2nd!

The Rebel said...

>>>True that bro Asrul!!! These kinda magazines are redundant in a way. I was just trying to give it a chance....LOL!

>>>Saruman...I guess you're all cool with the magazine then eh bro?

Mohamad said...

mebbe I should join them bwahahahahaha. lmao!

Rafys78 said...

They should get reviewers like us (chewah!), from our blogs etc, i.e local toya's
Who knows, we may make a little side income to get new toys.

boyarque said...

Agreed with bro rebel...most of the articles are outdated and past-tense!
Dunno, maybe I'm better off buying 2nd hand Jap hobby mags...:(

Anonymous said...

Never seen this magazine before in anywhere, I may find it. The problem with Malaysian toys collectors are that they make it a personal hobby. It never had that much hype or mania that struck everyone or even sharing it widely. And lots of them are shy to admit they are collectors and the Malaysian generally have the negative views that all toys collectors are freak that never grow up, I mean toys for them is for budak kecil only! actually we the collectors should form more toys collectors club and promote them as a healthy hobbies among other major hobby.