Sunday, March 12, 2017

Super-sized Superman

Being used to minifigures, which measure at 1.5 inches, this knockoff Superman figure at 3.5 inches feels like a giant toy. I'm pretty sure it is not a bigfig (big figure). Bigfig usually takes on a bulky character to incorporate unusual shape. See picture below for visual comparison.
Super-sized Superman vs Normal Superman
Brand/Model: DIY 2014-43 H
Condition: Bought with box

Name: Clark Kent
AKA: Superman
Comics: DC
Affiliation: Justice League

The super-sized minifigure (pardon the negation of words) is packed in a colorful box with an instruction leaflet and character card. It comes with a crumpled thin, red cape and a 4x3 black baseplate with studs that can fit in a normal minifigure head.
Nice packaging
This superman version is from the movie, Man of Steel. The design is copied from the original lego minifigure.

The belt and insignia should have been golden but this knockoff painted them too yellow. The back of the torso has the same printing as the front, which is a relief.

The face has an alternate printing - one is serious and one is gritting his teeth. It lacks the red eyes face that appear in other knockoff minifigures and the original ones.

The cape is so paper-thin that I have to retrieve it from under the cabinet when the fan threw it off. It is also crumpled from being cramped in the packaging instead of having a separate packing.
The Krypton Son
The only piece I'm more interested in reviewing is the pair of blue legs. The back of the legs are designed wide open as opposed to the closed ones with gaping holes in the minifigures. Surprisingly, this mechanism works well when connecting with the large-stud baseplate.
Dead legs don't walk
This super-sized knockoff brick minifigure is not too bad to be in anyone's collection, especially for those doing brick scene photography or filming and for those doing customization.

The DIY lot has other DC and Marvel characters as well as Star Wars.
Battle at the Fortress of Solitude
Until then.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Beauty and the Beast

With its worldwide release nearing, Disney's classic animated film made into live action, Beauty and the Beast, is expected to draw audiences in all classes around the globe.

Listening to Ariana Grande and John Legend's version of the classic song of the same title, popularized by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson, over and over, gave me a little of the thrill feels.

When I went to purchase knockoff hauls of new Batman minifigures from SGL Toys in Greenhills, I got my hands on the light blue, nerdy-looking and at the same time badass, Mr Freeze minifigure. Inspired by his clear glass, dome-shaped headpiece, I built a Beauty and the Beast iconic piece.

Ta-da! The rose in the glass jar.

Tale as old as time
Using an intentionally blurred sunset backdrop and official movie logo, I gathered some knockoff pieces from different brands and sets to build the brick scene.

(1) The white arch pieces and clock face are from Wange - Spasskaya Tower of Russia
(2) The beige base of the glass jar and brown cylinder are from Harley Quinn minifigure mallet
(3) The jar's stem is from the hilt of the sword from one of the Shengyuan Ninjago minigures
(4) The flower stem is a gold thorn from Kreo Liftoff minifigure
(5) The red rose is from one of the accessories from Friends minifigure of Shengyuan
(6) The glass is, as mentioned, from the latest minifigure of Mr Freeze

Until then, fellow bricksters! 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Transformers: Age of Kreons - Volcanicon (2/5) Farside

Farside, one of Volcanicon's minions, transforms into a dinosaur of stegosaurid species. With similar gold-beige color scheme as other Volcanicon minions, Farside boasts of a spiny stretch of bricks in the back and a geometric headpiece.

Egyptian mummy?
Brand/Model: Hasbro Kre-o Microchangers Combiners
Condition: Bought with box in clear plastic bags, as set
Price: ~2 USD

Name: Farside
Transforming to: Stegosaurid
Planet: Dinosaur

Bare model of Farside
There is nothing unusual or amazing with the Farside minifigure. It  has the same head printed with silvery details to make it look metallic and badass. The legs and arms are of the Kreo mechanism - which enables the limbs to be moved sideways. The torso has awesome prints of robotic details, but has no particular significance to its form. Its back has no printing, similar to Liftoff.

The accessories that come with Farside minifigure consist of 1 helmet (which doubles as the head of the dinosaur), 2 silver curved blades (which are attachable to a red modified 1x1 with 2 clips), 3 pieces of bricks that form into spines, and 4 gold teeth (3 of which are rubbers).

Battle-ready Farside
 By bending an equipped Farside minifigure, it gives the illusion of transforming to a quadruped stegosaurid. The curved blades though are a steal for builders who customized. They can be used for various battle scenes but most notably, they could be used for samurai helmets.
Transformed Farside
Next: Lugmutt

Monday, February 20, 2017

Original Lego Hauls

At times, you have to give in to buying the original stuff, especially when they put them on sale.

Lego laid out all their old models (they said they're 2016) in one big hall with several long tables early this February. 

I got Bionicles characters (unknown to me) at almost 70-80% off. I figured the parts are quite badass for customization. 

I also got the seasonal sets at ~6usd each. I picked Thanksgiving and Halloween instead of Valentines and that artist painting set. 

I also paid for the mammoth Chima because of the blue transparent parts, useful for ice effects. I'm quite disappointed I didn't get my hands on minifigures tribe packs - they're sold out! 

Three minifigures, per person, are available at the checkout counter, so I grabbed Emmett and some cyber police in the Lego Movie, and a Chima bear.

there goes my paycheck

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Transformers: Age of Kreons - Volcanicon (1/5) Liftoff

After several attempts of raiding city malls, I've finally got my hands on the four coveted on-sale Kre-o items last month. At a very cheap price, leading malls have cleared out their warehouses with these Micro Changers Combiners, which include Obsidian, Volcanicon, Lazerbolt, and Grimstone. The sets have 70+ pieces at the price of 3 knockoff minifigures. Yes! I'll review a cheap original.

First up - Volcanicon. Along with his brother Obsidian, he seeks to avenge their planet Dinosaur destroyed by an unnatural force. Surfing the net, I did not find any animated or comic book sketches of Volcanicon. It appears that he only exists in dialogues and in the form of toys.

Microchangers Combiners Volcanicon
The box has 5 individual bags, 1 sheet of stickers, and an instructions manual.

How to Build a Transformers
This mech has 4 minifigures combined to make the Volcanicon figure. The individual bags obviously contain minifigures, accessories, and weapons. The bricks in scheme of beige, red, and gold, boast of 74 pieces, with gorgeous-looking samurai helmet, claws, wings, and bluish gray curved blades.

Chopped parts anyone? 
I didn't want to exhaust the pieces and characters altogether, so I'm doing installment reviews, beginning with one of the minions, Liftoff. Similar to Volcanicon, Liftoff is not on the grid of Transformers universe of comics and animation.

The Eagle has Landed
Brand/Model: Hasbro Kre-o Microchangers Combiners
Condition: Bought with box in clear plastic bags, as set
Price: ~2 USD

Name: Liftoff
Transforming to: Pterodactyl
Planet: Dinosaur

Bare model of Liftoff
The prints on the head, torso, and legs are decent, with intricate silver and orange patterns. The printing in the head looks badass like Dr. Doom's metallic feature.

The legs are way different from Lego and its knockoff counterparts, which can be moved sideways. Though well articulated, they are not compatible with other major brands, but can stand on regular studs.

The hip joining the torso and legs have a similar insertable part as the neck that holds the head, hence incompatible with major brands.

The arms are also well articulated and longer than that of a Lego minifigure, but they are similarly unable to bend the forearms. The hands are not capable of being twisted off.

Blank Space
The back of the minifigure is featureless, due probably to the mechanism of transformation being attached to the back.

Liftoff Equipped
Game On
Equipping Liftoff with red dragon-like wings, two-pronged claws, and triangular headpiece, makes him battle-deadly. These parts are compatible with Lego and other knockoffs, for customizable builds or moc.

Dare You To Move
The wings are worn through the neck like a jetpack and secured by the length of the helmet. The assemblage is easily broken apart by gentle pressure and the neck piece adjoining the backpack can easily break.

Roll Out! 
Go Fly! 
By bending Liftoff in the hip, it creates an illusion of transforming to a pterodactyl, an ancient flying reptile. The claws are switched to the feet through 2 brown bricks and additional gun-like brown bricks are attached to the hands - which I'm not certain what function or illusion they serve.

Next time: Farside

Monday, January 2, 2017

Sky-rider of the Spaceways

Sacrificing himself for the good of planet Zenn-La, Norrin Radd became Galactus's herald to search for new worlds, in exchange for sparing his world from Galactus's consumption. Reborn from the power cosmic, he assumed a silvery form (patterned from his memories). He controls a surfboard from which he travels, out of the same cosmic material he's made of. It is telepathically connected to him. Thus, the Silver Surfer was born.

This is the interesting fiction he was born with, that I've read in a wiki page. I remember Silver Surfer hazily from childhood in a film/tv. But I remember him mostly from the Fantastic Four movie in 2007, where Captain America is still Human Torch (played by actor Chris Evans).

The most interesting fact, specially for Netflix fans waiting for Marvel's Defenders, is that Silver Surfer is one of its founding members.

While wandering the earth, Silver Surfer formed Titans Three with Namor and Hulk.  They were joined by Doctor Strange later on, forming the Defenders. None of them will appear (at least, principally; they may be guesting) in the series.

While surfing for Silver Surfer logo (pun not intended!), I found out that his battle with Thor in the comic series has avid followers. I'm saving the reading for later,  maybe in February.

My version of 1969 cover of The Silver Surfer comics, featuring Thor against the Sky-rider

Brand/Model: Shengyuan 167
Condition: Bought without box in a clear plastic bag, inside a red emoji cannister
Price: ~0.50 USD

Name: Norrin Radd
AKA: Silver Surfer
Comics: Marvel
Affiliation: Defenders, Titans Three, Heralds of Galactus
Superpowers: Holds Power Cosmic
Paraphernalia: Surfboard

One of my exciting finds in Shengyuan's a-dozen-a-box emoji cannisters - Silver Surfer! 

The yellow box containing the cannisters has pictures of various minifigures, from Marvel and DC Comics to Ninjago and Chima.  The effect is to give easter egg surprise to the customers. For collectors of knockoff bricks though, Shengyuan is employing a marketing strategy of cleaning up their closets with these blind packs. The minifigures are probably excess production which cannot be combined with standard models or sets.

You'll never be happy with all the cannisters as a few of the minifigures are duplicates or already in your collection.  Fortunately, Silver Surfer is in my "for acquisition" list.

Silver surfer minifigure consists of 25 pieces – 1 red head cannister with 1 red cover, 1 head, 1 leg connector, 2 legs, 1 torso, 2 arms, 3 hands, 1 surfboard, a surfboard holder with 7 various bricks, 4 individual studs, and 1 6x4 basic baseplate.

The baseplate has the Shengyuan logo with the words "WORLD MINIFIGURES Collect Them All".

The red-faced cannister has a weird, funny expression, looking like it's ready for a duck face selfie. 🐣

Duck-faced Red Hood? 
The head and torso (back and front) sport body and facial lines, owing to Silver Surfer's non-costumed entity. The head has no dual face printing, perhaps due to his singular emotionless expression.

Armless Surfer
There are no prints in the arms, legs, and waist.  The bluish dark gray is lacking the brilliance of silver, but I realized I wouldn't opt for a chrome-plated Silver Surfer. It will give him the quality of being metallic with facial and bodily lines like a mirror-man or a shiny tin-man. In my opinion, the chrome finish better suits Colossus or the arm of Bucky the Winter Soldier.

There is no official Silver Surfer minifigure but most custom build of him has silver chrome finish. Shengyuan's non-chrome model is close to the video game version so I settle for this.

He's got smile and a surfboard booster! 
The surfboard is the piece that defines Silver Surfer. In Shengyuan's model, the board is of the same bluish dark gray color.  The only thing I don't like about it is the loose connection of the bottom section to other parts like the baseplate.

The extra parts for surfboard holder, though standard to most knockoff models to provide scenery parts, are unnecessary. The non-chrome golden studs are also unnecessary, appropriate for Iron Man models only.  Nonetheless, these extra parts are useful for scene set designs and moc's.

Gasoline stop
In the next review, perhaps I should take on Hulk or Doctor Strange to complete the original Defenders. 😹 (See previous post for Namor.)

Hall of Silver Surfer in Marvel Museum
No flash please. I mean no bike in the room, Flash,  please. 
Until the next issue!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Sub-Mariner

One of the underrated Marvel superheroes, Namor, has a minifigure produced by Xinh. Hurrah to the bootlegger community! I'm fortunate to have bought one from my Divisoria brickhunting.

Unleash the Kragle! errr, Kraken! 

No official minifigure has ever been released (as far as wiki sites are concerned). I'm not also aware if Namor appears in any official video games.

I got re-acquainted with this character when I read Avengers versus X-men, where Namor turned into one of the Phoenix Five.  Yep, waterman on fire!

Rumor has it that the film rights were bought and returned to Marvel, but no film has ever been produced. It would be cool to see him in the big screen along with his fellow X-men.

The Atlantean


Brand/Model: Xinh 285
Condition: Bought without box in a clear plastic bag
Price: ~0.75 USD

Name: Namor McKenzie
AKA: Namor (the Sub-Mariner)
Comics: Marvel
Affiliation: X-men, Illuminati, Phoenix Five
Superpowers: Superhuman strength, aquatic adaptation, telepathic control over sea creatures, longevity
Weapon: Trident of Neptune

Namor minifigure consists of 13 pieces – 1 head, 1 hairpiece, 1 leg connector, 2 legs, 1 torso, 2 arms, 3 hands, 1 trident, and 1 basic baseplate with 4 studs.

Butchered Sea Creature
The printed face captures Namor's signature eyebrows. Unfortunately, he has the angered expression only. The head has no dual face.

As Namor constantly appears naked, as opposed to his DC Comics counterpart Aquaman, the front torso has printed chest and abs outlines only. The back torso has outlines of muscles only.

Oh! The brows! 

What to make of this? 
The waist has nice belt prints from front to back, with a shell detail as in the classic version. The only piece of apparel he wears (his swimming trunks) is printed nicely in its scaly green design.

The three scary printings are seen on the legs - one, the knees, which, in my opinion, present Namor with too much body lines from face to legs; two, the troll feet with four toes in each!; and three, the green underwear does not go all the way to the back, which makes Namor look like he's a stripper making money after saving the world!

Troll feet? 👿

The hairpiece is standard, making the face appear heart-shaped, similar to minifigure like Zod I think (at least in knockoff bricks).

Modeled after the classic and original version, I'm missing his pointed ears and wings on his feet. The wings I could do without, as I am not certain how it will be incorporated into the standard elements.

Overall, it is better to have this average minifigure rather than having none in your collection. Perhaps, the manufacturers have not seen any fine moc's online to copy.

Fish out of water

Classic Namor
(photo not mine) 
I'd love to see and have a Namor minifigure modeled after the Phoenix Five. It would be cool!

Namor as one of the Phoenix Five
(photo not mine) 
The final form of Namor minifigure and a photo with the Kraken.

Where's the knife? 

Attack the Kraken! 
Happy 2017!