Sunday, September 3, 2017

God of the Seas

In November 2017, Justice League will open in theaters. With Batman v Superman and Wonder Woman in the lead, the film is eagerly awaited by superhero fans across the globe. Should JL prove worthy as expected, it might bring DC back to the big screen game. But with DC movies, it's always a hit or miss.

In December 2018, Aquaman will have the spotlight for its own movie. With Jason Momoa in the lead role, his strongly intimidating and war-ready look give us a feel of the movie. Expect badass!

Recently, a lot of Justice League minifigures are running in the market, flaunting their versions from the yet-to-be-seen movies.

Aquaman 2018
(ctto) photo not mine; for comparison only
Product
Brand/Model: Shengyuan (SY) 657-8
Condition: Bought with box, parts in a clear plastic bag with build instruction

Character
Name: Arthur Curry
AKA: Aquaman
Comics: DC
Affiliation: Justice League, Atlantean royal family
Superpowers: Amphibious nature, enhanced senses, superhuman strength, marine telepathy
Paraphernalia: Trident of Poseidon

Aquaman movie version minifigure consists of 28 pieces – 1 head, 1 hairpiece, 1 leg connector, 2 legs, 1 torso, 2 arms, 3 hands, 1 trident, 16 parts for the ship, with no baseplate.

(Upper Left) Front of the box
(Center Left) Back of the box
(Lower Left) Upper lid of the box
(Right) Box contents - brick parts and manual
Green man
The head has an alternate face printing, having an angry open-mouthed expression and one with close-mouthed stern expression. While the face simulates the movie character, the hair is a big disappointment. SY used the old mold of the classic Aquaman minifigure's blond hairpiece. This set has a black version instead. While putting it on, I can't help but laugh - it looked like Manny Pacquiao in an Aquaman suit!

The torso and leg printings are intricately detailed and a cool simulation of the movie costume. It would be perfect to have gold arm bangles (similar to that of Batman or Assassin's Creed minifigure parts) and arm printings. While it would be awesome to have a gold shoulder armor like that of Ninjago's, arm printings would have been just as good.

Anatomy of an Atlantean
I can't get over the Bieber or Pacquiao hair, so I have to replace with the Xinh/Pogo Aquaman hair (which particularly looks like Wonder Woman hair too) and put the picture side by side. 

The trident part is from the classic set as well, but this time in gray color.

Pacquiao versus Momoa
The green ship is unnecessary and suit Green Lantern better. The parts are supposed to be combined with other characters in the set of SY 657.

I command thee, creatures from the deep.
Until the next post!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Girl On Fire: The Dark Phoenix

One of the well-known X-men saga is The Dark Phoenix Saga. Jean Grey has evolved from being the Marvel Girl with no telepathic powers to becoming Professor X's student and eventually to being the avatar of the phoenix.

Phoenix Jean Grey has three variants: in green costume, in red, and in white (in order of the immensity of her power).
Girl On Fire
Product
Brand/Model: Pogo 219
Condition: Bought without box in a clear plastic bag

Character
Name: Jean Elaine Grey-Summers
AKA: Dark Phoenix
Comics: Marvel
Affiliation: X-men
Superpowers: telepathy, psychic blast, astral projection, telekinesis, cosmic pyrokinesis, resurrection

Dark Phoenix minifigure consists of 11 pieces – 1 head, 1 leg connector, 2 legs, 1 torso, 2 arms, 3 hands, with baseplate.


Deconstructed Dark Phoenix
While Dark Phoenix's face printings in the head are flawless, the hole used to attach to the stud or neck is quite loose. The hair piece is standard but quite soft - which felt like a hybrid of plastic and rubber. Minimal printings are required for this character due to the costume being simple. While being simple, the torso and leg printings are a bit misaligned, especially in the leg area where the printing is supposed to give the collector an illusion of thigh-high boots.
(Upper Left) Head with normal expression
(Upper Right) Red torso and yellow legs
(Lower Left) Back torso with minimal printings
(Lower Right) Alternate face print (angry version) + red hair piece
(Center) fierce Jean Grey on fire 
This one is for Jean Grey and X-men standard collectors. There are no extra parts or weapons, other than an extra yellow hand. I don't highly recommend this for people on budget (while this may be cheap, you can skip on this one); I would suggest to get the blue-and-gold version of Jean Grey if you're completing the X-men squad.

(Left) Angry Jean Grey in the dak
(Right) Calm Jean Grey in the light
I didn't think it will be complete without the fiery wing effect of the phoenix, hence I toyed with the mecha parts of one of the Ninjago dragons.

The Dark Phoenix Saga

Until the next post. :)

Monday, August 21, 2017

Gladiator Hulk

Marvel fans around the globe are already anticipating the third installment of the movie Thor. Entitled Thor Ragnarok, the trailer boasts of a newly-dressed cast, which to brick fans mean a whole set of collectible Marvel characters in new elements.

The movie is set to adapt the plot line of Planet Hulk, where Hulk crash landed to Sakaar when his allies banished him from earth; coincidentally, Thor was held captive in Sakaar without his mighty hammer Mjolnir, and has to face his "friend from work" head on.

Undoubtedly, Hulk's gladiator form is an exciting twist for brick fanatics. Being used to Hulk's bigfig in various colors (Red Hulk, Gray Hulk, Yellow Hulk, etc.) and in various pants, the character suffered from inflexibility and commonness. In this new form, all is not lost; it seems that creators have stretched their imagination in replicating the movie version of Hulk. Although the bigfig used the old mold, the left arm mold and face-torso printing are good signs of investment.

(L) Hulk from Planet Hulk 2010 movie and (R) Hulk bigfig from Thor Ragnarok

Product
Brand/Model: Xinh 654
Condition: Bought without box in a clear plastic bag

Character
Name: Hulk (version from Thor Ragnarok movie)
Comics: Marvel
Affiliation: Avengers (banished)
Superpowers: superhuman physical ability, berserker strength, agility, healing
Paraphernalia: hammer

(L) bird's-eye view
(R) overhead shot

Hulk bigfig consists of 28 pieces – 1 head, 1 torso, 2 arms, 2 hands, 1 standard baseplate, 1 helmet, 1 panache, 16 hammer parts, 1 head connector, and 2 arm connectors.

I'll give you an arm!
Gladiator Hulk bigfig features a bad ass left arm. The brown, layered form replicates the leather feel of the animated version, while the blue layers in the shoulder area are supposed to match the theme of the much-awaited film. Take this arm and give it a red and silver look, then you will get a bad ass Colossus bigfig arm.

(L) side view of the helmet
(R, T) front view
(R, B) back view
The common Roman helmet adapted for this bigfig looks so Gundam-y and Alphonse-y (the latter from Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood) to me, which is cool. It could be the head to shoulder attachment, without too much room for neck, that gave this illusion.

(L) weapon in upright position and facing front
(C) upright and lateral position
(R) inverted
Harley Quinn would actually love this lamp post-looking hammer. Its beauty lies in the slanted sides of the hammer, where a brick with three connectors holds the elements together.

(L) torso with tattoos of digital or alien writings and printings of  straps connecting the armor elements
(R) baldy Hulk's face with similar tattoos and angry face
Hulk bigfig's printings in the torso and face are thematically-aligned with Thor Ragnarok. No arm printings, no alternate face, no printings on pants, and no printings in the back.

Get ready to rumble!
In three to five years, this bigfig might get extinct, so do yourself a favor and get a set. It's definitely a must-have! ;)

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Boy in a Dragon Suit

Enlighten brand has continued to amaze brick collectors with its ingenuity and quality parts. This brand produces sets of sturdy quality and stunning prints that compares highly with the quality of the mainstream originals.

Although I haven't completed all the series, I try to have a piece if I chance upon them in the local market. So when I saw this light green 8-piece set, I can't help but buy it. This third set from the series has improved greatly by having scenery parts instead of the usual card-and-baseplate ensemble, which barely produce a beautiful brick scene.

The biggest eye catcher from the lot is the dragon-costumed man pulling a rickshaw, which makes a good addition to costumed minifigure collection or any Asian-inspired vignettes and scenes.

Next Stop: Shanghai

Product
Brand/Model: Enlighten Series 3/A
Condition: Bought with individual box, sealed in a clear plastic bag, with a build instruction leaflet

Character
Name: Dragon Suit Guy
Chinese: 青龙人 (literally, Green Dragon Man)
Paraphernalia: rickshaw


Unbox the Dragon!

The dragon suit guy minifigure consists of 14 pieces – 1 head, 1 leg connector, 2 legs, 1 torso, 2 arms, 3 hands, 1 dragon head piece, 2 horns, 1 spiny tail, and no baseplate. The rickshaw has 26 parts, which includes 2 wheels.


rickshaw deconstructed

The minifigure is nowhere near the green color chart. It is in fact sky blue. Everything is blue except for the head (consistent with the yellow original) and horns (which are white). The legs have fish scale printing, while the torso has a leather belly effect (like that of a crocodile!) with a feathery effect in the chest (perhaps an extension of the beard). The dragon head piece has two big orange-white-red printed eyes with white brows and white teeth.

Keep out! I breathe fire!

Enlighten has placed commendable effort with the design of the dragon head. The attachable white horns are simple but blend well with the ancient look. The dragon's muzzle has little teeth ridges and a beard; the head has embossed fur effect in the cheeks, spikes along the back of the head, and two little ears.

The yellow head features a matching print - fish scales! The expression is scornful, but how bushy the brows are! Sorry folks, no alternate face printing.

I am Dragon Boy.

The spiny tail is also a detail not to be ignored. Look at how it ends in a leaf-like pattern.

Beyond these walls await my destiny
The rickshaw is an added bonus to the beauty of the minifigure. The ensemble features a red and black color scheme and look at how the green cover complements the Asian look.

Pimp my ride

This piece is definitely a must have for all collectors. You can't miss this, really.

Until then! ;)

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Let's Move Out - Transformers Ironhide

My love affair with collecting bricks of any kind (well I started off with knockoffs) began two years ago. I figured I didn't have crafty stuff to do, aside from photography and cooking. As my collection grow, I realize this hobby is the product of my frustration in pursuing my passion for film making.

I came across bricks of various brands, sizes, colors, and compatibility. I stumbled upon Kre-o while checking out bricks from the original maker in the toy section of Mall of Asia. Apparently, at the time, several minifigures are placed on 50-75% discount. I thought Hasbro or the mall is phasing out these Transformers items, so I hoarded (and yes, these products are no longer on the shelves, to date!)

While I'm at it, I thought it will be nice to show off one minifigure from my ancient haul.

 The Kreo Combiners - Volcanicon in another blog post was acquired earlier in 2017. I haven't released three-fifths of the blog series yet.

First up - Ironhide!

Boom!
Ironhide is one of the all-time friend of Optimus Prime, although not as popular as his sidekick Bumblebee. He takes the form of a red van or pickup, or in the case of the movies, a black GMC Topkick. A weapon specialist and a loyal warrior, his weapons range from machine guns to missile launcher. Apparently, he has more weapons than a third-world country.

In Revenge of the Fallen, he died while taking a surprise blow from Sentinel's rust gun.

Product
Brand/Model: Kre-o Transformers Custom Kreon Collection 1
Condition: Bought with box in clear plastic bags and sorted packaging

Character
Name: Ironhide
Affiliation: Autobot
Transforming to: red van - usually Ford pickup, GMC Topkick, or Nissan Vanette
Weapons: water gun, shockwave rifle, gatling missile launcher

A red van in a box
The packaging for Ironhide brick pieces is pretty neat and attractive for a compulsive collector-buyer. While flaunting the transparent and shiny pieces like helmets, torso, and machine gun, the instruction booklet and other pieces are hidden away behind the cartoon figure of Ironhide.

Reds and grays
Ironhide minifigure consists of 38 pieces -
1 4x6 gray base plate
1 2x4 black brick with Kre-o logo
1 gray head with a perpetual teeth-baring print
2 helmets - one is a red transparent and the other, a silver chrome
2 torsos - one in transparent white with orange printings and one in solid red with the bumper and window printings
2 sets of arms - one standard in red and silver to match the color scheme, and one in solid gray with length that stretches down to the leg
2 pairs of legs - one in solid red with gray and silver printings, and one in transparent red with no printing
2 small black wheels attachable to the side of the legs
1 red wing-like brick worn at the back (car doors for illusion)
1 red grid, where you hang the weapons (like in the movies!)
5 gray and 2 black clips, which hold the weapon holder and the weapons
1 long chrome-finished machine gun with attachable red nozzle and gray magazine
3-piece axe
1 black pistol (longer than the usual minifigure gun)
1 y-shape weapon which holds the claw-like gray weapon that can open and close

Such a long list! But I bet these are rare pieces for battle scenes.

Can't be a weapon specialist without the cool stuff
I find the pieces from this set intensely interesting! The claws look like one of those which grab a stuffed toy from a local game arcade. It opens and closes with not too much force. I specifically admire the chrome gun, which matches the silver helmet. Items can be clipped to this gun to extend its length or plainly, to accessorize it. The long arms are also a beauty. I can attach the red nozzle instead of the hand to make it look more animatronic. Why can't we have such an arm for Iron Man!

The set boasts of 16+ combinations as the pieces are interchangeable. I dare say that if you let your imagination loose, the combinations are unlimited. The verdict - this Ironhide, apart from being compatible with knockoff bricks (except for the leg and arm joints, of course!), is a must-have due to its molds that cannot be found in other non-Kre-o sets. One drawback is that it does not transform like the other Kre-o minifigures.

Autobot vs Decepticon
(see that long arm using the claw? amazing!)
P.S. To the kids reading this blog - the weapons are only cool for playing with your minifigures and doing action photography; they aren't cool in real life.

Until the next blog. :)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Brick Essentials

One of the most important element in sorting and protecting every brick collector's toys - storage!

There are several plastic boxes, mostly clear, sold in the market. They vary in sizes and features, but what I love most are the section cases from a Japanese franchise of general merchandise, known locally for its cheap fixed retail price.

Cleaning lady readies the rooms of minifigures and parts
Each partition comes with a detachable plate to suit whatever size you need for sections. The middle section is one long storage which you can customized by placing crafted section plates, even by using cardboards.

Each case has 12 small sections, which fit one assembled minifigure or 3 disassembled minifigure.

This is a must have! ;)

Friday, April 14, 2017

Ok! Doc Ock!

Doctor Octopus or Doc Ock is one of the prominent villains of Spider-man. Famed for his four mechanical tentacles that he control by will, Doc Ock fused with this contraption when a radiation leak from the lab caused explosion. This accident caused him to be insane, committing his life to criminal activities.

As you guessed, turning this character to a minifigure is quite exciting. Doc Ock minifigure will never be complete without the mechanical tentacles. I had fun playing around with these brick arms, as they are versatile, and quite creative, if you just let your imagination free.

Spiders and Octopus
Product
Brand/Model: Pogo 325
Condition: Bought without box in a clear plastic bag

Character
Name: Otto Octavius
AKA: Doctor Octopus
Comics: Marvel
Affiliation: Sinister Six
Superpowers: Technopathy, Danger Sense
Paraphernalia: Tentacle contraption

Doctor Octopus minifigure consists of 57 pieces – 1 head, 1 leg connector, 2 legs, 1 torso, 2 arms, 4 hands, 46 pieces for tentacles, with no baseplate.

Octo-bits
The suit is based on the classic look of Doctor Octopus with yellow and green color schemes. Unfortunately, while the legs are not dual-injected, the printing of the yellow boots are not done well. The print has a rubbery, rough texture and the finish is a bit shiny.
Old suit
The printing on the back torso is quite interesting as other Doc Ock minifigures. It has four pins where the mechanical arms are supposedly attached.
Attach tentacles here
The head has an alternate printing - one side has the angry face and the other has the evil-laugh face. What is cool about it is the metal-colored sunglasses and the characteristic thick brows. 
Cool shades!
The completed minifigure  and its mechanical arms are copies of the original brick set - Spider-Man: Doc Ock's Tentacle Trap, where the mecha build of Doctor Octopus has a detachable arms, that can be rebuilt to a smaller version fit to the minifigure.

The hands are yellow, which complete the color scheme. The hair piece is a must have. The round, straight-line hair simulates the classic Doctor Octopus, giving him the mad scientist look.
Ugh! The hair!
Once you attach the mechanical arms, you'd be compelled to pull out all your Spider-man stuff to shoot a scene or two. While it takes time to set them to behave, as you try to balance the position, you'd be thinking that the arms are quite useful for other moc stuff - i.e. studio lights.
Those tentacles look like studio lighting

Like a dead spider!
Until then!