Thursday, November 16, 2017

Blue Deadpool

I admit that I have not seen the Deadpool movie yet. He's a character you either like or hate. In my case, I am not entirely familiar with his antics and his profile. I have last seen Deadpool in the X-men Origin: Wolverine film, where I think his character was also born (in the silver screen).

Wade Wilson, in that movie, is a scarred mercenary who took part in the Weapon X program. Based on the comics, he has a fallout with his girlfriend after discovering he is terminally ill with multiple cancer growth. He joined the Weapon X program, where his healing factor accelerated, thanks to a graft of Logan's tissue incorporated in his body.

Deadpool was made a probationary member of X-men under the watch of Domino. Mark Kincaid, who claimed X-men kidnapped his daughter, was planned to be killed by Deadpool to earn the graces of X-men. When his plan failed, Norman Osborne killed Kincaid and blamed X-men thru Deadpool, but Wade had it all set up to make X-men the heroes in the public eyes, earning him the full membership in X-men.

Chimichanga time!
Product
Brand/Model: SY 600-6
Condition: Bought with box, parts in clear plastic bag, with no separate build instructions

Character
Name: Wade Wilson
AKA: Deadpool
Comics: Marvel
Affiliation: Mercs for Money, Heroes for Hire, X-Force, X-Men
Superpowers: Superhuman strength, superhuman durability, master in multiple unarmed combat, master in assassin techniques

top left: print on the front of the box (brand covered)
bottom left: print on the back of the box (brand covered; build instruction)
right: print on the right side of the box, showing eight variants of Deadpool, including Wolverine
Deadpool minifigure in classic X-men costume consists of 23 pieces - 1 head, 1 torso, 1 leg connector, 2 legs, 2 arms, 3 hands, 2 katanas, 1 sword sheath piece, and 10 mini ship pieces.

Butchered!
While the printing in the head resembles Spider-man design, the supposed squinting Deadpool eyes are barely visible as they are in white printed over yellow. A little black outline on those beady eyes would have made emphasis. The alternate printing in the same head is grossly inappropriate. It looks like a scarred blue demon with happy yellow eyes. The only use I can think of this alternate head printing is to match it with Mystique minifigure; it would make her look a bit anime though.

A lot of care and effort is made in the details of the torso prints - this is the expertise of SY craftsmanship. I like the thinner outlines, which made the details clearer, as opposed to the thicker outlines of other brands which make the details cramped in one place.

The pearl gold sheaths blend with the yellow and blue ensemble. I wish that the katanas are in silver-grey color though and that hand guns are included.

top left: print on the back of Deadpool's torso
bottom left: black katanas
middle: assembled Deadpool minifigure in blue and yellow X-men costume
top right: alternate Deadpool head printing
bottom right: back of Deadpool's torso with mounted katana sheaths
PG and K*** brands have released a similar version of X-men Deadpool based on another artist's design available online. It boasts of a darker blue minifigure base, silver-gray katanas, hand guns, and a more badass face print. I like the SY blue though as I think it resembles closer to the classic X-men color.
ctto photo not mine
PG and K*** brands have this version
In lieu of extra weapons like guns, ten extra pieces are included, which can be assembled to a mini ship. While not appropriate to the character, the blue ship is more useful for other customization needs.

Space Deadpool?
Deadpool is a character that you either like or hate. Similarly, brick hobbyists and enthusiasts may differ on which Deadpool minifigure in X-men suit is appropriate or up to his liking. I prefer this SY version but I am swapping his head for that of PG or K***.

While crafting for a fun photo, I came up with Deadpool skiing using his katanas (lol) and him battling Master Yoda in a swordfight.

Bite my snow dust!
katana vs light saber
Enjoy! Til then. :)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Spider-Student

This is my second review of a Spider-man minifigure - the first one being Spider-man Noir.

It has been months since Tom Holland starred in the reboot of the Spider-man franchise. Frankly, I did not enjoy much of the film, as I think the plot is flimsily written, the effects look like an Iron Man movie leftover, and there is too much teenage comedy.

Every time a new movie is out, new brick sets and minifigure versions are also released. I am fond of Spiderverse but not a fanatic. This yellow uniformed Spider-man is a welcome addition to the growing collection.

chilling in the city
There is no official minifigure release of this yellow version but I am not certain where the designs originated. The inspiration though came from the release of the poster where Peter Parker in his superhero suit is lying on his back in what seems like a ledge across the city skyline, wearing his school uniform and a headphone.

The yellow jacket has grown popular to fanatics, who had it ordered or custom-made for everyday use or for cosplay.

Product
Brand/Model: DLP 9054-6
Condition: Bought with box, parts in clear plastic bag, with no separate build instructions

Character 
Name: Peter Parker
AKA: Spider-man
Comics: Marvel
Affiliation: Avengers
Superpowers: Spider-sense, superhuman strength, web slinging, wall crawling

top left: print on the right side of the box (build instruction)
bottom left: print on the front of the box
right: print on the back of the box
Spider-man in yellow jacket minifigure consists of 14 pieces - 1 head, 1 torso, 2 legs, 1 leg connector, 2 arms, 3 hands, 1 web sling, 1 web, and 2 glow-in-the-dark orbs.

Spider-man with moth balls
The head has a common print - web design and the trademark eyes, with no alternate printing. The torso and arms are yellow, with printing of the school logo patch, spider-man logo in the chest, and overlapping outlines of the jacket lapel. The legs have a rather shiny blue printing, which reminds me of a wet paint or nail paint. The line printings in the legs are simple, which try to simulate the Homecoming version; the printing though did not continue in the rear and back. This created a bland effect of plain yellow and red brick ensemble.

The accessories - orbs, sling, and web - are included. The white sling is common, in that it bore the same thread with alternating plastic grip. The white web is a little flimsy, making it look cheap. The orbs, while being cute in its glow in the dark function, are a little weird to me. I am not entirely certain what to do about them. They do not seem to fit the bill. (Please let me know what they are supposed to be.)

Which school are you from again?
top left: the head in comparison with the orb size
middle left: the front torso
bottom left: the back torso
right: assembled Spider-man minifigure
I toyed with the orb instead and came up with the Light Bulb Man! (lol)

Spider-light bulb?
top: orb that glows in the dark
bottom: Spider-man minifigure outfitted with the glow-in-the-dark orb
The verdict: We can never have a perfect knockoff brick minifigure, but this one's a cheap addition if you are collecting Spider-man bricks.The paint job and not-so-amazing accessories are excusable. If you are into customizing, you might want to repair the legs, cut some yellow cloth to replace the printed one, or put in a big headphone to make it look cooler.

Til then. ;)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Iron Duck

(Author's Note: The brand name is no longer explicitly announced. Code is used, which is readily recognizable by brick collectors and hobbyists.)

Marvel universe is so diverse in its range of characters, making it open to creativity of the artists and fanatics. From the heroic human like Agent Coulson to an unimaginable being like Dormammu, brick collectors and hobbyists can stretch their imagination in creating customized figures, scenes or sets.

One such weird character is Howard the Duck (he made it to Time's top 10 oddest Marvel characters). In case you missed the duck, he appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Howard the Duck is an anthropomorpic duck, who came from his home planet Duckworld, and dropped by Thog in our world following his abduction. He appeared in various comic serials, with his Quak-Fu fighting skills.

In the 80's, one of its creators, Steve Gerber, filed copyright infringement after being removed as the writer of the series. In the same decade, Disney threatened to file lawsuit, owing to Howard's early appearance looking like Donald Duck. Marvel changed his design from being Donald Duck-y to what he looks now, including having pants and human eyes. Fast forward to the 21st century, Marvel was bought by Disney.

Iron Duck was born in his fight with Doctor Bong, an evil scientist obsessed with his close friend Beverly Switzler. Despite the name, his costume is inferior to that of Iron Man, but clever in usefulness.

There can only be one Iron hero.
The brick minifigure of Iron Duck is a converted form of Iron Man and Deadpool Duck. It is nowhere close to the original comic look of Iron Duck and the official video game version. In the comics, he is adorned with leaping coils and a fire hydrant-like suit with built-in searchlight. In the video game version, he boasts of an awesome helmet with a headphone-like detail and red vest with protruded searchlight. Further, you'll notice his close-mouthed head piece compared to the common open-mouthed versions. At this point, brick hobbyist will sigh and wish we have the original version rather than the hastily put-together Iron Duck from old molds.

(ctto photo not mine)
Iron Duck comic version
(ctto photo not mine)
Iron Duck video game version
Product
Brand/Model: LP 03059F
Condition: Bought with box, parts in clear plastic bag with no separate build instructions

Character
Name: Howard T. Duck
AKA: Iron Duck, Howard the Duck
Comics: Marvel
Affiliation: Circus of Crime, Defenders, Ducky Dozen
Superpowers: When in suit - superhuman strength, flamethrowers in arms, leaping with use of coils

top left: print on left side of the box
bottom left: print on front of the box
top right: print on back of the box
bottom right: print on right side of the box
Iron Duck minifigure consists of 26 pieces - 2 heads (duck and Tony Stark), 4 wheel pieces, 2 motorcycle body pieces, 1 motorcycle handle bar, 4 transparent blue pieces, 2 helmet pieces, 2 arms, 2 hands (no extra piece), 1 torso, 1 leg connector, 2 legs, 1 short leg (like that of a Hobbit's), 2 flippers. The pieces are thrown together to make Iron Duck and Iron Man pieces interchangeable.

Duck in the oven
The Stark head has the usual angry expression with no alternate printing; I find that the printing is too thick. The duck head has squinting eyes, with flaws - in the print (broken line in the lower middle area) and in the production (hole on top of the head). The three protruded pieces at the back of the head make Howard look like a duck, a considerable effort from the production. The Iron Man helmet bore the old mold frowning look, with seemingly heavy mascara (lol).

The torso and leg printings are common (I am not sure which Iron Man model it bears), which has a few issues in the yellow-gold printing - seems they missed some tiny areas. The short legs have severe scratches at the back. The flippers are normal, but it reminded me of the time I became excited of having a pair from Robin's aquatic suit.

Anatomy of a duck
The red motorcycle does not seem to suit the character of Howard, but is a welcome addition for use in other setup. Though it bears the normal brick motorcycle setup, it reminded me of Akira film.

Akira!
The verdict: if you want an Iron Duck for your collection, skip this one and either customize the original look or wish hard for a release of the original version. If you're interested with butchering the pieces for other setup, this is a cheap alternative.

Til the next blog!

PS. Here's Tony Stark when he was a toddler (lol).


Monday, November 6, 2017

Brick Essentials 2 - Lightbox

Brick collecting hobby is never complete without sharing your customized creations, hauls, and reviews in the online communities. This requires photography and editing effort. To make the details  of each set or figure stand out or noticeable, a clear image has to be produced. After all, we deal with small items.

One of the greatest photography implements - a lightbox! This thing allows light to diffuse consistently in a cube environment without projecting shadows from the subject (I like shadows in taking snaps though!) This also allows the light to bounce off the environment to better highlight a scene or the subject. What is good about it (especially for small items) is that it does not have to be expensive. You can turn a cardboard box into a makeshift lightbox and use whatever diffuser is available e.g. thin cloth, onion paper, paper towels.

I have been using a rice cooker cardboard box with punched sides where paper diffusers are attached. I use LED lamps both sides when I have a sudden urge to take photos of the little bricks.

A eureka moment came to me one night while lifting a perfectly-prepared round cheesecake (a blueberry one!) out of a 5 x 5 x 5 box. The insides of the box are white and the paper is not waxy. I propped a fig in the box and flashed the LED. I now have a cheap and light lightbox to wear out until I get bored of it - how portable the box is as I can just fold and unfold it. Funny how this sounds but it is effective for me.

From cake box to light box
My workstation at the moment
Unedited/raw image taken from a mobile phone using the cake box... err, light box
Have a useful lightbox for your next brick photo project!

Til next blog.

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! ;)