Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ooo, Fancy! With Unrelated Pics!

I started this post exactly one month ago, wasn't able to finish it in one sitting, and never came back to it. Since I'm working on a new post I thought I'd quick finish this one and put it up in the mean time.

Gentle Giant

My need to not spend money aside, I've recently taken the plunge and purchased my first real high end collectibles, a few odds and ends from Gentle Giant Ltd. I first became acquainted with Gentle Giant through Star Wars Action News (at some point I'm going to do a short blog on the podcasts I listen to) - a weekly podcast dedicated to Star Wars collecting, they have introduced me to many exciting lines of Star Wars collectibles. The following are the Gentle Giant items I have on hand. Unfortunately, I haven't taken pictures of anything yet, as the arrival of these has set off a round of rearranging the collection, since I don't have the space to display all of this right now. You can see images of all of this on Gentle Giant's site. General Grievous Animated Maquette - 1530 / 3500 Boba Fett Animated Maquette - 1307 / 7000 Deluxe Sandtrooper Sergeant Mini Bust 1977 / 15,000 Emperor Palpatine Mini Bust 2056 / 4500 Deluxe White ROTS Clone Trooper Mini Bust 11,030 / 15,000 (7500 White) Deluxe Blue 501st ROTS Clone Trooper Mini Bust 9437 / 15,000 (5000 Blue) Deluxe Shocktrooper Mini Bust 1576 / 3500 ROTS Darth Vader Mini Bust 4122 / 20,000 Darth Maul Statue 1263 / 3000 I also have on order: Darth Maul Mini Bust ? / 10,000 General Grievous Mini Bust ? / 7000 Jango Fett Mini Bust ? / 9000 Deluxe Coruscant Clone Trooper Mini Bust ? / 3500 -- which is still available for purchase at Action Figure Express Royal Guard Statue ? / 3500 Darth Vader Animated Maquette ? / 7000 Stormtrooper Animated Maquette ? / 4000 LOTR Saruman Animated Maquette ? / ? LOTR Ringwraith Mini Bust ? / 2000 LOTR Balrog Mini Bust ? / 3000 Other numbered, limited edition items I have include the Character keys from Acme Archives. ARC Trooper Character Key 639 / 750 Asajj Ventress Character Key 1177 / 1250 Darth Tyranus Character Key 1230 / 1250


Another line I've decided to get in to in the last two or three months are Star Wars Kubricks, by the Japanese company Medicom. I also was made aware of these collectible figures through SWAN. Arnie and Marjorie received their first Kubrick (Boba Fett) back in April, and immediately fell in love with it, as did many members of the forums. I resisted the temptation to buy them for about 6 or 7 months until the current series finally defeated my willpower with the release of a Royal Guard, which happens to be one of my absolute favorite character designs. At AndrewsToyz.com you can see the figures in Series 6 and Series 7, although both sets are out of stock there. They can be had on eBay. Unfortunately, this line is riddled with chase figures. Series 7, the current series, has, I believe, 4 chase figures - Yakface and the Senate Guard are the only two I remember. These chase figures are packed in low numbers and some fetch quite high prices on ebay. In keeping with my collecting rules (actually, they're more like guidelines in many cases) I'm only collecting certain figures, which include the following (these are the ones I own). Biker Scout Trooper (2x) Boba Fett Darth Vader Death Star Gunner (2x) Death Star Trooper (2x) Emperor Palpatine Imperial Royal Guard (4x) Senate Guard (2x) Stormtrooper Sandtrooper TIE Fighter Pilot (3x) I don't have pictures of any yet, except the Biker Scout and Royal Guard. In closing, if anyone has an AT-AT Driver Kubrick or two they'd like to get rid of, please email me, it's rare to find that guy on ebay.

Misc Pics of my Collection

The following are simply pictures I took of my collection in the last few months that I haven't yet gotten around to posting online, and I finally pushed myself to do so.

Utapau Clones Theme

Biker Scouts

Close up of the Kotobukiya Biker Scout Model The above image also has the Morgul Lord's War Mask, from the Sideshow/Weta Lord of the Rings Collection - it's a very cool piece.


Hasbro Unleashed Shocktrooper Imperial Ships Republic Ships Anakin and the 501st The Hunt for General Grievous My initial mini Sith Saber display. Second variation - Maul's saber was removed to become part of the new Maul display I'm working on. As soon as the Gentle Giant Mini Bust arrives it will be complete and I'll post pics of it.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Carnor Jax and Kir Kanos

The first of Hasbro's new Comic Packs arrived today - the StarWarsShop.com/EntertainmentEarth.com exclusive Carnor Jax/Kir Kanos set. For those that don't know, Carnor Jax and Kir Kanos are the central characters of the Crimson Empire series of comics. Jax and Kanos were Royal Imperial Guards, the Emperor's most loyal bodyguards. Following the events of Dark Empire, Kanos learns that Jax is responsible for the flaw in the Emperor's clones that allow Luke Skywalker to finally defeat Palpatine's clones. Jax hunts Kanos as he is the last one with knowledge of Jax's betrayal, while Kanos attempts to kill Jax for his treason. The Royal Guards have always been one of my favorite character designs, and I've always been disappointed we never saw them do anything in the movies (except for that travesty of a scene in ROTS - Yoda sucks). I've been aware that there was a story focusing on the Imperial Guards for sometime but hadn't ever devled into it, until a couple of months ago when I found out there was a Trade Paperback containing all 6 issues of the story, and was available specially bundled with two Gentle Giant Bust-ups, the Royal Guard and an exclusive Holographic Emperor. I found it on eBay for $15 and grabbed it. Comics being what they are I finished reading it in 15 or 20 minutes. I've read it a couple of times since, and it's one of my favorite stories. I'm saddened that Jax (who is a cool character, in my opinion) betrayed the Emperor (who is one of my absolute favorite characters), but then he aspired to be a Sith, and that is the way of the Sith, schemeing to attain more power and advantage over rivals. Anyway, I loved the story, and it prompted me to start hunting down the trade paperback versions of Dark Empire (which I've found) and Dark Empire II, so I could read the Clone Emperor storyline. Anyone familiar with the ROTS Royal Guards released last year may be interested to know that the armor underneathe the cloak is patterned after Royal Guards as seen in Crimson Empire. When I finally read Crimson Empire I was already aware that Hasbro had announced the Jax/Kanos pack, and was already planning to get it, but reading the story cemented my desire to have these figures. I don't remember exactly but I wouldn't be surprised to find out I pre-ordered the figures as soon as I finished the book. And now, after the long wait the figures arrived... A few people complained that the paint was sloppy, or that the figures were clumsly placed in the bubbles and didn't make for a good display - which doesn't bother me, because I open my toys. Well, my two sets didn't disappoint me at all packaging wise. There was nothing wrong with how either of the figures in my two sets were placed in the packaging, the feet seemed aimed in the proper direction, and the figs were holding their weapons, and everything looked just great, and I'm going to leave one set unopened for a while, because it does look good. But I opened one set as soon as I was able. My thoughts on the figures themselves are as follows.

Kir Kanos

Kir Kanos wears a mostly red version of the Royal Guard armor, though his sleeves and pants above his boots are mostly black. The helmet's not as tight on his chest as I would like - I guess it's at least partly because of the gathering of the cape material at his throat, it keeps the lower front of the helmet away from his body - it's soft plastic, but it still cool. The black on the figure is not as dark as I would like, but it looks really good, the new forearms look great, it's too bad they didn't see fit to upgrade the elbows to ball/socket joint. His right hand is very soft and too open to hold the staff by itself. The cape is great, much better than the ROTS fabric, and shiny to boot.

Carnor Jax

Carnor Jax aspires to me the next Sith Lord and it shows in his choice of armor. He wears an awesome looking black variation of the armor, with red sleeves and pants, basically the reverse of Kanos' armor, except the helmet coloring is even cooler. Same issue with the helmet being pushed away from his body by the cape, and I think the visor should be a deep black rather than the red/black it is. I love the black of the boots, chest/shoulder and arm armor, as it's a very shiny black. The black on the belt, holster, and the bodysuit are a different shade of black which makes for a nice variety. Again, the the cape is greate material, not as shiny as the red cape, nor are both sides the same shinyness, with the inner side being better. The bladed staves are really cool weapons, and I'm glad Hasbro included them. While I would have liked it had Hasbro included the force pike from the Saga figure (especially since I never got that figure, and I never will, since the ROTS version is far superior from what I've seen), the only accessory I really wish Hasbro had included is a Saga2 style stand. Or any stand, as they're a little hard to balance on their own. I love these figures. The articulation could stand a little improving, I personally don't care too much about the lack of waist articulation, though a little swivel ability would be useful, but the most important spots for me would be the elbows, then to have some ankle movement. For a fun variation you can put Jax's helmet on Kanos and I think it looks pretty good, but the reverse is not true. In short, I love 'em, they're totally worth $20, and even more so the $15 I got them for, thanks to the sale at HasbroToyShop at the beginning of the month. I'm really glad I bought two sets, and I encourage anyone that likes at all the Royal Guards, Crimson Empire, or just armored guys in red and black to buy a set or two. Anyone that's interested can get them from StarWarsShop.com, HabroToyShop.com, and EntertainmentEarth.com, from where they are available as the standalone Jax/Kanos 2-pack, or bundled with the Crimson Empire TPB and 2 Bust-ups. Crimson Empire TPB and Bust-ups available seperately, as well.

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Jedi Props: Holo Projector — Day 4 — Version 1 Complete!

In foraging through various forums (The Custom Saber Shop, Jedi Council Forums, The Jedi Assembly) I was inspired to build some props to go with my Anakin costume, namely: a Holocron, a Communicator, and a Holo-projector. I decided that I had sufficient skill to try to create these myself, and will herein chronicle my attempt.

Day 4 — Oct 14, 2006

The LED arrived today so I was able to continue working on the projector; it's bigger than I expected. Due to poor planning and poor design the battery holders I purchased do not fit inside th container with the LED. Actually, again, due to poor design—there really wasn't much design, I just threw this together off the top of my head, it would have benefited from some planning—I attached the batteries in the worst possible way, I soldered wires to them, so they're very impractical to change. I didn't even have the foresight to use new batteries, so they're not even at full charge. So if I have time before Halloween I'll cut the battery holders apart so I can use those contacts for soldering, and the batteries will be replaceable. Additionally, I'm thinking I'll do a version 2 of this in the next couple of months using a circular Altoids® container. But, it's been wired together, batteries to the switch to the resistor to the LED to the batteries. The LED is bright enough that it shines through the reflecter enough to tell there's a single point of light, plus it can be rather blinding if the light reflects into your eyes just right. I found that a small piece of white cloth between the LED and the reflecter diffuses the light sufficiently.
Things I learned
Plan the thing all the way through before begining construction. The switch I bought is much too large—the one I wanted was a momentary switch which didn't fit my requirements, but the one I did purchase takes up too much space inside. The hole I cut out of the plastic container for the reflecter ended up being too big. I had first thought to attach the reflector to the breadboard so I cut the hole big enough to put the reflector through. After realizing how tall the LED was I realized it would have been better to attach the reflector to the surface of the container, but there was no longer enough plastic to attach it to.

Finished! Pics!

Here you can see the uglyness that is the innards of this poorly designed holoprojector. Click for larger versions. Here is the completed projector, lit up, with the kitchen light on. (The tape is to hold the reflector down while the adhesive sets. The completed projector, lit up, in the dark. The holoprojector receives a transmission from Darth Maul. Well, there you have it. My first homemade Star Wars collectible/prop/whatever. I'll probably grab another Bubble Tape® and begin working on version 2 pretty soon—next week if I can, but I have to go to Washington Wed–Sat for my brother marriage, so I won't have much time, so I doubt V2 will be done by Halloween. EDIT: Forgot the following (big) source of inspiration - [url=http://padawansguide.com/holo.shtml]Padawan's Guide[/url]

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Jedi Props: Holo Projector — Day 3 – Pics!

In foraging through various forums (The Custom Saber Shop, Jedi Council Forums, The Jedi Assembly) I was inspired to build some props to go with my Anakin costume, namely: a Holocron, a Communicator, and a Holo-projector. I decided that I had sufficient skill to try to create these myself, and will herein chronicle my attempt.
Parts List
1 Bubble Tape container — 89¢ @ Walmart 1 Bubble Tape container — $1.39 @ gas station 1 can Black Spray paint for plastic — $6 @ NAPA Auto Parts ($4 at Walmart, oops) 1 clear/white bicycle reflector — 50¢ @ local bike shop 2 AAA Battery Holders — 99¢ each @ Radio Shack 1 Latching Switch — $2.59 @ Radio Shack 4x 440 machine screws & nuts — free stuff from Dad 1 1.75"x2.25" breadboard — more free stuff from Dad copper LED heatsink — from previously purchased Luxeon lightsaber 1 Royal Blue 1W LED — $10 @ CorbinsComponents.com 1 56 Ohm Resistor

Assembly & Fabrication

Day 1 — Oct 7, 2006

The first thing I did was wash the powdered sugar out of the bubble tape container (which I purchased yesterday), then wipe it down with rubbing alcohol. I put 2 or 3 coats of black spray paint on it. After examining the paint job I noticed a tiny spot where there was no paint. I picked at it lightly with my fingernail and paint flecked off! I late was at Walmart and bought a can of clear protective paint, hoping that would protect the paint from scratching. It didn't, and so I began the quest for a more appropriate paint.

Day 2 — Oct 9, 2006

Went to the bike shop, NAPA Auto Parts, Walmart and Radio Shack to pick up the reflector, batter holders and spray paint for plastic, also swung by my dad's house for some nuts and screws. Upon returning home I attempted to remove the previous paintjob. It scratched off easily, but was messy and tedious, so I attempted to use Goof Off to remove, which began smearing the paint and attacking the plastic. I decided to trash that container and went to a nearby gas station to purchase a second container - this one was lime green. Since I now had a reflector I traced out the section on top of the bubble gum container that would be removed for the reflector. I used a knife to cut the bulk of the plastic out, then used a Dremel to polish up the cut to the proper shape. I also used the Dremel to remove some excess material inside the container that prevented the two battery holders from fitting. Then came the second attempt at painting. After letting the first coat dry there was a remarkable difference in the feel of the paint, like it was almost part of the plastic (which it was kinda supposed to be). Gave it another coat and went to work on the breadboard. The breadboard had a couple holes drilled in it to secure the battery holders, and a rectangle to accomadate the heatsink. I ordered the LED before quitting for the night.

Day 3 — Oct 10, 2006 – Pics!

I took inpiration for the following elements: Switch, Silver stripes Reflector, grate

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Travel The Galaxy, Met Fascinating New Life Forms, and then kill them.

The inspiring mission statement of Tagon's Toughs - a group of 31st century Space Mercenaries, the subjects of dangerous and humorous adventures - whos job description is to break things and hurt people, chronicled in the comic Schlock Mercenary . I highly recommend this comic and have done so before. The true reason for this post is to announce the publication of "Schlock Mercenary: Under New Management", the first printed book of Schlock material. I was able to briefly attend the launch party for this book at the local comic book store Dragon's Keep, in Provo, Utah. I met and spoke with Howard Tayler, the author of this hillarious comic, and picked up my book, which was signed by said author. This is an excellent, high quality book. It's a little shorter than I would have liked, but really, all the Schlock comics written so far (6 years, daily) in one book would still be too short, in my opinion. It has nice heavy paper, and is in full color, every single comic, has notes by the author to accompany many of the comics (quite hillarious in their own right), and a new bonus story that I haven't gotten too yet. I can't wait for the next one. Check the comic out. Buy the book. I dare you. And remember Rule 34: If you're leaving scorch-marks, you need a bigger gun.

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Quick collection update.

I've got several things lately, but haven't updated my site, or even really taken pictures, but I plan on doing so soon. I did open my Clone Wars Republic Gunship and took one quick picture: And I opened my Titanium Sandtrooper figure: Click for larger versions.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Mail haul!

I spend too much time/money on eBay, and other online stores. Last week I had to travel to Pennsylvania for a week, and when I returned I had two boxes waiting from UPS, and enought stuff at the Post Office I didn't even count it.

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Lucas Trooper Will Be Mine

I found all five Star Wars VOTC Figures required to send away for the George Lucas in Stormtrooper Disguise. For a more detailed story check out my post at A Clone's Paradise. I'll post pics here and on my website later.

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Cataloging the Collection

I have begun the process of listing my entire Star Wars collection on my website. Only one section is up right now – the Titanium 3" Vehicles Series – but I'll be making posts here when I add a new section. Feel free to browse my Star Wars Collection, check out the photos and be awed by the large variety of Star Wars related stuff I have.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

More of my Star Wars Collection

I spent some time organizing my Meditation Chamber last night so I could make better use of closet space to display my Star Wars collection. You can read a description of what's pictured at A Clone's Paradise.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Ultimate Galactic Hunt

Hasbro has released several special, harder to find, figures in the lastest lines of toys, labeled Ultimate Galactic Hunt - 2006. There's a small discussion of them, and why I decided to collect them, at A Clone's Paradise. Check it out. Eventually I'll upload pictures of them at my website. For more info see Hasbro's website for more info on the UGH releases.

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Ommmmminous Hummmmmmmm

Since this blog is just a rest stop on the way to A Clone's Paradise I thought I'd post something to distract you during your long journey. Schlock Mercenary is the funniest comic I've ever seen. Schlock Mercenary, the Online Comic Space Opera by Howard Tayler, takes place in the distant future, featuring Schlock, carbosilicate amorph, which is the author's fancy way of saying a shape-changing pile of goo, who gets a job with a band of mercenaries, and also carries a dangerous plazma cannon, which emits an 'Ommmmminous Hummmmmmmm' as it charges, preparing to burn everything in its path to cinders. You should check it out. Every Schlock comic is available on the website, I've been reading through from the beginning, although a couple of days ago I skipped to the most current storyline, so I could be prepared to meet Howard Tayler pick up an autographed copy of the new, first ever, Schlock Mercenary book, Schlock Mercenary: Under New Management - available for pre-order now (signed!). It just so happens that Howard Tayler lives less than 30 minutes from me, and he will be having a launch party for the book at the comic book store Dragon's Keep, in Provo, UT. I'm pretty excited about going. For more information on Schlock Mercenary Learn about the characters, or read from the very beginning, or start with a storyline the author reccommends. I highly reccommend the whole thing. An alphabetical list of the comics I read: Dilbert Ctrl+Alt+Del - Gamer Comic (Warning: Occasional violence and/or language) Get Fuzzy Foxtrot Pearls Before Swine PVP - Gamer Comic Real Life - Gamer Comic Schlock Mercenary Sheldon Starslip Crisis User Friendly - Linux Geek Comic

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I blog, therefore I am.

I blog, therefore I am. However, I don't blog here. I run a blog called Clone's Paradise at blogs.starwars.com/RyanBowman, where I show off my Star Wars collection. I joined blogger so I could comment on my brother's blog. But, since I'm here, I might as well update this blog occasionally, so I'll post links to my real blog, when I update it. The latest episode is Vehicles, vehicles and yet more vehicles!. This one showcases a bunch of pics of my Star Wars Titanium Vehicles - the pics can be seen on my website. Thanks for stopping by. If you did.

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