Friday, April 04, 2008

2007 Review - Part 1

Well, about the middle of January, I wrote out (on paper!) a big old long post, looking back some of the more memorable (to me) items and such that I bought or was looking forward to last year. Now that's its nearly April I figured it was about time I got around to typing it up and posting it.


We'll start with some memorable experiences. First, in August I became a member of the 501st Legion of Stormtroopers - the Lucasfilm sanctioned Star Wars costuming club. I served the Emperor as a Royal Guard until just recently, when I sold the costume. I plan to acquire an Imperial Officer's uniform next, planning a Captain in the Imperial Navy (Captain of a Star Destroyer, thank you very much). I've only been to 6 or 7 events, as most take place an hour's drive or more away, but there's also a family I've seen 3 or 4 times that drive from the far side of the state (5ish hours) so I can't complain too much. The most recent event was on New Year's Eve, at Provo Town Center mall, I even got my picture taken with Ronald McDonald (that's me on his left).

The other experience I want to talk about briefly is that I watched a significant portion of Star Trek. A few years back, during school, I worked at a place that allowed me to watch a lot of TV (it was actually part of my job), and for a couple of months I was able to watch several episodes of ST: The Next Generation and ST: Deep Space Nine. Since then I've wanted to watch all Star Trek, in order (well, maybe not Voyager). Early last year I purchased the first season of the Original Series, and my wife and I watched them all. We really enjoyed them, and about half-way through those we borrowed all 10 movies from a co-worker and watched them, as well. We're now almost done with the second season, and I should probably start looking to pick up the third and final season.

I really like the original crew - in particular Kirk, Spock and McCoy (of course, who doesn't love those three?). I enjoy the Spock/McCoy interaction, all the emotion vs logic. And of course, Kirk really is too entirely awesome. While some of the effects are a bit primitive, or some of the costumes are a little lame, for the most part I don't notice those things, and it's just an excellent show with lots of great stories. I'm really looking forward to finishing it up, and then moving on to The Next Generation.


Moving on to items I purchased last year, I can say that like 2006, I spent far too much money this year. I couldn't possibly talk about everything I bought last year in one post so I'll just hit the highlights (but I do intend to at least post pictures of everything, someday).

2007 was the year that I really branched out to collecting things other than Star Wars. I mean, I had a couple of items here and there (like a Batman Begins figure), but I wasn't researching or anticipating figures in other lines. Until Spawn and Mortal Kombat. I happened across a couple of figures at TRU that I couldn't put down, so I got them. I mostly expected them to be one-off purchases, and the MK figure was for sure (in fact, I returned that one and got two better characters off eBay), but it was that purchase that freed me to get into Spawn figures, which led to Halo figures, which led to DC Comics figures (Batman and Superman), which led to 2008 being a very Halo- and DC-centric year.

I bought three Halo 2 figures, but stopped, as the ones I wanted were a little too expensive, and I decided to wait until the Halo 3 figures McFarlane began producing this year. Now that I have received all of mine from the first series, I should be reviewing them in a few of weeks.

Along with watching Star Trek I decided that I really like some of the vehicle designs—particularly the Enterprise —enough that I needed a couple ships for my shelves. I set out to get each version of the Enterprise, and was happy to find a Japanese company, Furuta, already had a Star Trek line. They've made several Trek ships around 3-4 inches long, including all of the Enterprise versions (except the NX-01 from the series Enterprise). The Japanese sure to love to blind-packaged stuff, and have rare, hard to find chase variants. In this case, the Enterprise E (from the last three movies) was the chase version so by itself it tended to sell for $20-$25 on eBay. Of course, that's my favorite version, but I didn't want to spend that much on it, so I was lucky to find someone selling a lot of 11 ships, which included all the Enterprise E and the other versions, for a very reasonable price.

I also discovered Corgi International was making a few die cast metal ships in a 6-8 inch scale. They released 3 in 2007, of which I picked up 2—the Original Enterprise, and the Enterprise-D. I hope they continue this line soon, particularly with my two favorite ships the Enterprise-E and the TNG era Romulan Warbird.

Another line I branched into this year was Spawn. It started in May-ish when I saw Spawn X from the first animated style series hanging on the pegs at Toys R Us. The animated Spawn figures are in a style similar to that of the animated Star Wars Clone Wars cartoons, I just couldn't pass it up, and it's been downhill from there. I collect mostly Spawn himself, but occasionally other characters are appeal to me enough for me to get them. I really like the look of Spawn, and McFarlane Toys does an amazing job sculpting the figures. Some of my favorite figures so far are Spawn VI (masked version in particular, but the unmasked is pretty good too) and Medieval Spawn III (both from Series 20), Issues 7 cover art, Raven HellSpawn 2, and of course the animated figures - particularly Raven Spawn and Commando Spawn.

While I'm talking about McFarlane Toys toys I also began and stopped collecting the Dragons line. I found the Eternal Dragon Clan 5 at TRU, and couldn't pass it by. That led to buying a couple older ones off eBay (one of which I've since sold, and getting another one from series 5—the Sorcerer Dragon Clan—and one from series 6—the Ice Dragon Clan. There is still one more I'd like to get, Ice Dragon Clan 7. The line has since ended with series 8, and McFarlane has moved on to a new fantasy line called Blade Masters (or something like that). There are a few figures I would like but I'm not really considering getting any soon.

As mentioned earlier, I started getting into DC Comics figures big time in 2007. Particularly, I'm a big fan of Batman, Superman, Supergirl and Green Lantern, but there are a few other characters I like as well. I learned that DC Direct makes a bunch of great DC figures, and they're really aimed at collectors, although I'm sure kids would enjoy some of them, but they're really a specialty marked company, so prices are a bit higher than the lines by Mattel. One of the great things about DC Direct is they often release figures based on particular comics, so figures are made in the style of the artists that worked on the comics.

My favorite line right now is the Superman/Batman line, based on the comic series of the same name. Most of the waves from that line are based on the artwork of Ed McGuinnes. You can see pictures of some of these on my wantlist of his figures. The second series is based on Michael Turner's art—which I love, his Batman is how I will always picture Batman now—and the recently announced series 6 will be based on the fifth major storyline from the S/B comics: Enemies Among Us.

Unfortunately, I didn't get into DC figures until the end of last year, so I've got a lot of catching up to do, but that's what eBay is for, and so far the best way (read cheapest) I've found to get them is to buy lots of several figures at once, as they usually go for a lower amount per figure as opposed to buying one figure at a time. 2008 will be heavily focused on DC figures, between the various DC Direct lines, and between Mattel's DC Universe Classics line, so you can expect to see several reviews of DC figures this year. Most of what I got last year was the end of Mattel's DC Super Heroes and getting all the good Green Lantern figures DC Direct has released.

I got into swords for a little bit at the beginning of the year, mostly due to learning that there were replicas of the swords from the Highlander TV series and movies. I'm not a big fan of the movies, but I quite enjoyed the TV series. In my extremely outdated series of posts on my overall collection I mention the Highlander figures and the Highlander Swords which I own, so I won't do more than point to those posts and say that I really like swords, those are fun to play with and are some of the favored items that I purchased last year.

I also got several Lord of the Rings items, mainly Gentle Giant items, but a couple SideShow/Weta items as well. Again, I talked about these item in a previous post so I will only say here that my favorite items is probably the large Balrog statue (by SS/W), which I got a rather good deal on, thanks to a friend of mine that lives in New Zealand, works for Weta Workshop and actually worked on the LOTR films. It is an excellent, highly detailed piece, and is quite possibly the best non-Star Wars item I own. The detail in the sculpt and paint is amazing, the thing looks almost real to me. I'll probably do a detailed review of it someday.

Well, that seems like enough for this post. I'll write up my Star Wars summary and post that as part two.

1 comment:

Marissa said...

I'm glad you wrote this post. It was a good read. It reminded me of a couple of things I hadn't really thought about for a while.
Reading about your Guard costume kinda made me sad.
We really did enjoy watching Star Trek didn't we?
Thanks for writing this. It was a good summary of the year.