Friday, September 25, 2009

Pic of the Day 124 - Star Wars Week

Darth Maul's Lightsaber hilt, .45 scale mini saber replica by Master Replicas.

Master Replicas is probably best known for their Lightsaber Hilt replicas. They made beautifully crafted, full size, film accurate saber hilts that came with mirrored base stands, and acryllic dust covers. They also cost over $300 each, and being fullsize and in display case, took up a lot of room. However, they realized that there were many Star Wars collectors with neither the money or the space (often both) for the 1:1 replicas, and so early on created the 1:2 scale saber hilts, of which I was a big fan. Like the full scale hilts, they are, despite their size, beautifully detailed, if not from quite as durable or expensive material, and the smaller size allows for displaying more in less space. Also, they were only $35, which in and of itself was enough reason to get them. I have quite a few of them, and even if someday I was blessed with the space and the money for the full scale props, I would keep the half-size ones. It's too bad they didn't think to make mini helmets until the last year they produced Star Wars replicas.

The full Darth Maul hilt is one of my favorite items in my collection. Among the reasons for this is the story of how I got it. In short, I paid far more for it than I should have, and at the most inopportune time. Within a week of paying $80 for it (being an exlusive hilt it was more expensive to get ahold of than the regular releases), Master Replicas sold a large number of them to various online retailers, and the price quickly plummeted to half of what I paid, and in the last couple of years the after market price for them has stablized around $30. A hard lesson in patience, that has mostly paid off.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pic of the Day 123 - Star Wars Week

Shadow Stormtrooper, .45 scale Mini Helmet, by Master Replicas.

I love the mini helmet line that Master Replicas started right before they lost the Star Wars license. The scale was perfect for me, not nearly as large and bulky (and expensive) as the full scale helmet replicas, they fit on any shelf, and are still plenty large to allow lots of detailing and heft to them. Unfortunately, they only made around 9 or 10 of them before they failed to renew the Star Wars license, so there are several helmets I would have liked to see, that we never got, like Jango Fett's or an Episode II Clone trooper, a TIE Fighter Pilot or AT-AT Driver. Speaking of the TIE Fighter Pilot helmet, it was in the works, and would have been one of the next helmets released. Curiously, a company by the name of Riddell had the license for mini helmets serveral years ago, they released four, and then canceled the line. The next helmet due to be released, already in production but never fully completed, was the TIE Fighter Pilot.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pic of the Day 122 - Star Wars Week

Darth Vader, Revenge of the Sith mini bust, by Gentle Giant.

Gentle Giant has also released and Empire Strikes Back Vader mini bust, which differs in pose, and probably in armor details.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pic of the Day 121 - Star Wars Week

Shocktrooper, San Deigo 2006? Exlcusive vinyl model kit by Kotobukiya.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Pic of the Day 120 - Star Wars Week

Boba Fett, Animated Maquette, by Gentle Giant Ltd.

Some days you get the bear and some days the bear gets you.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pic of the Day 119 - Star Wars Week

501st Clone Trooper, 2006 San Diego Comic Con Exclusive, Vinyl Collectible Doll (VCD) by Medicom.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pic of the Day 118 - Star Trek Week 3

Commander Worf, New Force Comics Exclusive Nemesis Uniform, by Art Asylum/Diamond Select Toys.

Sir, I protest - I am NOT a merry man!! - Lt Worf

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Pic of the Day 117 - Star Trek Week 3

Lt Cmdr Geordi LaForge, The Next Generation wave 3, by Art Asylum/Diamond Select Toys

I can field strip a fusion reactor, I can re-align a power transfer tunnel; why can't I make anything work with a woman like Christy? - Cmdr LaForge

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pic of the Day 116 - Star Trek Week 3

Ensign Ro Laren, The Next Generation wave 5, by Art Asylum/Diamond Select Toys. It's difficult to see because of the lighting, but her nose ridges are present.

Why is it every time I tell you something, you tell me I mean the exact opposite? - Ensign Ro

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pic of the Day 115 - Star Trek Week 3

Lt Worf, The Next Generation wave 1, by Art Asylum/Diamond Select Toys

See also Worf's first Deep Space Nine Uniform.

I like my species the way it is. - Worf

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Pic of the Day 114 - Star Trek Week 3

Captain Jean-Luc Picard, The Next Generation wave 2, Season 7 Uniform, by Art Asylum/Diamond Select Toys


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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pic of the Day 113 - Star Trek Week 3

Chief Miles O'Brien, Deep Space Nine wave 2, by Art Asylum/Diamond Select Toys

Sir, have you ever served with any Bajoran women? - Chief O'Brien

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Pic of the Day 112 - Star Trek Week 3

Chief Miles O'Brien, The Next Generation wave 5, by Art Asylum/Diamond Select Toys

My friend Chief O'Brien often says that above all else he wants to make Keiko happy. Since canceling the wedding will make her happy, I must conclude the Chief will be pleased at her decision. - Lt Cmdr Data

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Pic of the Day 111 - Super Heroes Week 4

Brainiac, classic version, from Superman/Brainiac DCUC 2 pack, by Mattel.

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Monday, September 07, 2009

Pic of the Day 110 - Super Heroes Week 4

Parademon (minion of Darkseid), Super Powers version, DCUC wave 8, by Mattel.

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Pic of the Day 109 - Super Heroes Week 4

Parademon (minion of Darkseid), classic version, DCUC wave 8, by Mattel.

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Saturday, September 05, 2009

Pic of the Day 108 - Super Heroes Week 4

Robo-Mantis (or Mantis, Super Power variant), DCUC wave 9, by Mattel.

This is one of the few Super Powers figures I remember from when I was a kid. I'm fairly sure I remember it because I had it, and loved it. This was the figure I was most looking forward to in wave 9, though I think the Collect and Connect figure Chemo is my favorite from the wave.

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Friday, September 04, 2009

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Pic of the Day 106 - Super Heroes Week 4

Tech Suit Mr Freeze, DCSH 2007 NYCC Exclusive, by Mattel.

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

X-Men, DCUC 5 Pack, DCSH Holy Grail

At the end of 2007, there was a little thing called New York Comic Con. Mattel thought it would be cool to make a couple of the harder to find figures from the ending DCSH line available as exclusives at that con - Specifically, Black and Silver Superman (wave 5), and Knight Shadow Batman (wave 8), along with a new Mr Freeze (repaint of wave 3 figure). I had just started collecting the line, and had been lucky to get Knight Shadow Bats and BS Superman pretty easily, and for some stupid reason, that I do not recall, and absolutely cannot fathom, I didn't think I needed a Mr Freeze figure. Now, Batman and Robin was a HORRIBLE film, a travesty like no other in the Super Hero genre, but Mr Freeze is one of Batman's most interesting villains. He's had several great episodes in Batman: The Animated Series (I'm still trying to get a new review up, I swear), and the first full length film from BTAS featured Mr Freeze. My point is, I love the character, but I didn't take advantage of the opportunity I had to get a new figure of him when it came out (through other collectors I know on SWAN, who lived in the area and were going to the con).

I have regretted it for two years now, as the price for the figure on eBay went up to 3 times retail. Sure, I could have gotten the DCSH Wave 3 version for roughly retail, but the NYCC version is FAR superior. Dubbed Tech Suit Mr Freeze, the NYCC Freeze has a much better paint deco. Predominantly black, with electric blue detailing and red accents, this suit looks much more technological, and like the modern comic book styles that I prefer. The wave 3 version had odd coloring on the lower torso of the figure and the forarms, that was nearly the same color as Freeze's skin, so it looks like he's wearing a high-cut shirt, exposing his midriff (rather like Supergirl). Understandably, it looks odd to me, and I wasn't keen on getting it. I set my sights on Tech Suit Freeze, and wondered how I would justify paying over $30 for a single figure.

Things started looking up, when Fwoosher Poe Ghostal made me an awesome trade and I was able to acquire the 2007 SDCC Exclusive Man-Bat figure, it gave me hope that someday I would get Tech Suit Freeze for less than $30. And last week, it happened. In what seems to me to have been a fluke bit of bidding, I won Tech Suit Freeze in an auction for the piddly amount of $18. Another auction ended less than 24 hours later went for $32. I Win.

My cousin is a big fan of Marvel Comics, so we've discussed them at length. He has recommended that I read the Joss Whedon run on Astonishing X-Men, and hey, I'm a Joss Whedon fanboy, so I was interested. It was also recommended to me to read Grant Morrison's New X-Men, if I liked Grant Morrison. I do, I have his run on JLA, and have read half of his Batman stuff, leading up to Final Crisis, So, I picked up the 3 of the 4 Astonishing X-Men trades, New X-Men Vol 1, and since I'm always looking to finish my JLA and Justice League of America collection, I got JLA vol 9 and JLoA Vol 3. I believe I got the following 6 books for about $25 on eBay from various sellers.

Since I've had these for a couple of weeks now, I've read all the X-Men books and one of the DC books. I enjoyed the first of the New X-Men books (E is for Extinction, story by Grant Morrison, art by Frank Quitely). I think Grant Morrison writes good stories, certainly they're often confusing as hell, and this one also featured a bunch of characters that I'm only marginally familiar with, if that. But even his confusing stories have really cool elements to them (remind me to talk about JLA Vol 3: Rock of Ages sometime), so I can still enjoy them, and I did this one.

However, the art is crap. Quitely's art sucks, and I hate it. Everybody is ugly. Cyclops is ugly, Xavier is ugly (okay, he's also an old man, but he looks really old and ugly), Wolverine is REALLY ugly. Emma Frost is freaking supposed to be hot, not look like a fat, ugly 10 year old dressed up like a skank. She should have things like cheekbones instead of baby fat cheeks. I read comics firstly for the story, then I'll reread them later to notice the art more. I usually don't form opinions about the art in the first read through, because I get caugth up in the story too much to notice it enough. Except when it's really awesome (such as Jim Lee in Superman: For Tomorrow or Tim Sale in Batman: The Long Halloween), or when it's really horrible, such as Frank Quitely's art in this book. And unfortunately, he does the art for the first 4 or 5 books. Ugh. When I expressed this opinion on The Fwoosh, there were a few people who said they liked his art, and I think they were referring, at least in part, to stuff rather than the people, but they're SO UGLY that it was really distracting in a lot of places. Jean Gray is by far the most attractive person in the book, but she was still fat of face, and she had no bloody expression on her face. There was one page where she was talking to Scott (her husband) about the way she felt their relationship had been deteriorating, and in three panels where she talked about the different ways she felt (excited to be alive and with him, and then upset at the distance she felt from him). She didn't look like she was concentrating on the 8 things she was levitating, nor did she look happy, nor sad. She looked absolutely bored. But at least she wasn't ugly.

John Cassady's art in Astonishing X-Men, on the other, is awesome, and I should talk about that more at length, but I'll do so in another post (someday). Also, Joe Benitez's art in the second chapter of The Injustice League is also kinda crappy, excessively stretched and exaggerated. It's strange looking.

And finally, after three or more weeks of looking, including a huge 7 or 8 hour trip hitting around 10 Walmarts, I have at last found the Walmart DCUC 5 pack. Huzzah! Praise be to Darkseid!

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Pic of the Day 105 - Super Heroes Week 4

I think that speaks for itself.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009