Wednesday, December 11, 2013

SH Figuarts Alternative Zero Mini Review

The latest release in the Kamen Rider Ryuki line is here, with Alternative Zero!

Alternative Zero is a completely different (all new?) body from the previous Ryuki Figuarts. WTF?

The feet are different, not just plastic, (booo!), but different sculpt, the hands are different (the card holding hand even - it reminds me a lot more of Den-O's pass-holding hand than the Ryuki card holding hands). If there is ANY reuse between Alternative Zero and Ryuki, it is so minimal as to be irrelevant.

The joints feel plenty solid, the articulation doesn't seem crippled anywhere, it seems like a totally excellent Figuarts - despite the plastic feet, they're still nice and large, they seem the same size as the Ryuki feet, not miniscule things like the Sentai Figuarts have, so I don't foresee any balance issues, but it's just totally weird that it's so very much NOT a Ryuki Figuarts, despite having the correct style of packaging and having cards, which also look almost nothing like Advent cards.

WHAT IS THIS THING? Abyss was from a completely different TV series, and yet it is very much a Ryuki Figuarts, but Alternative Zero, he has more in common with SHF Blade than with SHF Ryuki. I don't get it.

But it's a very nice looking figure, and well worth having, it just doesn't match my expectations. Do I display it on my Ryuki shelf?

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Video Review #39: Robot Damashii Zaku II

Robot Damashii is a line I recently started collecting, it's a lot like SH Figuarts, in that it's a highly articulated line, generally with lots of accessories, mainly geared at one franchise, that of Mobile Suit Gundam.

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Video Review #37: SH Figuarts Kamen Rider Ryuki Blank Form

Though I haven't finished watching the show yet, I really enjoy Kamen Rider Ryuki. Though I didn't at first, I know quite enjoy the Rider war aspect of it, and the Mirror Monsters is a great concept.

Additionally, the SH Figuarts line for Kamen Rider Ryuki is fantastic. Of all the many Figuarts I have, the Ryuki line is the best one, for posing, for quality, for sheer number of accessories. As such, I am most definitely a completist when it comes to the Ryuki line of Figuarts. I highly recommend any Ryuki Figuart to anybody.

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013

Video Reviews Catch Up Part 1

I've been making video reviews of my collection, where I ramble about what I like and/or dislike about a given item in my collection. I have been meaning to post them here too, for the fun of it. And now I'm finally getting around to doing so.

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

First Impressions of New Toys July 11, 2013

I got some new toys in the mail today. Hooray!

I'll try to give some brief (ha! Excess verbosity warning!) first impressions of them.

First up, from the CapturedPrey 3rd Party Party during Botcon, it's the Shattered Glass versions of B-Box and Birdbomber by Kieth's Fantasy Toys. I never talked about Rhinohorn here, but I rather liked it: the transformation was rather clever, the joints, while not always snug, always seemed to be snug enough in the positions I wanted them in - ie, he can rear up on his hind legs. So I was very excited to get this set of combining cassette dudes, cuz combiner! Also, I want to have a nice army of cassette dudes for when I get Masterpiece Soundwave.

I rather like the original pink/green deco of these, but in part because these are a very Optimus Prime-esque red/blue deco, and in part because they were exclusive, and because I got the Shattered Glass version of Rhinohorn (and am planning on the SG version of Ironpaw) I got the SG versions of B-Box and Birdbomber. I'll try to refrain from getting the standard versions of all of these, no matter how much I enjoy them.

First up: B-Box. My very first impression is that for such a tiny box, it feels rather weighty. Plastic quality is good, the blue color is really great, transformation is pretty good, not as clever as Rhinohorn, but good. The figure is pretty articulated, more than I expected (and more than Rhinohorn). I probably would have preferred silver weapons, but the gold looks good.

Birdbomber: The red is not as glorious as the blue of B-Box, but similarly this one has tons of jointage, and most of it is ball joints so you can position it any way you like. Joints could stand to be a little more snug though. This one is going to take a little longer to figure out how to pose it so it looks good. The gold weapons are definitely needed on him to give some much needed color variation.

Both B-Box and Birdbomber have tons of sculpted detail that looks very nice, but can't really be seen due to lack of paint. A dark wash would have gone a long way to making all the detail visible and improved the looks of these two. However, now that I am a pro Gundam kit assembler, I am going to panel-line the hell out of these two guys. Not going to bother attempting the combiniation at this time.

For only $5 more than the standard release, this is an exclusive worth getting, if you prefer the color, or the limited nature of them. You can pick them up exclusively at Captured Prey, assuming they still have them in stock. Also, as far as Third Party TFs go, either set is pretty reasonably priced, being the same as the Japanese issue MP cassettes.

Next up, Leathal Weapon set. Since my cousin drags his feet in showing me the rest of the series (and also because I feel like going on a Jet Li kick) I picked this set up for under $5 on eBay. Haven't checked any out yet, but as long as the movie plays, it's served its purpose.

FansProject Down Force. Ah FansProject. Do I even need to say anything about this? I have several FP figures and they're all great. I can't say I was crazy about this particular figure, the orange/yellow color doesn't appeal to me from the photos I've seen, but being part of their Not-Stunticons Combiner set it's not like I could skip it.

The color is better to my eyes, in person. It could be better though. The animated art on the front of the box is awesome, and I prefer the yellow that is to they yellow-ish-orange-ish the figure is. Still, combiner piece and excellent figure so I'll get over it.

I don't generally care about the box, because it's either garbage or save-for-moving/storage type stuff, but I've really enjoyed the look of these three last several FP figures. They will look good displayed on a shelf together, spines forward, and now that I have a bit more room to display stuff, maybe I'll throw a few of these on a top shelf where I wouldn't put a toy. But, this box is 2 to 3 times bigger than it needs to be. I appreciate the uniformity with the previous figures in the set, because of my OCD, especially now that I'm thinking of displaying them, for a while anyway, but really, all of them could be smaller packages. Oh well.

Okay, I've written three paragraphs about this guy and haven't even removed him from the plastic tray, yet. But do I even need to? This guy is going to be fantastic. The previous two figures in this set, Car Crash and T-Bone are great, and this guy will be no different. I will say that the lack of accessories kinda sucks. I really enjoyed the Bruticus add on figures, that they each came with a ton of weapons and bits and bobbles, and even if you weren't getting them for their combiner aspect, just the extra loadout of weapons was cool.

These guys each have one tiny gun thing, and that's it. I know all the combiner bits are coming with the final figure, but seems like it might have been good to distribute some stuff out among the other figures. The color balance is all off in this picture, that's not remotely what color the thing looks in person, but I kinda wish it was.

As with T-Bone and Car Crash, the articulation appears to be excellent and useful. There's some weird greebles on the ends of his shoulders I don't like, he needs better ankle spurs (though I really like how the tires look as the heels), I LOVE the clear blue windshield and headlights, and the purple goes really well with the orange color. There should have been more purple.

This is already dragging on so I'm not going to bother transforming him right now. I'm sure it's awesome like the other two, and the pics I've seen of the car mode are pretty great. I think Down Force will be my least favorite of the four cars, but that doesn't mean it's a bad figure at all. Good stuff, recommended. Dang, we've been in this house over three weeks now, and I haven't started unpacking any TFs yet. Should do that soon.

And finally, my newest obsession, Gundam. Started with a couple model kits, then I learned there was a Figuarts-like line of action figures for them, and knowing my obsession with Figuarts it was pretty plain to predict what would happen with the Robot Damashii line - I want to own them all.

Arios Gundam Ascalon is my third Robot Damashii, don't ask how many others I have on the way. They're very poseable, not quite Figuarts-level but these are robot suits, not people in spandex, so that's okay.

This box is heavy, I anticipate that meaning it has a bunch of accessories, which is always a good thing for a toy, in my opinion. It's a nice pink and white color, I anticipate my daughters asking me to buy one for them, or to give them this one, but with all the sharp pointy bits this one has, that's probably not going to happen.

Arios Ascalon is a variation of a design from Gundam OO, and that is all I know about it's origins. It has a giant backpack that weighs it down, with a foldout-able sharp pointy blade thing that can be used to help balance the figure, but it's on such a tiny point I would be worried about it bending or breaking. This guy definitely needs a stand. It also has a lot of panels that get in the way when you try to pose it, you have to move them out of the way first.

It has a beam saber with removeable blade, some large handgun type thing, and a larger, two-hand gun type thing for accessories. It looks decent, but will take some practice to get good poses out of it. It has some gun barrels hidden in its forearms. Oh, and it transforms into a pretty cool looking jet mode. From some angles.

The transformation is a bit fiddly, but eventually some parts start tabbing into place and holding, which helps. The instructions aren't super clear, and I'm not entirely sure I got it all right. I feel like the arms need to do something, tab into place somewhere, but the instructions show nothing, and I think the guns are supposed to go somewhere, but the instructions are unintelligible there. But eventually you end up with a bladed thing that's an approximation of a jet thingy with a giant blade on top of it, that I guess can fold out to be for ramming other jets and cutting them in half? I dunno.

So, those are my new toys and some not-so-brief thoughts on them. I have another box of goodies coming from my comic store/joint Mandarake order buddy, that should be here Monday, and I can't wait to see what's in it.

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Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Another Photo Gallery: Kamen Rider Ryuki Blank

I made another SH Figuarts gallery for TokuNation, Kamen Rider Ryuki Blank form

In Kamen Rider Ryuki, Shinjo Kido discovers an Advent Deck shortly before learning he is being hunted by Dragredder, a powerful dragon creature that lives in a Mirror World. Using the Seal Advent Card to protect himself from Dragredder, Shinji begins to learn about the Mirror World and the monsters that live there, preying on the humans of the real world.

He uses the Advent deck to access the Mirror World and summons a sword to attack a Spider Monster. The sword shatters because he lacks a contract with a Monster, which would lend him its power. After seeing a child weeping over the loss of her mother, consumed by the Spider Monster, Shinji destroys the Seal card that protects him from Dragredder, and forges a contract with the beast, using the blank Contract Card, becoming Kamen Rider Ryuki; his goal, to protect humanity from the Mirror Monsters. What he doesn't yet know, is that not all Kamen Riders share his goal.

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Monday, July 01, 2013

My First Photo Gallery!

There's so much to write about, we moved two weeks ago, to a significantly larger house, I think we had our third child in the time since I last posted here (might be a small exaggeration), I've started getting into Gundam kits, I've got tons of other new toys I should talk about, I've been making video reviews of toys for several months now (I'm sure I'll start posting those here any day now), but what I want to talk about, is

Since getting into tokusatsu shows (which can basically be explained as Japanese live action anime TV shows) I joined the forums at, a sister site to, the Transformers forum I used to participate in (until I got into toku). I am a HUGE fan of the Kamen Rider franchise, and the largest portion of my toy collecting over the last year and a half or more has been Kamen Rider toys, specifically the SH Figuarts line.

Well, a few weeks ago TokuNation opened up a few staff positions for photographers, and I applied, and was chosen as one of the three new staff members. I can now post official galleries of toku-related toys, and tonight, I finally posted my first gallery.

SH Figuarts Kamen Rider Odin & Goldphoenix, from the Kamen Rider Ryuki line (and TV show), arrived this week, brand new from Japan, and it is an awesome set, and I wasted little time in taking a few decent, though not amazing, pictures.

Interested parties can view the gallery at

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

What I Got This Week - Dusty Edition.

Dangit, I have this blog, I should write in it occasionally. Or Frequently even, since I'm paying for the website where I host all the pictures.

So here's a story about something that happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I tried to make it funny, because in retrospect it kind of is, to me. To my wife and cousin it was funny at the time too, but I think they were just being mean to me.

You may not realize this, but I have a lot of allergies, and some times they can be really severe, and sometimes, I don't react well to the allergy attacks.

My cousin's main form of income is selling toys on eBay. He buys big lots of toys on eBay, craig's list and yard/moving sales and then stores them in his basement for months because he has far more toys than he could possibly sell in one lifetime.

A couple weeks ago he and I drove an hour and a half to buy some things from a collector that was moving and didn't want to take it all with him. He had lots of great stuff, a couple old, valuable LOTR statues I wanted, some Transformers (mostly movie crap), and a bunch of Aliens and Predators statues, and a ton of collectibles from Peter Jackson's King Kong. My cousin bought a lot of it, some of it he even intends to keep for himself, which is super rare, because he never spends money on himself.

I bought a few things, not much, but the reason I'm bringing this entire story up is because I hate dust. The little bit that gathers on my figures or shelves over a period of a many weeks, to even a few months, that's not bad. It's easy to blow off, or goes away when I move my toys around (my display room is surprisingly free of dust).

Anyway, this guy's stuff was filthy. Like, sitting in the same spot and never moved or cleaned for years. The dust was so thick I felt like it was getting on me just by looking at it, like it was a living, malevolent force. Picking up a toy to check it's condition covered my hands in this thick film of dust that wouldn't come off.

And I started to freak out. Slowly, for sure. I can control my responses for a while, but as I looked at more of his items, the dust growing thicker on my fingers, a panic started to build in me until I was getting ready to burn the house to the ground. Some things can only be purged by fire, after all.

To save himself the hassle of a house fire, the guy showed me the bathroom where I tried to wash my hands and face, but it was too late. I could feel the dust affecting my eyes and my throat. My neck started to itch, my eyes began to itch, but of course I couldn't scratch anything because after washing up, I looked at more stuff so there was again copious amounts of dust on my hands.

Eventually my cousin had made his selections, we both paid the dude, and I got us the hell out of there. But it was too late. I was itching up a storm, and of course I was driving. Hives were developing on my forearms and one side of my neck, and my throat itched inside like hell, and I needed food badly (because I was hungry and also to cleanse the dust from my esophagus) or I was going to drive us into the next concrete barrier I saw.

But as you may surmise, we survived. It was not an easy task though, we skipped the obvious freeway offramp that had food and had to take the next one. The attempt to drive thru town to get back to the food places we had seen at the previous offramp was a disaster, we ended up lost, further away from the food than when we started, but eventually I remembered I have an iPhone with a decent map system, which showed we were going the complete wrong way - I thought we were going North, Rish thought we were going East, and the GPS thought we were going West. It got us back on track, we ate, my allergy attack subsided and the night ended well for us.

But, the trauma of the event meant it was two weeks before I could bring myself to even touch the toys I bought again, but Saturday I gave them a vicious cleaning, and now they are fit to join my collection

DST Voyage Home Kirk and Spock 2 pack.

The DST figures are big, terribly unposeable despite the articulation, but usually have lots of accessories and decent sculpts. Far better than the old Playmates toys anyway. I have a very large collection of these figures, at this point I actually have nearly every single distinct sculpt, just not every repaint of them all, which I don't need. But this was a pair of Kirk and Spock I didn't have, as far as I know, they are new, unique sculpts. Plus The Voyage Home is a fun movie, and they're decent outfits, so I always wanted this set, just not for the prices it normally sells for. Used with no accessories, $6 for the pair? Okay.

Playmates Star Trek 2009 Enterprise

Again, the DST ships are so much better than the Playmates ones, but DST doesn't have the movie license, and this one is decently detailed, has lights and sound, which work, and I got it for $12. And 10 minutes or so of cleaning.

Aliens Warrior Mini Bust

This thing, on the other hand, was complete and total bitch to clean. I spent probably 40 minutes or more with a wet toothbrush lightly scrubbing the entire thing multiple times to get into all the little sculpted crevasses and detailing to get the dust that had been caked on over the years, to the point where it was even sticky in some places. It was not a fun experience cleaning it. But it looks pretty darn swell now. In a sick, disturbing kind of way. All for only $15.

Oh! There was one more thing I got, but I don't know how to clean it, so I haven't dared touch it since I got it. It's a hat, and being covered in dust I was smart enough to not try it on then, so I hope it fits me. But it's an official, licensed Indiana Jones fedora, and it will be awesome, once it's clean.

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Friday, March 01, 2013

DST Enterprise B, Nemesis E and AGT D Pics

I was experimenting with my dad's camera, cuz mine is pretty crap. Obviously, I don't know what I'm doing, but I found that in overexposing these shots a little, the light up features look pretty awesome. (click for larger version). The E is my favorite version of the Enterprise, and the B is tied with the D for second favorite version.

Enterprise B

Nemesis Enterprise E

All Good Things Enterprise D

While the E is my favorite ship, I really like the third nacelle on the AGT D, and the last shot here is one of the best pictures I've ever taken.

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New Toys and such! Feb 28, 2013

I seem to have trouble posting here regularly, but I'll see if I can't maintain a twice monthly accounting of what I got each month. Starting in March.

But since I got a big ol' box yesterday from a friend that works at a comic book shop and can therefor hook me up with good stuff I can't find locally, I want to share it.

The box is big.

The toy next to it, is 8-9" tall. So the box is really, really larger. And it contained a fair amount of goodies. Starting with three new Star Trek ships from Diamond Select Toys. The Enterprise E, Nemesis version, is a repaint of the Enterprise E they released a few years ago, with a much improved paint scheme, and new, beautiful blue LEDs in the warp nacelles. The Enterprise B and Bird of Prey are brand new ships, just released.

Then we have two new SH Figuarts, DekaRed from Dekaranger and Kintaros from Kamen Rider Den-O. yay!

And a mess of DC stuff. Batgirl bust from Women of the DC Universe series 3, Supergirl bust from the New 52 line, Eaglemoss DC Chess Collection: Special Edition Batsignal, and pieces Black Mask and Man-Bat, and Kotobukiya ArtFX+ Superman and Green Lantern from their New 52 line. There was also the 66 Batmobile from the Eaglemoss Batman Automobilia line that I forgot to put in the picture. All very beautiful items and stuff I'm glad to have. My friend has been storing this stuff up for me for a month, and it's great to finally have it in hand.

Pics of the Star Trek ships to follow!.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Transformers - More Than Meets The Eye Part 1

I've seen the first episode 3 or 4 times now, since I bought these DVDs, I watched it by myself, I showed it to my girls, and I watched it again, just now. It's a really good introduction to the franchise.

In MTMTE part 1 we are introduced to nearly all of the Transformers I remember as a kid, those that are staples of the franchise, as well as some of my favorites, including Soundwave and his main cassette minions, Starscream, Skywarp and Thundercracker, and obviously, Optimus Prime and Megatron. The introductions are enough to inform us of their personalities (which I imagine don't change much throughout the show), ie Soundwave is awesome, Starscream is a bit whiny and power hungry, Megatron is a maniac, Prime is heroic, etc. They all have distinct voices as well as looks - excepting the Seekers, being redecos of Starscream, but even so, each of them is featured individually, they're not just Starscream and his clones, they're definitely three different characters.

We also get a good amount of footage of Cybertron, with a nifty voice-over to start the episode, explain the Heroic Autobots and Evil Decepticons, the war, and their search for Energon. My favorite part of Cybertron is the cybertronian modes, that in my memory we don't see ever again. They're all decent, the Seekers having the best forms in my opinion, though Laserbeak's is also great, though Soundwave's is pretty darn lame, pretty much being just a 'T'. I'm still waiting for toys of the Tetrajets, in Starscream and Skywarp colors

The Autobots are leaving Cybertron to seek new sources of Energon, the Decepticons follow because anything Prime can do, Megatron must to better, and first. They fight, they damage the ship, it crashes on earth and 4 million years later the ship's computer awakens and goes exploring (Explore! Explore!). The first vehicle it scans is an F-15 jet, and the first Transformer revived (Repair! Repair!) is Skywarp, which I think is awesome, his is the best deco after all. The Decepticons start building a base, and attack an oil derrick to harvest the oil into Energon cubes, for storage and eventual return to Cybertron. The Autobots show up (flying? I didn't think they could fly, and (spoiler) it seems to be forgotten by the end of this three episode story arc), disrupt the Decepticons plans, who flee to their base. And thus is established the basic pattern of the show (or so I'm told).

Unfortunately, we also meet the humans. Ugh. Spike and Sparkplug Witwicki are okay, but damn they have stupid names. Hopefully they won't be too terrible as the show progresses, and maybe we'll meet some evil humans that will team up with the Decepticons, like Cobra Commander or something.

One last thing to mention, the theme song. It's awesome. The lyrics are primitive, and the song just kinda stops, but it is very catchy and I like the instrumentation of it. The first episode was a decent enough hook that I can totally see how it captured the attention of kids, and though it took me 4 years of toy collecting before I started buying Transformers, I was tempted by them on several occasions long beforehand. In the end, it was my love for Skywarp (and finding the Masterpiece figure on clearance for $15) that started me down that dark path, from which there is no return. Anyway, despite some very terrible art in places, the voice acting was decent, the story was interesting enough that so far I can say I enjoy the show, and I'm curious to see where it goes. And of course I cannot wait for the eventual introductions of my other favorite characters, Ultra Magnus, Ramjet and Devastator, all of whom, like Skywarp, I like for their designs, I don't remember them at all as characters.

Oh yeah, and Soundwave's voice is AWESOME.

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New Year, New Project

I have a lot of ideas of things I should be writing about here, so of course it's been around 6 months since my last post, and already the first month of the new year is gone.

I'm going to watch Transformers, the original cartoon from 1984. I've been collecting Transformers with reckless abandon for 3 or 4 years now, seems like I should at least watch the cartoon that sold the original toyline.

I also intend to write a couple of stereotypical Best of 2012 posts, but I'm waiting on trying to learn how to take better pictures. So for now, I'll be trying to focus on Transformers (1984). I'm sure I won't keep to any schedule, but hopefully I can do one or two a week, I'll be trying to keep them short, not doing an entire write up of each episode, but more a short summation of the highlights, good and bad, of each episode. But I'm sure my nifty new game, Dragon Age: Origins, that I can play on my nifty new computer, will do a fair amount of distracting me from my purpose.

But, in that vein, I will now go watch episode 1, More Than Meets The Eye.

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