Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Minecraft Action Figures - A review...?

I reluctantly call it a review, because I feel I know far too little about Minecraft to do them justice. I can call it like I see it, and I can try to put it into context as an action figure collector. But the thing is, with the constant and seemingly endless amount of Minecraft spinoff effects, I'm not sure these action figures are a big deal.

They would have been to me, had I played even a minute of Minecraft, because these are great toys.

Read on for a closer look, or check out the video reviews on youtube of both Steve and the Creeper.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Marvel Legends Dr. Strange

Another video. This is Dr. Strange from Toy Biz' Marvel Legends line. This particular wave of figures came packed with parts you could use to build a giant sized Galactus. I showed Galactus here a while back. He's still my favorite Marvel Legend figure, but when I started playing a bit with my old collection, I notice that I actually like these toys. Yesterday I opened Dr. Strange, and he's an excellent figure in some ways, and not so excellent in other ways.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Snake Eyes v.3

In 1982, Hasbro released the first version of Snake Eyes. A very tactical design, clearly a commando, very different from the rest of the 82 line up. 1985 gave us the iconic design which we usually picture when we talk about Snake Eyes. A truly magnificent design, and a great action figure. Landed a spot in my top 5. And then in 1989 came the version that no one cares about. In fact, do anyone care about any 1989 G.I. Joe figures?

When I thought about it, I could barely remember any 1989 Joes. I know we got an updated version of Rock n' Roll. I know we saw a repaint of the impressive Payload mold from 1987. And... I know we got a new version of Snake Eyes. On it's own right a cool enough figure, but compared to the previous two versions, and even compared to the one that followed, it's difficult to care about this one. But I will try anyway. As usual, there are far more going on than you realize. Snake Eyes has tons of sculpted details, and actually came with an impressive amount of accessories - some of which I have misplaced over the years.

Snake Eyes is all black plastic, with silver paint applications. Not too exciting, but like I said, the sculpted details are numerous and impressive. He came with a backpack with nice details, a sword that would fit in the backpack. He came with a three-piece ninja-weapon I can't identify, and a blow dart gun and a machine pistol that probably lies in the bottom of my Joe box. This is absolutely a decent amount of accessories, even for a 1989 Joe.

What I really don't like about the figure is the head sculpt. His head just looks too tiny for his body. I also can't shake the knowledge of how Snake Eyes got hold of this costume. In the comics, our silent commando is about to be tortured by three clowns called "The Payne Brothers". One has black pants, one has black shirt, the last one has a black mask. Snake Eyes of course ends up taking out the three fools and steals their clothes. Now, why didn't they have more clothes? Why did only one of them have mask? I need to re-read this comic, maybe it actually is less ridiculous than I can remember.

Like I said, 1989 wasn't a strong Joe year... Until I gave it some thought.

We got two really cool army builders in the Alley Viper and the Night Viper. Some of the Joes were cool, like Backblast, Scoop and Stalker in arctic gear. Some of my favorite vehicles in the insane looking Arctic Blast, the dealy Cobra Condor, and of course, the mighty Thunderclap.

Fan favorite figures
Thunderclap was one massive toy with great playability
But there were reasons I could barely remember anything good about this year of Joes. We got a lot of wonky characters. Take a look...

Well this doesn't look dangerous at all...
Yes, that orange Cobra trooper has bombs strapped all around his ankles, and is carrying a cannon bigger than himself. Yes that Joe has machine guns connected to his hips, and is about to fight Cobra with a lawnmower.

I haven't been buying too many of the modernized Joes of late, but I doubt they have come around to modernizing Heat Viper and Pathfinder (the two guys above, likely to kill themselves as well as everyone around them). But we have seen modern versions of Alley Viper, and something that could pass for the Night Viper. Take a look:

But I digress. Back to our ninja...

Snake Eyes v.3 was modernized in the 25th anniversary line, and suddenly the design behind the character made sense. The previously sculpted details were suddenly functional, like the knives and the socket for the night vision goggles. Suddenly it was clear that this costume was a perfect blend between the "ninja" and the "commando", maybe even more so than the previous version.
This time around, the proportions felt more right too. In fact, the 25th Snake Eyes v.2 Is probably my favorite among the modern Snake Eyes versions.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lego + The Simpsons

I've never been a die hard fan of The Simpsons. I mean, like any sane person, I've enjoyed the occasional episode when I stumble upon one, but I have never had the interest of watching entire seasons of the show. But I know there are many fans out there, enough for the upcoming Lego Simpsons sets to be insanely popular.

I can't confirm whether that Ned Flanders figure is production. The head looks weird, but we've seen similar oversized heads for instance in the Toy Story Lego series. The body looks like production to me.

Personally, I don't think this works as Lego sets. What sets could they possibly make? The inside of the power plant? The bar? The couch? At least they don't have to change skin colors for the figures. They are already Lego colored.

I will of course keep an eye out for the sets, but I'll pass on them - luckily, I'd say. Lego is sooner than later going to get hold of the building set license for something that really peaks my interest. Macross/Robotech? Starcraft?
They're probably also well underway with producing something like a Lego Galactus, or some other incredible set within the Marvel Superheroes line.

That said, I think it's interesting, and probably a wise move for Lego to do Simpsons sets.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Toys and Bacon on Youtube

I'm been planning on going video for a while. It's awkward hearing ones voice in playback, and I'm obviously more comfortable writing English than speaking it. I bet my sister and her English boyfriend would have a thing or two to say about both pronunciation and vocabulary. Never the less, here's my first video.

Basically, it's just me talking about MOTUC for 15 minutes, while showing some of my favorite figures. I rant a bit about the line, but also give praise where its deserved.

Here's the direct link if you're on a mobile that won't show youtube videos.

What I'd like from you guys is to leave comments on what you want to see. I have a big collection of toys, vintage and modern, lots of unopened stuff. Individual toy profiles? Collection videos? I'd also like to do it from an angle, have a twist to the videos. I guess by this time, it's difficult to make something really original when filming toys, but I'd rather not simply do "reviews" or "haul videos".

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Thor 2: A review, of some sort...

If you read this, chances are you plan on seeing Thor regardless of your connection to the Marvel universe or superheroes in general. That's a good thing, because with superheroes being mainstream, it's generally easier to be an enthusiast. And the latest movie from Marvel Studios, Thor: The Dark World, is as mainstream as movies get.

It wasn't always like this. There was a time, not long ago, when we were losing our shit just to get any sort of superheroes beyond Batman and Superman in theaters. Remember when X-Men came out? If you were into comics back in the late 90s, it was huge. It was monumental. It was something new. There was a time, not long ago, when the idea of several Marvel movies all being connected was just that: Ideas and fantasies among fans.

Now, we have one well made superhero movie after the other, the last one leading up to the next one. And it's so much fun. These are good times to be comic book enthusiasts.

Marvel has it figured out. They know what the fans want, and they know how to deal with the general audience. It's a perfect mix between action, romance, easily comprehensible stories and humor. Mix this with sweet special effects, solid soundtrack and generally great choices of actors, and it's not difficult to understand why these movies are a delight.

These movies stick true to the source material most of the time, and when they deviate, it's usually purposeful. But Marvel Studios has gone beyond just being true to the comics. They are loving it, they are passionate about it. Just think about this: We have seen Robert Downey Jr. dressed up in an Iron Man suit made by Stan Winston studios. We have seen Nick Fury - as played by Samuel L. Jackson, shoot a bazooka at Loki. We have seen Hulk and Thor do battle on the Helicarrier. Thanos, the Mad Titan is in a mainstream movie!

Thor: The Dark World isn't a masterpiece. But no one was expecting it to be. What it is, is extremely fun and entertaining, both for me, and for people who haven't read a single issue of Thor.

Review? Well... You can read reviews elsewhere. I'll share various thoughts though.

For the first time in 5000 years, the nine realms are aligning, being closer to each other than normal. This causes rifts in the worlds, where it's possible to portal from one realm to another.

The Dark Elves, once defeated, are back to seek vengeance over the nine realms, and plan on using the alignment to their advantage. Their leader, Malekith, seeks the essence of evil: The Aether. With it, he plans on sending the universe back into darkness. He doesn't succeed, but there's a lot of collateral damage going on before he's stopped. Both in Asgard and in London.

This time around, we get to see a lot of Asgard, which is really cool. We see tons of cool tech and magic, and it's just amazing. Their boats are shaped like viking ships, and their buildings have laser turrets. It's all very true to the idea of a mix between sci-fi and magic. We also see a lot more to Heimdall, played by Idris Elba. He's become a staple in these kinds of movies now, and I think he likes it.

Loki is locked up in the Asgardian prison early in the movie, but still plays a major role throughout. I like that, I really like Tom Hiddelston playing Loki - and I know I'm not the only one. He looks so fresh in his prison cell, all clean and in his usual outfit, but when Thor tells him to drop the spells, we see him as a wounded and broken man. Of course, Loki never ceases his tricks. I suspect he will play an important role in future Marvel movies as well.

The villains were ok, Malekith is played by Christopher Eccleston, but I'd liked to see a bit more passion from him. His lackey is almost more interesting, a regular Dark Elf that sacrifices himself to become basically the Dark Elf variant of The Hulk.

An important part of the movie is its humor, and it's at times seriously funny. The entire audience is laughing-funny. The funniest moments revolve around the misadventures of Dr. Erik Selvig, the scientist played by Stellan SkarsgÄrd, but several back and forth comments between Thor and his various allies are also great fun.

I'd actually liked a bit more romance, or rather that the romance of Thor and Jane Foster were put on serious trials. But I guess they're saving that for another time. And for those in the audience who are into that kind of stuff: sadly, that first scene of shirtless Thor is the only one in the entire movie.

When all is said and done, I got what I expected. A great superhero movie, excellent entertainment, and I got my daily dose of Marvel. How much Marvel, you say?

Well, skip the break to find out (spoilers)...