Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Collectible Minifigures Series 13

Wow.. 13 full series of this amazing toy line. And they're still not running out of ideas!

Or are they...?

The first image is directly from Lego just now, and the second image resurfaced earlier November 26 We see the lineup of Series 13. It's obvious we have a few absolute hits here. The Hot Dog Dude is completely out of the ball park, and the carpenter, with a 2x4 is amazing. I also like the Egyptian warrior, the Evil wizard and the Unicorn costume. Fencer and Fakir are also nice.

But just stop with the female counterparts! Female cyclop, female disco enthusiast, female samurai, female explorer. Surely the designers of Lego can make female characters that isn't just "the other half" of a couple? It goes the other way as well, easily the most boring figure in Series 12 was the male lifeguard. We already have a lifeguard! Why not make the carpenter a woman instead? Or the fencer? Or something new?

Oh well. I guess I shouldn't rant. Truth is, the Hot Dog Dude makes up for the entire set.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Marvel Phase 3

These are great times.

Nearly three decades ago, I picked up an issue of Secret Wars, and I was instantly a fan. Many kids of my generation grew up reading the comics with the Marvel superheroes. And sure, we dreamed of watching movies with our heroes, but as we aged, we realized that they very well could be similar to Street Fighter the Movie, or the TMNT movies. With this kind of quality as an alternative, I'd say it was a better option to not have superhero movies at all

Back in the late 90s, we actually started getting the superhero movies. Blade, Spider-Man, X-Men, followed by Hulk, Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider and sequels to the first wave. Some of these were good, a few of them were great, most of them were just awful.

Hindered by technology, but even more so a lack of scope and ambition.
You see, one of the reasons I fell in love with the Marvel universe was that any and all hero and villain could have some sort of link to the others. After all, the first comic I consciously read was a massive team-up between the heroes and villains.

And up until Marvel Studios, we just haven't seen this. They managed to team up four superheroes that easily could be the sole superhero franchise at any other movie studio. And they're building the story lines towards a goal.

Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, X-Men - maybe the most popular Marvel characters at one point - are locked at other studios. But that kind of doesn't matter.

You see, another impressive feat with Marvel is that they're not afraid to take chances with lesser known characters. Iron Man? Sure, every comic book reader knows Iron Man, but at the time the first movie came out, he wasn't the most popular Marvel character, probably not even top ten. Guardians of the Galaxy? Popular in the comics the last few years, but in the mainstream? Not even remotely.

Now, look at that line-up of movies. Captain Marvel. Black Panther. Doctor Strange. Inhumans. This is sick. This is insane. These are ridiculously awesome times to be a fan. I'm so glad I grew up with these comics to build the enthusiasm, and I'm so glad I'm around now to see them come alive like never before.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Star Wars Episode 7 Concept Art

A handful of concept art pieces leaked the other day, and I thought it was worth talking a bit about the value of these illustrations.

Me, and many of my generation are probably as excited as it's possible to be for a movie. I even knowpeople outside my generation are excited for the new movie. The popularity of Star Wars extends far beyond the kids that grew up watching it.

And we just can't wait. We have to know all the information right away! Every little piece of news regarding the JJ Abrams directed movie has the internet buzzing. Now that Lucas is out of the picture, we shouldn't have to worry about repercussions should we leak secret information. It's not like the new owners are overly protective of their copyrights.
Well, except if your image sort of resembles one of their million trademarked logos. 
Anyway, I don't fear any C&D letters, simply because I have nothing to gain from sharing these images. And to be fair, these illustrations does nothing but get fans more excited, so for all I know, the leak may be fully intentional.

But for the sake of the fans that want to go in to the theater with zero knowledge of what's coming, I'll put a break.

So hop on in for Star Wars Episode 7 concept art!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

LEGO Jurassic World

I guess the news is out there, so I can safely report without breaking a promise. This summer I visited a friend in Billund, where he works. For Lego. He was so excited about this new project they were doing, but couldn't really tell what it was. After a few guesses, I landed on Jurassic Park - or Jurassic World, as the new movie is called. Me and him both grew up watching Jurassic Park in the mid 90s, and believe me - going to the cinema to see that movie definitely made an impact.

And here it is. Lego are making sets for the movie. It will be exciting to see how popular the movie - and the sets will be.

Here's the Brickset report, based on a press release from Universal Studios.

See! I could keep the secret!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Megatron x Sega 16-bit

Straight from a Japanese hobby magazine, a picture of an upcoming figure. It's Megatron diguised as a Sega 16bit console. Segatron. -_-

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Top 24 G.I. Joe Figures... From the 90s!

This is a guest article written by my little buddy, Al. He's a fan of G.I. Joe himself, and was let loose on my collection. I gave him the task to find his favorite figures among the later ones, the ones from 1990-1994. There's a lot that could be said about the demise of the original G.I. Joe - A Real American Hero toy line, and the way it ended was down right sad. But, as Al points out, there are a lot of gems here. Surprising ones even. 
The entire article is written by Al, and he has also taken the pictures. So, not a lot of work done by me. Which, honestly, is just the way I like it. 

Read on for the list of the top 24 G.I. Joe figures from the 90s!

Hot Toys DeLorean Time Machine from Back to the Future

At this point, we've probably already pre-ordered the Marty McFly 1/6 scale action figure from Hot Toys, and we kinda expected the DeLorean to be made as well. And we knew it would be awesome. And it is awesome. Expect the pre-order from various online retailers to be up any time soon.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Dinner Suggestion: Club Sandwich

Some days you just don't have the time to make a proper dinner, some days you simply don't want a proper dinner. In fact, I hate the term proper dinner. What really defines a dinner? Well, Wikipedia claims that it's the "significant meal of the day", and in that case, my club sandwich is dinner more than anything else I ate today.
Well, either way, let us say you didn't feel like mashing potatoes, or boiling rice. Here's how you make an extremely simple, yet awesome club sandwich.

Cut a chicken fillet in thin slices, 1/3 inch or 1 cm thick tops. Salt it before you fry it. I also use lots of black pepper. Fry it on medium high heat. Fry some smoked ham. Cut up half an avocado. Use good bread, add butter and crispy lettuce. It's really simple, and perfect for those days. You know those days... When you have lots of work.

Or those days you just want to sit at your computer and play Hearthstone.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hot Toys Black Widow from Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Just a year ago, I argued that I preferred quantity over quality, when it came to my superhero toys. Of course, today, things are very different. With a dozen of Hot Toys figures from Marvel's cinematic universe, I can admit to being hooked.

I've been talking about Hot Toys Black Widow for a few years now. Ever since she was announced as part of the Aveners wave, she had my attention, and I still regret not picking her up from Forbidden Planet in New York. But that was then, and I'm actually glad I waited. First of all, Captain America: The Winter Soldier was an impressive movie, and honestly, better than The Avengers. Secondly, this is a better toy than the previous version. Yes, the head sculpt may be just as reminiscent of Natalie Portman as it is Scarlett Johansson, but the details on this figure is out of this world. The fabric in the clothing, the incredible details on her belt. It's all very subtle, and all extremely impressive.

Anyway. Pictures.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sneakers and Toys

I have several hobbies, and every now and then they overlap. Like for instance when Lego said they would make a watch for adult fans of the bricks. Or when I got my hands on the Tea Robot.

I have always been into sneakers, training shoes, or shoes in general. I don't know why, but I guess I like the aesthetic, the culture around collecting sneakers. I also both play and follow basketball, where the shoe game is a big thing.

So naturally, I pay extra attention when the sneaker brands release shoes based on toys and action figures. This happens from time to time, but not nearly as often as one should expect.

The most recent was a basketball shoe from Fila, inspired by the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I'm a big TMNT fan, but haven't gotten around to see the new movie. I expect it to be a bad movie, but eventually, I know I will see it.

This isn't the first time Fila has made TMNT sneakers, and I actually own the previous release, from late 2012. The FX-100 Fila x TMNT is an awesome sneaker. Premium materials, lots of cool details. Even the box is TMNT-themed, with the sewer lid. And the pair came with option to switch out the strap to match your favorite turtle.

Like with toy collecting, you really need to keep up, and get the new releases when they drop, or else you may find yourself paying extreme prices. Back in 2009, Nike dropped a pack of 6 pairs nicknamed "Nike x Hasbro". Three pairs of G.I. Joe-inspired sneakers, and three pairs for Transformers. They all came packed in amazing windowed boxes, with the original toy art. You'd think this was something for me... Yes it was. Yet I still didn't pick it up when prices were still manageable.

Another mighty sneaker pack inspired by toys is the Reebok x Voltron from 2008. I have never been a big Voltron fan, but these five sneakers are delightful. Look at those colors. Each pair came with a lion robot, so if you got all five pairs, you were actually able to form Voltron.

We have seen many sneakers vaguely inspired by toys, and you are probably able to find action figures to match most of the colorways that drop. This pair of Nike SB Dunks are nicknamed "Skeletor" for a good reason. It's a perfect match.
Of course today, the big sneaker brands lets you design your own shoes. So there's really nothing stopping you in getting those Battle Cat styled LeBron 11s you always wanted...

And finally, a pair I do own. I know Star Wars isn't technically a toy line, but these sneakers are definitely toy inspired, as they came packed in a bubble, on card back, just like the vintage action figures.

If you want a more thorough article, I wrote a more lengthy piece for a sneaker blog. Read it here:
The Greatest Sneakers in the World... and the Toys that Inspired Them!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Weekend at a local games con

This weekend, me and the girlfriend went to a local games con, as exhibitors, sellers and enthusiasts. We had a great time, met lots of great people, sold some stuff, talked old toys, and saw a bunch of really amazing collectibles.

My booth the first day

Read on for a short report and tons of pictures!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

SDCC 2014 Infinity Gauntlet Set

Once again I'm not heading to San Diego for the annual comic convention. Of course, at this point it's pretty much pointless attending SDCC, as it has grown too big for it's own audience. And it's certainly not worth my time travelling to the states just to stand in lines, endless lines. I don't have patience for that.

At the very least from an outsider's point of view, SDCC has gone from being a pure comic convention - where like-minded came and celebrated comics - to being a showcase for movie and media. There's nothing wrong in that, but watching panels with movie stars, and hearing the latest toy news, I can really do that just as comfortable from my chair at home.   

That said, there is something special about attending conventions, the atmosphere, meeting other fans, watching cosplayers. If you've ever been to a con, you know what I'm talking about. 
I'm sure you can still get all this at SDCC - it's just that you have to stand and walk in line at all times. 
This very weekend, I'm heading to a small, local games-con. I'm excited, and hope to get that "con-feeling". 

For the bigger cons, there's always the allure of goodie-bags, con exclusives and freebies. 

Hasbro has had a monstrous streak of incredible exclusives, ranging from their back-to-back Transformers cassette players (2009-2010), to their Star Wars Death Star set (2011), their Transformers/G.I. Joe collaboration 2011-2013) and the simple, yet excellent 6" Boba Fett with Han Solo in carbonite (2013). 

This year, they hit a home run for me with the Infinity Gauntlet set, within their 3 3/4 Marvel Infinite line.

I'm a sucker for everything from Marvel's cosmic heroes, and I've been reading their epic space comics ever since Secret Wars. Naturally the Infinity Gauntlet series is one of my all time favorites. Author/artist Jim Starlin and artist Ron Lim had an insane run where they, among other stories, told the tales of Thanos, the mad titan, in his quest for scoring with Lady Death. 
And now, this weird relationship is being captured in toy form. The set includes Thanos, his brother Starfox and Lady Death (whom I think is a first-timer in toy form). 
In addition, we see Thanos' on/off associate, Nebula. She will be a major character in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie, but in this set they all have their comic appearances. 

And finally, the set comes with a wearable Infinity Gauntlet - complete with all six infinity gems, that will let its wearer control everything in the universe. Except lust for something you cannot have - lust that will eventually make you screw up, and let yourself be defeated. Again. 

This set would have been truly monumental had they included a vintage-appearance Adam Warlock. I'm not saying the asking price of $75 is too high for just four figures and a rubber gauntlet - but standing hours in line, you'd hoped to get at least one more figure. 

I want one. 

Yup, it's clear that Marvel is really taking it's cosmic "universe" seriously. Their six inch SDCC set is also cosmic related, with Black Bolt, Gladiator, Star Lord in the mix. Pair these sets with the Guardians movie this summer, and we almost have our dose of superheroes in space. Almost. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

May 4th

Normally, I try to avoid these "days". I haven't posted waffle recipes on the international waffle day, nor have I regularly posted Halloween articles on Halloween (all though it has happened once). I usually don't make a big deal about holidays.

The fourth of May is as nonsensical a holiday as they get. But at the same time, these are exciting days to be a Star Wars fan. The action figures are as good as ever, with the 6" Black Series. The Lego sets are incredible, and the new Sandcrawler 75059 is truly monumental. And of course, the upcoming seventh movie already looks more promising than any Star Wars movie the last 30 years.

So here it is: May the fourth be with you.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Episode VII Cast

Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Lego Ice Planet Artwork

Reminiscent of when I wrote an entire article around an art piece based on Lego Spyrius, this artwork based off Ice Planet just had to be featured.

Made by artist "Mr--Jack" - real name Luke Mancini, who posted this on his DA account. He has also done some amazing work for game company Blizzard's properties, like Arthas from World of Warcraft, Tyrael from Diablo and Tychus from Starcraft.

But this work from Lego Ice Planet sticks out to me. There's something awesome and fantastic about the idea of making a Lego theme more realistic, because to a kid, this is exactly how it feels. In a way, Mancini has tapped into the very nature of playing - the act of pretending and imagining to expand what is already there.

Very much true to the theme of The Lego Movie, the ability to imagine seems to be easily lost as kids grow into adults. We loose desire or skill (or both) to see more than there actually is.

But it's not difficult to get back into the habit of imagining, and in other ways than playing with Lego, adults are just as creative as kids. And of course, we have people like Luke Mancini, who are both creative and skilled enough to articulate his imagination, and gift us with amazing artwork based of a Lego sub-line.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review

I have this feeling that Marvel is continuously trying to better themselves, and are learning from their mistakes. Now, I don't really mind any of the movies from Marvel Studios, but there are obvious quality differences, with Iron Man, Thor, The Avengers and Iron Man 3 in one end, and The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2 and Captain America: The First Avengers in the other end.

The first Captain America movie wasn't bad, rather than flawed. The movie didn't feel like a fluid piece. It's difficult to make the origin story look good in the movies. Now, we're past this. The movie universe knows Captain America. The movie audience knows Captain America. We can be treated to a story that stands on its own. Expectations were surprisingly high, after seeing the various trailers, and trying to figure out the plot line without getting too much of the movie spoiled, I found myself unusually excited.

Expectations were met, it was a complete blast. Now, the part I was looking forward to the most, didn't exactly pan out how I had hoped, but it didn't really matter, as I was fully enthralled to the very end.
A thoroughly fun movie: Interesting characters and character interaction, impressive battles, well-paced story, and lots of goodies for the Marvel enthusiast.

Read on for a complete review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. And beware, there could be some spoilers.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Vintage style Captain America Poster by Paolo Rivera

Yes, I'm strangely enough excited for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Me and girlfriend saw The First Avenger again the other day, and are now ready for this next Cap movie. I liked Thor 2, but it would be seriously impressive had it surpassed the first Thor movie. But with Captain America, it's a bit different. The first one is good, but certainly not great, while the trailers for the new one are promising, to say the least. I expect it to be significantly better than The First Avenger (and I also expect teasers for the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie).

Now, by now you have probably seen the various promo pictures for The Winter Soldier, the actual movie posters, trailers, toys (see the last update), stills, and so on. But this one is something different. A poster made in the vintage style that you would see in the 70s spy movies. Roger Moore's James Bond movies comes to mind.
Done by skilled artist Paolo Rivera, you can also check out his blog here:

Marvel has said that it will indeed be a spy movie, with conspiracy and treachery being parts of the plot. But we have also seen the trailers, where stuff is being blown up. Passionately. I like both, and I think Paolo's poster resonate with this.

I love it, and it makes me even more ready for the movie the upcoming weekend.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Hot Toys Captain America Comparison

Well, with the new Captain America movie coming out, titled "The Winter Soldier", we are getting new action figures from Hot Toys. They already showed their new Black Widow, which caused somewhat of a discussion on the internet. People are surprised how life-like it looks.

No shit! Hot Toys have been doing this for a couple of years, and they're just getting better and better at it. They have already done three Black Widow figures, the first one from Iron Man 2, then the Avengers version, and now for the upcoming Cap movie. I still prefer the Avengers one.

Today, at Hot Toys facebook page, we were shown the pre-release pictures of their new Captain America - Golden Age costume. Apparently, Steve Rogers wears his vintage outfit in the last battle in the movie. It looks as fantastic as you could expect.

Of course, Hot Toys already did the golden age costume, from the first Captain America movie. Which one is better? You tell me.

Here are the two side by side.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Toys are fun. I collect toys. I play with toys. Article number 300.

Would you know, I've written three hundred articles in this blog. Some of them are pure nonsense, some of them are well thought out, and some of them are extremely personal. This leans towards the latter, but I suspect any collector can find some meaning here. It's about stepping out of the comfort zone and finding something that re-ignites the passion. 

How do you use action figures? 

Pictured: Story line.
Well, there are many ways, and I've talked about this before. Of course the most common way to use an action figure is to play with it like a child would. Well, I'm not a child, so you will probably not find me clashing my toys together and make explosion sounds. But what is the child really doing while playing? 
The child is creating a story line, interacting with the toys, taking part in the story. It's entertainment and creation at the same time. 

If I had a new years resolution this year, it would be to not collect stuff just to collect. The last few years I feel like I have been doing just that. Most of the toys I collect, I really like. That goes for my other collections as well. But I also found my self buying action figures and toys I simply didn't use

Now, my action figures are being played with, but not exactly like I describe above. You see, I also consider it playing with toys just to pick them up, and hold them, look at them, pose them. And in some way, I do the same as the child. It's a combination of appreciation of the toy itself and the creation of story lines. The story lines are probably not as strong and as lively as when I was a kid, but they're still there in some way. I look at some of the pictures I take, and there's definitely story lines.  
In storage...

Far too many of my toys see little to no play time. And that's not how it should be. Sure, some of them I have stored away for a specific purpose, and for good reasons. Some of my toys are appreciating just by sitting in storage, like a few sealed vintage pieces. Some of them I simply have no room for in my current apartment, like the bigger Lego sets. And some of them are valued treasures from my childhood, that I couldn't possibly get rid of, even though I don't necessarily use them any more - my entire G.I. Joe collection for instance. 

But I own toys that doesn't fall in any of these categories. What's really the point of these? I don't play with them, and I don't really need them. It's just stuff that's clogging up my closets. 

So since Christmas, I have been getting rid of - selling a lot of toys. We're talking a significant amount, both in numbers of action figures, and in money. 

Some of this money obviously goes right back into collecting, but this time more focused. I have been drooling over the Hot Toys Marvel superheroes ever since the Hong Kong company made toys for the first Iron Man movie. And naturally, I too start with Iron Man - more specifically the Iron Man 3 Tony Stark Suit Test. 

Now, this isn't about this specific Tony Stark toy, and I have only half-assed taken a few pictures of it. These pictures doesn't do the toy justice, and it's easy to find better pictures online. This is about what these figures are bringing to the table. These are the ultimate superhero action figures. 

In the past, my reasoning for not picking up Hot Toys figures have been: "These doesn't feel like toys". It's a common critique. They're extremely expensive, they're 1/6 scale, they're not intended for children. 

Tony Stark plays with toys as well. 
But when I display them in my cabinet, are they not toys that I play with? When I can't even leave them alone in said cabinet, am I not playing with them? 

I'm having more fun playing with the Hot Toys superheroes than I have had in a long time. The last time I had this much fun playing with toys was when me and Runar built a G.I. Joe diorama for a museum

The details on Tony Stark are amazing, his head sculpt is so realistic it's almost creepy. He has great articulation and comes with tons of cool accessories. Light up functions. I mean, apart from the high price, there aren't any reasons this couldn't be the perfect toy for anyone even remotely interested in action figures, comic books and the likes. 

When I think about it, I actually understand why it has been difficult for me to make this jump, and that may also be the reason I enjoy these toys more than I had thought. These aren't rooted in my nostalgia in the same way as say G.I. Joe, Transformers and Masters of the Universe. These are only indirectly connected to my childhood. I have always collected action figures, and I have always read the superheroes. But as a child I never had superhero action figures, and I was never into 1/6 scale. 

In that way, my Hot Toys Superheroes are something new, something exciting. Fear not, I'll still be into all the other stuff, Joes, Lego, robots and so on. But this is deliciously refreshing. 

Current collection consists of Tony Stark, one of his suits, one of his super powered colleagues, one of his adversaries, and two members of the espionage agency. All are obtained by simply getting rid of stuff I didn't use.