Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Schwagmas Brag/Regular 'Ol Schwag
WHEW! That was ONE WHOLE YEAR that it took to finish Grayskull. Some of it was warranted, but most of it was a hold-over from my high school days; where I have a large project looming over my head and I keep running away from it. C'est la vie!
Now that it's over, I can finally get to some of the junk I've been pushing off to the side. BUT FIRST...how about an update on my Christmas schwag and the junk I obtained before and around that time?
First off: The front page pic is a pod from a Kinder Surprise egg. If you're unfamiliar: Kinder Surprise is a chocolate egg with a little orange pod inside. Inside the pod is a toy! You might recognize it as something that could be anywhere but here, in the US. We banned toys-in-candy awhile ago, 'cause a kid choked on the toy inside. If I'm not mistaken: That was with a Wonder Ball, which was a similar item but sold in the US. I'm not sure if the toy inside was concealed inside another plastic pod, like these. In any case: I don't think these things are killing uncontrollably, because I assume most parents are making sure their kids aren't eating everything in sight.
With that out of the way: I painted a Jake face on one of the pods. It's a terrible Jake face.
I obtained things on Christmas! You may have, as well. First off are the Wife things!
I had recently borrowed "Yotsuba!" from a coworker and loved the heck out of it. The figure is a result of that love, obtained from a convention. The books are the gift! My wife got me the whole series (so far). It's a charming and hilarious series, and I highly recommend it.
My wife also finished off the Avatar comic series for me (previously getting me "The Promise" and "The Search" on my birthday). These are just a collection of little stories made in between episodes of the series.
This is an Imaginext alien space station that my wife saw me "eyeing" constantly. It's one of those things I try to stay away from, since I don't have much room for playsets....but it's much smaller than most playsets! And I could use it to display Glyos stuff, or....hell, I just wanted it. She's got a good bead on my wants.
It came with an eyeball man and some eyeball armor and I'm fairly sure this was designed for my buddy Zach at the freakin' Plastic Eyeball, if that wasn't obvious. You don't have to have a particular love for eyes to love this set, though. Look at it! IT LOOKS AT YOOOOU.
My wife also likes to throw in random interesting things, like the Mr. Potato Head Optimus, there. He was one of those little things in the stocking stuffer section and sports translucent plastic, so he was an obvious winner. Plus, he's funny. The other guy is from a cartoon called "Octonauts", which I think might be a preschool or otherwise younger kid thing. The toys are cute as hell (I bought at least one) and the eyepatch cat is obviously cool, so she found this little orca snowmobile sporting him as a driver. IT ROLLS SOOO WELL YOU GUYS.
I haven't been into Lego as much recently, but it's always a dormant volcano, so my wife got me two little sets, just because. One sure-fire win is those little lego motorcycles (and I just like the Police sets, for some reason) and another, once again, is translucent things. I wasn't terribly interested in the arctic exploration sets, but I knew I wanted at least ONE of those iceballs. So there's a skimen dragging one around! It has what I assume is precious ore, inside.
Yes, that is both Smash Bros versions. I heard there were some different levels on the 3DS version and wasn't sure which one I wanted. She got me both! I'm quite happy. There is, of course, the problem of having to unlock things in both, forcing me to do everything twice, but I'll have help from friends on the console version. It makes up for it by allowing me to play the game at home AND on the go!
I haven't attacked a Smash Bros game since Melee - I bought Brawl, but didn't get as much into it. This one seems to have fixed a lot of problems I had with Brawl, and - AND AND AND - they added the Mii Fighters! If you want Alexx to buy a game, just give him some custom character options and he'll be there. Seriously: I've bought some games I normally wouldn't pay attention to just because they added a character creator.
That's just me, but OH MAN my whole batch of horrifying, deformed monsters that I created on the Wii's Mii Maker are now fighters in Smash Bros. I'd show you Chud, but I'm already annoying two people in my life with the existence of Chud, and I don't need to add you poor people to the mix.
Now, for my wife's final gift: A NEW CAMERA.
You may notice some pics are darker or brighter....I'm still trying to get the hang of this thing. It's fancy as all get-out, so it's taking me some time to get used to all the features. I can't figure out how to get it to just....take the lighting I'm using. My previous camera just sorta....did it. Now this thing seems to make things darker all the time, unless I adjust the brightness, which might end up too bright, but I can't tell until I get it on the computer (also my screen isn't the greatest, so some pics I've taken in the past look okay on my screen, but worse on others).
It's trial and error so far, but OH MAN, does it take some detailed shots! I'm gona have to dig into the manual for this beast, 'cause I want to take advantage of all it's special superpowers.
Now I got some items from other folks as well: One of them being my Mom, who understands my desire for random little toys (also for Target giftcards).
She also understands my desire for smaller versions of normal things. These are a pair of mini walkie talkies and a pair of mini laser guns (you might recognize them from childhood as the standard laser gun with all the different noises). The walkie talkies work semi-well, but they have a Morse Code button that allows me to lay down some phat beats whenever I like, so they don't need much else. The lasers are real lasers, and my enemies are currently on the run, lest I melt them and everything they hold dear in the world.
Another constant in my life that you might not be aware of: Flashlights. I don't know why. I haven't covered them because - why? But they make lego-figure flashlights, and my Mom got me Vader (with flashlight feet) and R2-D2 (with flashlight butt). They're super bright and keychains, so it's possible one of them may end up in my pocket at some point. Most likely R2. Vader will stand next to the normal lego-dude-light my wife got me awhile back,and join the ranks of flashlights I grab when something rolls under the couch.
Now, I believe I've mentioned that two of my friends (Heli and Zach) are quite adamant that I watch a Kamen Rider series called Kamen Rider Fourze. I agree, of course, but it's not easy to track these things down (either on youtube or torrents) so Heli tossed this in on our last trade:
The whole series! So now I'm out of excuses and the insanity will begin as soon....as soon as I get around to it. I'LL DO IT I SWEAR!
Oh hey, speaking of Zach and Kamen Rider:
Zach sent along various things I like, like Kamen Rider! These are little Gashapon guys, like this awesome cut-away Kamen Rider 1, showing all his powerful insides.
And this awesome high-five crow man.
And whoever this douche is, from Kamen Rider Ryuki:
I love him because he looks like the reaction anyone who ever says "Why did you do that?!" That's why, right there. He's just a dick.
This one is a vinyl from Kamen Rider Gaim, which is...fruit armor...ah man, I can't go into that now. But I will OH I WILL. In due time.
This guy is a bit simpler! This is Kamen Rider Black RX, or as you might know him, Masked Rider. This came around the original run of Power Rangers and is straight from the 90's! Zach straight-up bought a version still in the package, so he's in perfect condition. I don't usually look into the vintage stuff very often, but this was one I would make an exception for. I'm just...not great at hunting for them, and most of them are missing the antennas or are scratched to heck. So here we are with a brand new one! As with a lot of Kamen Rider stuff: I'll go into the background of this guy further in another post.
And finally, Zach threw in some Gundam stuff because...well, ya'll know by now that I'm a Gundam fan. The larger ones are from a series called Gundam Stand Art. No articulation, but they sure are purdy! The red one is a Rick Dias, and the other one is a Zaku I in Black Tri-Star colors. I don't remember the name of the small guy, but he's cool, and that's all that counts.
And that's it for presents, for the most part! Naturally, leading up to Christmas, I bought other things while buying things for others. I figure "other things" still counts as "others", ya know? Plus, some items were preorders earlier in the year, and they popped up in November and December.
Like OH CRAP more Kamen Rider stuff! I missed out on these Kamen Rider 1 and 2 figures, 'cause I got into the game late. Thanfully, Bandai re-released them so I could get them for normal prices! I also got the two-pack of Rider 1 and his cycle, because I figured that I should have at least one cycle. They are "riders", after all. Kamen Rider 2 is where it's at, though. His first release was over a hundred bucks, so it was super useful to have this re-release! Plus: I just love 'em. It's probably because of the red.
The next preorder to show up was Zero, in his Mega Man Zero design! WOW, man. Not sure what to say; especially since I'd like to say it all in a review (and I will). I have frothed at the mouth for this design in toy form (and not that Jazwares' monstrosity) and this thing is hitting on all four cylinders. It has everything he needs for the basic stuff (still hoping for an extra weapons set so he can be complete) and he and his hair are properly articulated so you can accurately recreate just about any pose he's ever struck in the official artwork. You also might be able to kill a man with just his hair! That shit is sharp, yo.
If you have any love for the games, I highly recommend the figure.
And the final preorder to show up around the holidays: The Four Horsemen's Gothtropolis Cardinal! I won't go into it in full, but The Four Horsemen (sculptors of the Masters of the Universe Classics toyline, among a million other things) did a Kickstarter to create this Raven man figure. They like to use a mold for all it's worth, so the same birdman mold was mixed with various heads and colors to create a big line of birdmen figures! I can't afford to get everything I want, so I just picked out one: The Cardinal, named Cardinus. I've always liked cardinals (what with all the red) so this was a no-brainer.
He doesn't feel brittle, and you won't be afraid to move him around. If you get a chance to get any of these: go for it!
Alrighty, now it's time for the regular 'ol Schwag Brag: Things I bought because there's no reason for me to stop, even before and during the holidays.
Got this other Zero for my birthday in October, and I'm not sure why he wasn't a part of an earlier post. This is Zero in his black armor; an upgrade that he was able to get from Mega Man X4 on out (either by code, or finding it). He is the same as the regular Figuarts Zero, but in black, and his sabers are purple, rather than blue.
There's also....that face. All his faces are the same as previous Zeros (though looking in different directions), but this one is based on his manga representation. Apparently the manga has a pretty big following, in Japan, so the addition of this face (they added a manga face for X in an exclusive set) is probably a big nostalgia bomb. I assume it's based on some iconic shots of him....but for me, it looks like kawaii desu Zero winking at a girl; acknowledging that senpai finally noticed her. That was the first picture I took of him.
I bought a big skull. It's from a toyline for Terraria, which is what Minecraft would look like if Square-Enix made it and did it back in '95. This is a boss character, and it has the simplest and coolest feature: His bottom opens up and dumps stuff out.
Okay okay, hear me out: It's cool because it's just like defeating a boss in a game! You kill 'em and items drop! You can actually make him drop items!
...fine, well I thought it was cool. He comes with said items for figures I didn't get, yet. I don't want to get too into this, but it DOES ignite a fire in me that I wasn't aware of. How cool would it be to get old NES and SNES figures like this of the early Final Fantasy games? All blocky 'n stuff. I'd buy it.
Ran into these at random, at a Gamestop; they're "Action Vinyls" by a company called The Loyal Subjects. Shredder and Raph are from window-boxed versions (meaning, you can see which one you're getting in the package). Only catch is that they're "toon colored." It sorta works, but the turtles are WAY too bright. Raph is basically wearing pink, which is rad, but also not really Raph-like. It does glow in the blacklight, though! Casey Jones is from the blind-boxed ones, which are comic-colored. I haven't found them often enough to get more, but I'd like to. Seems like The Loyal Subjects are also gona be working on Power Rangers in a similar style, so I'm looking forward to that and anything else they get their hands on.
Keeping in the TMNT vein: I got some Minimates of the current toon versions. I'm not really into Minimates, but I'll make exceptions for certain characters: I wanted Shredder. The Minimates folks are apparently under contract to make these into blind-bagged figures, BUT....the contract didn't say anything about making keychains, so they packaged the same figures with little lanyards and in the standard Minimate two-packs, just labeling them as keychains. You can slide the lanyard off the neck and you've got normal Minimates!
Finally, with TMNT: After Christmas, Target stocked these mix-and-match figures! Everyone is doing the mix-and-match thing, recently, and that is in no way a bad thing. I love that kind of feature, and it works pretty well here! The limbs are all attached by ball joints and you can swap whatever you like in terms of arms, legs, and heads. I'll probably spotlight these guys, so I'll talk about them more at a later time.
New Transformers are taking thier sweet time right now, so I keep checking Targets and TRUs to no avail. TRU popped out these two recently, but I haven't been able to catch anything from the new Combiner Wars line beyond Thundercracker, on the right.
On the other hand: This new animated series that Bumblebee is from has got some nice looking figures! Bumblebee is pretty freakin' cool, and I actually have to suggest giving him a shot. He transforms easily without being too simple, and he has a SWORD! It's translucent! ...I'm not the only one that bought him because of that, am I?
Above, you read that I was in a trade with my buddy Heli (who sent me the Kamen Rider Fourze series). This is that trade! He nabbed the Wal-Mart exclusives for me, which are repaints of two old Beast Wars figures (the triceratops never came over here, I believe) and a repaint of an old Energon toy, in current Grimlock colors. I've got a soft spot for that Cruellock mold. The other two are just an easy way for me to get more Beast Wars! I loved that line, and I feel like a lot of the molds from those days could stand the test of time. I wish they still reused some of those molds, and I'm glad they did that here.
They each came with a little Transformer that is pretty much extra. Neat extras, but extras all the same.
This is an Action Master! I explained them in the old Shockwave post. I love these things, despite being Robots Undisguised. They're Transformers that don't transform! But also G.I. Joe sized robots, so they're naturally going to grab my attention. The one above is the very first one I ever had, though, at the time, I thought he was Optimus Prime. I carried him around in my pocket and called him "Ziggy" (after the little hand-held computer in Quantam Leap...my Mom was a big fan, so I watched it with her, a lot). I believe I used him as little helper buddy who would analyze things during....whatever me and my friends were imagining for the day. He met his end when I left him at a friends house, came back the next day, and found little red pieces all over the place, thanks to his dog. A familiar end, given the fact that grew up with dogs myself.
All this time and I didn't bother tracking him down, until now! So Ziggy is back, though I don't think he'll be tagging along in my pocket anymore.
Still sort of Transformers related....and superhero related. Also Dr. Who related? This is Death's Head, and he is a universe hopper and cult-favorite (unless I'm mistaken, and he has a larger following than I thought?). I assume he's one of those who-the-heck-is-that figures. I ran into him on the Transformers Wiki and learned about his involvement in various universes. I am a big fan of dimension hopping, so I took to him immediately. I'm glad he's popular enough to get a figure, finally, though I do hope we see his original version, someday (maybe in the Transformers Mashers line?)
Clear Predator! I've spoken about the ReAction line in previous Schwag Brags; this is another one. I don't now why I just got the clear one and none of the normal ones. I'm sorta into this idea, and sorta not. Depends on who it is. I'll usually make exceptions for clear or translucent things, though....so there we are.
Whoo boy, NECA is doing an amazing job bringing back nostalgia-ridden stuff like this. They're recreating old Kenner Predator figures, coloring figures in crazy colors to match old video games (whether or not the games were any good) and generally having a good 'ol time rolling around in our childhoods and seeing what sticks.
These are T-800 Endoskeletons painted up to look like the ones you fight in the Robocop Vs Terminator game for the SNES. I was terrible at it and could barely get past the first level, so no nostalgia there. But that bronze endoskeleton! Kenner produced a gold endoskeleton that looked a lot like that, so I knew I had to get this one, even if NECA ends up getting to the Kenner Terminator 2 stuff. Plus: I like skeletons and robots and have always loved those endoskeletons from Terminator, so this was a solid buy. They're a little...fragile-feeling, but not terrible. I am amazed at the articulation they pack in, but many of the joints on the legs are connected to the pelvis via tiny pistons and pegs, which have a tendency to pop off if you bend 'em the right way. Just things to look out for.
Hey, it's my two Vaders! Well, one is actually Vader, while the other was my stand-in Vader, back in the day. When my family would go to my Uncle's on holidays, I'd end up playing with my cousin's vast collection of old Star Wars toys. The only problem was that he lacked Vader, because his broke years ago. I replaced Vader with the Tie Fighter Pilot, for obvious reasons. He's still special to me, because of this.
Anyway: This is more of the Black Series of 6 inch figures. Vader is AWESOME, though I've seen people point out that his helmet is inaccurate. I can see it, when it's pointed out to me, but this figure was much too fun to play with for me to care. I'm just impressed it worked out so well (though, I agree that the helmet needs work in form and function. It doesn't always sit flush with the bottom of his mask). The coolest thing is these little pieces of canvas that were sewed into the corners of his cape, allowing the fabric to actually drape over him in a realistic fashion! This is a first, for me: I've never had a real cloth cape sit SO WELL on a toy. I think that's what makes me love this figure so much, besides all the articulation working perfectly to his advantage. Beyond some hiccups with the helmet, he's seriously the best the 6-inch line has to offer in terms of playability.
The Tie Pilot is cool too, of course! There isn't a whole lot getting in the way of his articulation, save for the helmet tubes, and even those don't get in the way too much.
More Rangers! On the left is a cool silver wolf guy, the center is the current iteration of Power Rangers, called Dino Charge (yes, they're back to dinosaurs), and the last guy is - to the US - an Alien Ranger (Zach helped me out by finding one in the wild, frozen tundra of Canada, since no one wants to stock new ones around here). They have a cool, simple style that I liked, back in the day. I'm glad they remade at least one of them, because I think it's my favorite figure yet.
These two are the selected badguys for the current Dino Charge rangers to beat on (because every Ranger line must have at least a million rangers and one to two enemies). The Japanese oni looking guy is the recurring badguy that the main badguy sends down (like Goldar) and the totally awesome white thing on the side is....equivalent to the Putty. Yes, THOSE are the main grunts that the Rangers beat on in every episode. Can you believe it? That poor sucker is way too totally metal to have his ass handed to him every episode.
Oh, and speaking of totally metal:
I don't normally talk about video games (beyond the Christmas stuff and toys from video games) but they made a new Guilty Gear game and MAN it rocks, so far. They made some 3D rendered graphics that look and move like the old 2D sprites. You feel like you're playing an old Guilty Gear, but then it seamlessly zooms in and turns the camera angle for certain attacks and it's just....ahhh man, it's awesome. OH, it's a fighting game, in case you didn't know. A totally metal fighting game.
And hey, still on the subject of metal: Kamen Rider Drive! It's the current Kamen Rider series with a car theme that would normally bore me, but it's somehow drawing me in, design wise. They all have a sort of musical theme to them, and the guy on the far right - Machine Chaser - is METAL. He's metal looking, metal themed, and his little gun (break gunner) even speaks in a deep gravely voice when you plug in the power-ups. These are G.I. Joe sized figures in candy boxes (boxed toy with a little piece of candy; a common thing in Japan). VERY cool, and I suggest getting Machine Chaser even if you know nothing about Kamen Rider. He's just awesome.
Okay, one last Rider thing:
SO MUCH FRUIT ARMOR. From Kamen Rider Gaim - they all have swappable fruit-themed armor. I swear I'll go more into it later with a nice wrap up of how me and Zach got into Kamen Rider out of friggin' nowhere. For now: Know that I have amassed so much Kamen Rider stuff. Oh man.
The final peice today, is from the current Robo Force line, by Toyfinity. They've been making Glyos compatible Robo Force figures for a bit, now, but this is the first time one of them has been fully painted to match the original figure of Maxx Steele. It's really cool to get 'em like this, and it forces me to keep him as-is, since I keep buying Robo Force stuff and keep ripping them apart to build my own things. This one gets to be Maxx, finally! (...though his extra parts will go elsewhere).
ALRIGHT! Finished and all caught up, so to speak. Time to get back to regular reviews, folks. See you there!