23 Jul 2014

Incredible teasers from Hot Toys and Sideshow in the lead up to SDCC 2014!!!!

Wow, have the past couple of weeks been an absolute rollercoaster of one nerdgasm after another!!! Just check out these teaser pics from Hot Toys and Sideshow Collectibles!! It's a frickin great time to be a collector for sure!!

Sideshow started off with their teaser for their own version of C-3PO. That was expected now that they've got their new Artoo Deluxe figure coming in December, but there was always the doubt since Tamashii Nations had released perhaps the definitive Threepio in their diecast version. Either way, I'm glad Sideshow are doing their own, and hopefully the paint app holds up to the high standards we now expect in this scale!



Sideshow then continued the Star Wars OT goodness with the teaser for Pilot Luke from A New Hope. Again, it was expected that Sideshow would do this pilot version after they released their Bossk figure. The pilot outfits are pretty similar, but it will be awesome to see it in this orange version. This also opens up the door for many other pilot characters too. I just hope their headsculpt and paint app continues to improve and close that gap to Hot Toys.



After Sideshow released the Sandtrooper deluxe and the Snowtrooper, I expected them to quickly announce the Biker Scout. If they had released it in 2013, it would've tied in beautifully with the 30th anniversary of Return of the Jedi. But there was no announcement, and that milestone was missed. But now Sideshow has finally revealed their Scout Trooper figure, and it looks pretty damn good!!



And you can't have the Biker Scout with his bike, so they also teased the new 1/6th scale Speeder Bike too!! The photo in the teaser doesn't really show any sort of weathering on the paint app, so I hope the final product has some better detailing for added realism. I'm sure it'll look incredible together with the Biker Scout.



And to top it off, Sideshow then announced their version of the TIE Pilot!! Medicom had released their version a couple of years ago, but I steered away from Medicom due to various bad reports on QC and scaling. So I always held out hope for Sideshow to do one, and here it is!!! I just hope this paves the way for a new Stormtrooper 2.0, since I need at least 3 classic Stormtroopers in my collection!! :)



Now, if anyone does teasers better than Sideshow, it has to be Hot Toys. They teased this pic quite a while back on their upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy line of figures, and each one of them looks incredible! I don't really have an affinity to the comics, and doubt I'll love the movie enough to buy the whole team, so I'll pass on these. But the recent pics of the Groot and Rocket set, and just today of Star-Lord really show Hot Toys will knock these out of the park!



And hot on the heels of their 1/12th scale announcement of The Dark Knight Rises Bat, they pretty much shocked everyone with this teaser of the helicarrier from The Winter Soldier!! This must be Hot Toys branching out into other scales now to capture some of the incredible vehicles in the Marvel universe. It will be interesting to see what size/scale this turns out to be!



Then just the other day Hot Toys posted this long awaited reveal for the Arkham City Batman. Fans have been waiting, hoping, and praying for this Batman ever since Hot Toys showed a teaser of accessories around two years ago! I'll pass, but I'm definitely happy for all the Batman fans who've waited for this. There are concerns that the suit will be made from rubber, which may lead to cracking in the future. But we'll just have to wait for more photos to be released before really knowing how the figure will be made.



And then now to the two huge announcements from Hot Toys just today!!! I'm not a huge Iron Man fan, but think the first movie is the best a comic book movie is probably ever going to get. And so if there was ever an Iron Man figure I'd have in my collection, it would be the Mark 3 from that movie.

The original release of the figure now goes for absolutely insane aftermarket prices on ebay, so once Hot Toys started releasing Iron Man related diecast figures, I always held out hope for a diecast version of either the Mark 3 or the Mark 4 suit.

And today, Hot Toys delivered with this incredible announcement of the diecast Mark 3. And just look at what you get!! I absolutely LOVE that arc reactor exclusive accessory representing the present given by Pepper. And the fact the suit to me conveys the classic look of Iron Man better than the others pretty much seals the deal! Day one preorder for me!!



And lastly, the biggest, most exciting news I've had for a long time!! So many collectors, myself included, have longed for Back to the Future figures from Hot Toys, and they teased the logo over two years ago. But ever since then it has been silence, until today's huge announcement.

And just look at all the accessories, the head sculpt, the outfit, and of course the teaser of Marty standing with one foot in the Delorean!!! YES, the frickin DELOREAN!!!! Back to the Future is one of my all time favourite movies, and this will be another day one preoder. I will go through hell and back just to get that exclusive guitar version of this figure!!!



So there you have some of my thoughts on the recent announcements from Hot Toys and Sideshow. I couldn't be more excited to see what is actually shown at SDCC this coming weekend. If all of these are actually on display, I think my head might explode!! ;)


UPDATE!!!!
Hot Toys looks to be going CRAZY tonight!!! Their latest teaser is of this strange Optimus Prime figure that has the option of wearing the remains of Starscream!?!? Where/how did they get that idea??? I don't like how it looks with the gear on, but the figure alone in its basic form does look pretty good. I'll have to wait and see more pics of this to make a call on it. But wow Hot Toys - what an incredible night of reveals!!!




12 Jul 2014

Kotobukiya Star Wars Bishoujo Mara Jade

I reviewed my first Kotobukiya Bishoujo Star Wars statue in Jaina Solo recently. The Jaina Solo was actually released over a year ago, but when I saw the teaser for the Mara Jade statue, I had to get both. I received both together, but the statue had a scratch on it that annoyed me, so I asked for a replacement.

I'm happy to report that the replacement is pretty much perfect, so finally had the chance to take some decent photos and write up the full review here. Read on for more details on this absolutely stunning statue! :)

Packaging:
The packaging is no surprise, and follows the same black/gun metal Star Wars design as other related Star Wars products. I'm still a little confused as to why these Star Wars statues are labelled with both Bishoujo and ArtFX designations, since I thought they were totally separate lines. If anyone knows why, please enlighten me!


The box art is pretty stock standard too, with various photos of the statue, and of course the amazing prototype Bishoujo artwork by renowned artist Shunya Yamashita. This is one statue that I believe well and truly lives up to, and exceeds, the beauty of the artwork.



Assembly:
Similar to many Kotobukiya statues these days, some assembly is required, but is not overly difficult. The right gloved hand needs to be inserted into the arm. The left "force push" arm, right up to the wrap around her bicep area, also needs to be inserted. Unlike the Jaina Solo assembly, the arms on Mara Jade were very easy to insert.



A choice of two lightsabers is provided, with the purple being my favourite. Placing the hilt into her hand is a little tight, but no real issue. Regardless, I love the fact that she has the option of being displayed as a Jedi, or as one with the Dark Side - a girl gone bad is just that little bit sexier for me :)

The base art comes with the respective Rebel and Imperial insignia, of which I chose the latter. Inserting her feet into the base is very easy, and I love how the clear plastic doesn't distract any attention away from her high-heeled boots.

And what lovely boots they are! I mean, they cover the longest legs leading up to......the best damn ass in the galaxy!! But more on that later :)


There's no assembly required for the pistol in its holster. It is unfortunate though that it is not removeable, as that would've been a nice extra touch. But it still looks great, as does the brown leather look of the holster and belt.


Here's a look at the other accessories that come with the statue. The blue lightsaber is nice enough, but I think the purple just has that extra presence on display. The cape itself is quite nicely molded and painted, with nice flowing lines and great shading. The goggles aren't particularly great though.

As you can see from the photo above, I chose to simply use the small scarf around her neck that pegs in just at the top of her chest. The display options include also adding the goggles, but I thought that looked a little too busy, and I didn't like the way the googles sat on her chest.

Also the full cape can be used instead of the scarf. It looks great from the front, and matches the prototype artwork. But it covers the best feature of this statue, and so I decided against using it :)



And what's the best feature of this statue you might ask? Well.....DAT ASS of course!!! Here's the gratuitous closeup :)



Statue:
I loved the Jaina Solo statue for its playful pose and just gorgeous facial features. But this Mara Jade takes all that to the next level and beyond!! The pose here perfectly conveys that strong force push dynamic pose in the artwork.

One of my favourite features has to be the red hair, and how it's sculpting is various shades of transluscent red/orange plastic. From all angles the hair is just outstanding, and it frames another beautiful Bishoujo face from Kotobukiya. The paint app on the skin is again flawless - I love the creamy smoothness and subtle shading.


The outfit itself is also beautifully done, with lots of different textures, molded details, and different shades of blues that accentuate that gorgeous female figure. The knee high boots are painted in a more metallic style that make them stand out from the more matt-like finish of the body suit.

The brown paint app on the belt and her shoulder/back harness is nicely done too. I love how the belt lays on her hips, with the holster slung to the side.

And how could I not mention her derriere once again! If there was any statue or figure that I would want to display facing the opposite direction, it would be this one! She looks every bit as amazing from the rear as she does from the front, if not more so! But really, this statue is pretty damn awesome no matter which way you look at her!


For me, this is another home run for Kotobukiya in the Bishoujo line. I haven't been collecting their statues for very long, but in the short space of time that I have, I can safely say that there is no other company that makes statues of such quality at such an affordable price!

Together with Jaina Solo, these two look simply stunning. I cannot wait to see who they announce to be next in the Star Wars Bishoujo line (uhh, Slave Leia pretty please!). I just hope they don't take another year or so to release the next one! Most highly recommended!



For the full video review, head on over to the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel! The link to the video is below, so I hope you can check it out, subscribe, like, and comment with your own thoughts! :)



If you're looking to get into Kotobukiya statues, look no further than Big Bad Toy Store! You can order directly from them via the link HERE! They ship worldwide, so definitely check them out! :)



Transformers Masterpiece Official Guide!!

Wow!! Looks like in Japan they will be releasing the Transformers Masterpiece Official Guide! Not sure what the content will be though. I'd really only be interested if they included artwork or special behind the scenes look at the design process and prototype designs.

Not sure if there'll be an English version either. But still, that cover is just amazing!!! It's so awesome that by the end of 2014, we'll be able to recreate that setup in our own collections! Can't wait :)



6 Jul 2014

Kotobukiya Star Wars Bishoujo Jaina Solo

Well, I started the Bishoujo line of statues with Chun-Li from Street Fighter, and then the first couple of movie relates statues in Agent G from Men In Black and Lucy from Ghostbusters. Now the addiction has extended to the Star Wars line of Bishoujos. Luckily there's only two statues released so far with Jaina Solo and Mara Jade!

Jaina Solo was actually released quite a while ago around January 2013. Considering the new Mara Jade statue has only just been released around May 2014, I really hope that's not the wait until the next Star Wars Bishoujo, because these statues are AWESOME!

Read on for more details on this gorgeous statue! :)

Packaging:
After seeing the previous box art from the Bishoujo line, I was actually a little disappointed in the boring standard black/grey Star Wars styling of this statue. I guess Lucasfilm is dictating a standard look across all figures/statues, since the Sideshow figures come in this style too.



The back has the usual blurb with photos of the statue. The big standout for me with these Bishoujos is always the prototype artwork on which the statues are based. Luckily the original artwork is still shown on the back, with a larger version on the side of the box. Love the playful nature of the pose, and it has translated well to the statue.



Assembly:
Some minor assembly is required, and it does get a little scary. The top and bottom halves are separated, and join together fairly easily. At first the white hip area did not fit in perfectly with the orange lower half, but the instructions do suggest using a hairdryer to warm up the pieces. After doing so, I was able to push the top and bottom halves of the body together for a perfect fit that showed no seams.


The scary part was actually attaching the left and right forearms. Both forearms are gloved, and her hands hold the helmet and the flight vest. Since these parts do seem fairly delicate, it's hard getting a decent grip to push them into the upper arms and click in. Again I used the hairdryer, and then with more effort this time they both clicked in. But I would still be very careful where you put your fingers, as I was quite worried I was going to snap or break something off from her hands.


For the stand, you just insert her feet into the knobs on the stand that fit nicely around her slightly heeled shoes. It's a solid grip and very stable. The stand also comes with two plastic inserts, one with just the Star Wars logo, and the other with what I assume to be her squadron insignia. I chose that one since it's a little more colourful.

The final item to attach is the lightsaber. The artwork actually has her tossing the lightsaber into the air, but of course that's impossible for a statue, so they have a fairly good compromise. The pinky finger on her right hand has a tiny knob, which can be inserted into a tiny hole in the bottom of the hilt. With some adjustment, the lightsaber can then be positioned in a similar way to the artwork tossing the lightsaber.


Statue:
Once all put together, she looks absolutely gorgeous! I don't think I've ever really been disappointed with a Kotobukiya paint app before, and this is no exception. The Bishoujo skin tone is incredible, giving a clear but almost luminescent style to the face and arms.

The head sculpt, from her beautiful facial features to her tousled hair, is fantastic. This truly does personify the Bishoujo title meaning "beautiful girl".


The detailing on the helmet is also nice, with sharp details and very little paint bleed. Even the orange plastic on the visor looks great.

The flight vest has also the molded detail you'd expect, but it does look a little bland with so much grey. I would've preferred a little splash of red or yellow, but it's still pretty nice.


The molding on her outfit is really nicely done and painted. The white torso is cute, and I love the pose with the orange outer layer splayed down her sides. Playful, and yet totally sexy.


The variations in orange to accent the folds in the material is done realistically, and looks great from all angles. Even her boots are nicely molded, with nice details all around.

The lightsaber too is nicely detailed, and actually looks like a cleaner paint app than Sideshow (eg. the Yoda lightsaber). However, it still doesn't match the beautifully detailed paint work of Hot Toys (eg. DX07 Luke lightsaber), but at this price point it's still pretty awesome.


Overall, this is a fantastic addition to any statue collection, especially if you're a Star Wars fan. I already collect the 6" Black Series and 1/6th scale figures from Hot Toys and Sideshow, so didn't feel the need to get the other Kotobukiya Star Wars statues.

But this Bishoujo line gives something a little different, with characters that aren't straight out of movies, but are inspired by them. They're gorgeous to look at, and really do stand out when placed together in a collection. I can't wait to get more of them soon :)




For the full video review, head on over to the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel! The link to the video is below, so I hope you can check it out, subscribe, like, and comment with your own thoughts! :)



If you're looking to get into Kotobukiya statues, look no further than Big Bad Toy Store! They ship worldwide, so definitely check them out! :)