30 Apr 2016

Asmus Toys Lord of the Rings Aragorn

I had held off on getting into the Asmus Toys 1/6th scale Lord of the Rings figures because I had heard some back things about their quality in some of the earlier figures. But gradually I heard some decent things, and their Aragorn got some fairly decent feedback.

So after talking to some collectors who also had the figure, then assured me it was worth the purchase. I read that there was an "exclusive" version that came with an extra screaming head sculpt, and it looked like Big Bad Toy Store still had it in stock. So I took the plunge and made the order.

And I am definitely glad that I did! I have not been this impressed with an overall 1/6th scale figure package in a very long time! The amount of accessories and overall quality of the costume and headsculpt make this one helluva value for money proposition!

Click through below to see my full video review of this great figure. Scroll on down for more pics and thoughts :)



The packaging is really nice with some great photos of the character from the movie and the figure itself. The figure is housed in similar foam to that used in previous Hot Toys DX figures, and the overall presentation is very high-end.



Once you get everything out of the box, you're sure to be impressed with the amount of stuff included! The diorama base is a definite highlight for me, with gorgeous felt moss that really give it a realistic texture and look.

The array of accessories is immense, with good quality throughout too. The blades are metal, the cloak is thin yet poseable, and the travel bags have great fake-leather look and feel. Even the bow has an awesome rubbery string that really helps in action poses with him drawing back on it.



With so many things to place on the figure, it does take a while and a lot of patience to get things to sit well on the figure. Tying the sword sheath, quiver, and travel bags on the figure, and then trying to get the cloak and cape to drape nicely certainly took time.

With some advice from collectors I managed to get things arrange in a way that I liked, and posed up on the great diorama base. All setup, it certainly carries a lot of presence on display.

One area of course that troubled many was the accuracy of the head sculpt. The alternative open mouthed sculpt is pretty bad, but the standard one does look much better. The forehead is a little high, but from most angles he doesn't have too much of a cone-headed look. In fact, after heating up the hair and pushing it down a bit, I managed to improve it slightly to my liking. The paint app on the face itself is certainly not to Hot Toys standard, but is definitely on par if not slightly better than most from Sideshow.



In the end, if you're a fan of Lord of the Rings and collect 1/6th scale figures, I highly recommend this figure. Now that Merry and Pippen have been released, Gandalf the Grey is up for preorder, and Asmus have teased Legolas, it appears they will make the entire Fellowship. So I for one am all in now for the Fellowship figures from Asmus!

Get yours from BBTS at the links below! :)

Asmus Toys LOTR Aragorn

Asmus Toys LOTR Merry and Pippen

23 Apr 2016

Hot Toys MMS324 First Order TIE Pilot

Probably my last Hot Toys trooper from The Force Awakens, and it's a good one with this new TIE Pilot. Not perfect, especially the damn rigid plastic breathing hose, but other than that it's pretty nice!

Click through below for my full video review over on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel! :)



Packaging is the usual classy style, with the carboard insert artwork as nice as always.




Compared to the previous Sideshow classic original trilogy TIE Pilot, I have to say I actually prefer the Sideshow figure. But either way, both figures look great on display and should make Star Wars fans pretty happy!



16 Apr 2016

Transformers Masterpiece MP-29 Shockwave and MP-11NR Ramjet

Recently got the two new Transformers Masterpiece figures in MP-29 Shockwave (or Laserwave as he's known in Japan) and MP-11NR Ramjet. Both have divided the opinion of collectors, but for me I love both of them!

Check out the links below to see my full video reviews of both figures over on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel :)

MP-29 Shockwave



MP-11NR Ramjet



Both come in the usual classy Takara MP box art, with Shockwave coming with the collector coin too. This time unfortunately a coin was not included with Ramjet for some reason. The other  exclusives in Skywarp and Thundercracker both had coins, so I was a little disappointed that Ramjet missed out.





Many collectors have complained about the colour and size of Shockwave, and perhaps the well-received 3rd party Fans Toys Quakewave skewed the expectations on the official MP. But when you compare the figure against the colour and scale from the original G1 cartoon, you'll find that it's actually very accurate! Shockwave was not taller than Starscream or Soundwave from the screenshots that I've seen, and the figure scales pretty closely to that (as you can see in some of the group shots below).

The transformation sequence is pretty simply, with my "Masterpiece Moment" definitely being the all-in-one transformation of the front of the gun to the backpack. The use of the long diecast steel centre pole that connects all that together is a nice bit of engineering. It's a little bit of partsforming to use the base in gun mode to finish off the backpack in purple, but that's not really needed. Either way, I think the figure looks fantastic, with a colour that is nice. Perhaps a tad shade darker would've been good, but the way it is it just fits in nicely with the others anyway.



Ramjet is a heavy retool of the current MP-11 mold, but the changes make all the difference! There is a bit of parts forming to allow the conversion of the null rays in bot mode to being the fatter cluster bombs in jet mode. But for me that's a great compromise to achieve that cheat from the cartoon in a real world toy.

The cheat in the conehead too is also nicely done, and I love the face sculpt and paint app. The dark grey gun metal looks fantastic. The overall proportions of the body also seem pretty accurate to the cartoon. Some collectors have complained that he looks too chunky with large knee pads, but that's exactly how he looked in the cartoon! So again, I'm definitely glad Takara went that route with the figure.



The alt mode transformation is pretty straight forward, although the small red sections of the wing near the front was quite scary the first time. Bending those down definitely feel fragile, so be very careful there.

But once done, the mold difference from the standard MP-11 jet mode looks fantastic. The ability for the wings and arms to tab into each other properly did raise a manufacturing issue with the figure though.



I was lucky that mine had correctly assembled shoulders. But there are many reports of incorrectly assembled shoulders that prevent the wings and arms tabbing into each other correctly in jet mode. Robotkingdom posted the photo below showing the difference between correct and incorrect shoulders.

You'll see that on the correct version, the shoulder plate that connects the arm to the torso has a longer section facing the front of the figure, and the shorter section at the rear. But on the incorrectly assembled version, the plate has been reversed so that the short section is facing the front. This causes the misalignment with the wings during transformation.

If you have a bad one, I'd definitely be contacting your retailer for a replacement.



Overall, these two new MPs are a fantastic addition to the MP Decepticon ranks. They've always been outnumbered by the Autobots, but this levels the playing field at least a little.



Of course the glaring omission that Takara still hasn't resolved is a new Megatron in this scale. It annoys me no end that they are dragging their feet on this. I do have the X-Transbots Apollyon, but it just doesn't feel right until an official version is done! Here's hoping it is announced in 2016! In the meantime, I'll just have to enjoy these awesome bad guys without their leader for now :)



9 Apr 2016

2016 Quarter 1 Collection Update video

It's the start of April now, so I figured it was time to do another quarterly collection update video! Hope you can check out all the stuff that I've picked up over the past 3 months or so :)


Make sure to subscribe to the channel and stay tuned for all the upcoming reviews this year :)

Lego Ultimate Collector Series UCS X-wing

Playing catchup on the website yet again! Here's my video going over the Lego UCS X-wing that I built over the recent Easter long weekend :)


A beautiful set for sure, and a definite upgrade over the older model from 2000.