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Friday, November 30, 2012

League Assignment: Shelf Expression!

From the mind of Cool and Collected: Post a photo of a shelf of items that displays your love for pop culture.

Gonna focus on 2 shelves...wanted to do the Joes but it's about half the room so I decided to take a look at the Kenner Star Wars shelf (the first shelf I installed in the toy room/office) and my favorite on a personal level.   It's still a work in progress but is by far the one I'm closest to completing...only 9 '85 POTF figures left to get...11 counting Yak Face and Blue Snag
Next is my more Assignment appropriate shelves showing a bit more diversity...this little shelf gets the most rotation but is currently packed with video games, smaller G1 Transformers, Battle Beasts and Legos.  I threw in some closeups to highlight the small but growing set of BB's who actually have weapons...I swear, there's nothing quite like the feeling of reuniting a lone figure with a new accessory.  It's like having a full inventory in a Zelda game.

 Just added the Windcharger, Tailgate and Yellow Cliffjumper to the G1's yesterday!  Great new additions!  I also think Frodo and Sam fit well with my Castle Legos...and Landspeeder.

 Some rank and files Beasts looking sharp.  Haven't even thought about the Laser Beasts yet and I think that's for the better...for now.

Take a look at some fellow Leaguesters who caught my eye...

Dork Dimension blows my mind with Aliens, Zombies and MAD BALLS!

Reis at the Lair combines Big Boy and Rat Fink...a wonderful combination in any respect.

Random Nerdness has a nice MOTU setup...there's a series that absolutely needs to be set up right to look good and this guy does it well.

Oh hell, stop by the League and check out the rest.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Star Wars figure review and compare: AT-AT Commander - General Veers

Today we're taking a look at a true evolution in all forms of the particularly short-lived but immensely popular Empire Strikes Back character, General Maximilian Veers.

Originally released in 1980 under the cardback name: "AT-AT Commander" with no particular nod to the only AT_AT Hoth Commander we ever see in the film, we can only assume this commander is based on the likeness and character of General Veers, one of the only ranking officers who isn't killed by Darth Vader in the Empire Strikes Back.

The end of "General Veers"

Clearly this was a character whose original figure simply lacked in giving a proper treatment.  The fans knew better.  He has an extensive backstory and made it into numerous novelizations including the Clone wars, the Thrawn saga and finally meeting his untimely demise when forced to conduct a suicide mission in the Dark Empire II series where his apparent closeness to the later despised Lord Vader leads him to be demoted to the rank of Captain and to be forced to carry out the insane orders of Executor Sedriss.

They gave some random alien you barely see in the film a toy likeness with the size and color wrong but didn't include ME????  Terminate them, immediately!

If you think about it, Kenner really had no love for the Imperial officer corps.  You never see an olive uniformed naval commander.  You never get a Grand Moff Tarkin (A New Hope's main villain!) or the popular characters of Admiral Piett, Admiral Motti, Moff Jerjerrod, Chief Bast, Captain Needa, or Admiral Ozzell.  I'm not looking for a swarm of officers but one or two would have been nice. Instead you get rather generic personifications of a black uniformed (ANH) commander or the likes of the above mentioned figure.  Some is better than none I suppose.

Figure wise, he's kinda bare bones basic.  Blank expression, tiny disproportionate head inside a tinier helmet with molded on goggles, armor that is also way too small with a way too dark paint job and a Bespin model blaster.  Considering the detail we see in some other ESB figures, this guy could have used more work and he seems very "cranked out" production-wise.  I never even owned him as a kid and he was a later buy to complete the set.  I'd much rather the AT-ST driver figures with the sleek jumpsuits and to scale panzer inspired helmets.

Anyway, he's done let's move on.  Luckily, Hasbro did not continue in this line.  Granted, their late 90's POTF figure was a little ridiculous as most of them were.  By 2006, they got their act together by the time the Saga edition of the properly named "General Veers" was released.  He is a great figure with some great artwork on the cardback, a nice domed bubble  and flat, sturdy bottom to display him properly on card with a great production still of the AT-AT on the attack in the background with a good shot of Julian Glover in the costume in all its glory on the forefront.  (Side note: Did you know he was also the Nazi Party member Walter Donovan in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and his character was also voiced in the game "Force Commander" by Guy Siner who played a Nazi Officer on the BBC comedy "Allo, Allo!")

Included in this figure is a removable helmet and molded on black goggles as well as a removable breastplate.  I love this figure the most because he comes with a normal Imperial uniform and has a peaked officers cap molded onto his head so you can have him for the scenes on the Super Star Destroyer or in Vader's ready room. Also included is a nice blue holographic Veers figure which can be used for the holographic communication scenes.  Bravo, Hasbro for doing some homework and giving proper attention to the fans.

Hasbro comes back at it in the Vintage Collection Wave 1 with another incredibly hard to find figure.  Again titled "AT-AT commander" in 2010, Hasbro reverts back to making this character more generic and gives him more of a Captain Needa looking face with a pointed chin and younger facade.  The early 2006 Saga figure looks way more like Julian Glover.  Then again, this figure may have been intentionally made to look generic as to promote buying multiple figures to command multiple AT-AT's...hell you could always switch heads with a clone trooper and make him a clone AT-AT commander since the helmet and armor is again removable.  (Great touch, can't say that enough). He has more ball jointed (16 points of articulation) features than his 2006 counterpart (I think 5 or 6),  In the painting department, he is well painted but I feel not a single figure nailed the true colors based on the promotional shots. In the classic shot, he has a very light uniform and a darker chest-plate.  For that shot, I feel the 2010 model nails the uniform and the 2006 model hits the armor properly.  In his film clips where his uniform looks much darker I think the 2006 version is closest while the 1980 version is way too dark and the 2010 version is way too light.

No matter how you slice it, for display purposes, the 2006 edges out the competition but all three are great additions to any collection especially if you are a fan of the creator of the AT-AT.

Monday, November 12, 2012

League Assignment: What if?

“What if…? — Write an alternate turn of events for a pop culture storyline.” ~ from none other than Cool and Collected as per usual.

What if...Carter Burke's plan worked in Aliens?

This...assuming his horribly flawed plan worked to somehow impregnate Ripley and Newt with the xenomorph facehuggers and, again somehow, allow the space marines to put the ladies into a hypersleep chamber.  This would be depending on impossible chance that facehuggers did not fall off allowing Ripley to warn everyone about Burke's intention to capture the xenomorphs after he just gave her a massive motive and direct admission to leading the colonists from the derelict spacecraft to the station to procure these monsters for profit which effectively destroyed said station and killed all said colonists.  He also would need to know that Ripley wouldn't try to kill herself and/or Newt out of desperation from having the event which severely scarred her and traumatized her into psychosis actually happen to her. This hypersleep also would take place on the U.S.S. Sulaco, a military ship mind you, from where Burke would  somehow bypass a military safety net and sabotage the remaining colonial marines' (Who already don't trust him and who are still in command of the mission from Corporal Hick downward) hibernation chambers and dismantle the Bishop synthetic who most likely doesn't need to sleep and would probably be alert to any medical emergency...AND then depend on the ladies not bursting, dying and then spawning two Aliens that again somehow would not kill Burke, the boarding party or destroying and crashing the ship. (which also somehow has to autopilot its way back to the Weyland-Yutani labs on Earth)  Bob Loblaw, you sir are a mouthful!

Honestly, I never put that much thought into this and just this second shot that many holes in this guys plan but then, it's not about the plan but the destination to said plan, right?

Carter Burke successfully gets the Alien xenomorphs off the ship, Weyland-Yutani managed to harvest them, breed them, clone them, militarize them and we see all of these varieties of Aliens being used for population control and fitted with almost like a lysine contingency where Weyland Yutani scientists could cut off their food supply or basic cellular replenishing enzyme and the aliens would die once depraved of what they were engineered to need.  Being let loose in prisons, sectors of areas where the population was expendable, sent into unwinnable combat zones...the ultimate bio-weapon which you could kill off as needed. 

Weyland at first would play it off as a series of accidents and plead ignorance claiming this was an Alien invasion as they removed the xenomorphs from the Sulaco and then intentionally crashed the ship  onto Earth, blaming the USCM.  The public blames the Marines who are the only immediate force to stop the Aliens leading to lack of faith in these soldiers for hire to cause a demand for new weapons and militarized forces, amply supplied by the folks at Weyland and their partners and subsidiaries.  Weyland becomes an even more dominant force within our sphere as they continue to leak the Alien "infection" onto other systems and colonies and sending soldiers in to fight them off and always win at the last minute as, unbeknown to the public," these Aliens are engineered to die after a certain time.

What Weyland doesn't count on is that there are subversives who have grown desperate from these newly arrived harbingers of the apocalypse.  They feel the entire system needs to be wiped clean and through the study of dead facehuggers and the capture of young chestbursters, cross breeding among various sets of animals making them larger, stronger and faster among other things they are able to engineer their own counter enzymes which cause the Aliens to work independently of the fail safes W-Y put in place.

Soon, the xenomorphs are next to unstoppable.  The world and soon later the surrounding worlds begin falling to near total infestation.  The humans see no choice but to flee Earth which is now on the brink of being overrun however there is one last chance.  A sentient program developed at the end of the previous millennium.  One that was self-aware, automated and able to function without threat of infection.

In the year 2221, on March 15 at 10:35 Eastern time, Skynet re-awakens.  The true war is on.

Random Nerdness wonders how it could have been if Mr. Lucas wasn't so chronologically confused?

Memories of Toymorrow wonders if only Cobra Commander had an accountant besides Tomax and Xamot?

The Goodwill Geek says "screw the borg...the only way Earth is going down starts with a G!"

Head to the League hub to see more as they arrive!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

So...did you see that World War Z trailer??? WARNING, THIS IS A @%#$ing RANT! (there will be profanity)

Hooooooooollllllllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy Hell!  If you want to see it, go to Youtube...I'm not spreading this filth around any more than I have to.  That's right, this is a rant.  WARNING...LANGUAGE! (I normally seldom if never use profanity in my posts...you simply don't need it when talking about GI JOE, Star Wars or Nintendo unless your the AVGN or the guys at Redlettermedia but here...I just don't know.  Btw, the part with explicit language is being done in parody but you tell me if this isn't how Hollywood thinks?  Enjoy!)

Monday, November 5, 2012

League Assignment: Jump the Shark!

After a week off, I hope everyone is rejuvenated and ready for a new assignment from the League of Extraordinary Bloggers…

At what point did a pop culture series “jump the shark” and lose your interest.

I had a little trouble pinpointing any actual true jumpage of sharkage moments but I did put together a list of nail-on-the-head moments for me when franchises I otherwise loved or at least liked officially started their slow slump to suckage.

When Fonzie Jumped the Shark on Happy Days (obviously)

Jaws 3-D

When Home Movies lost the squiggle vision

When Elaine changed her hair on Seinfeld

When Jay and Silent Bob became their own entity

When Hasbro took on the Neon décor in the GI Joe line  (About 1991 and onward)

Once Harry Goz died on Sealab 2021 and was replaced by the Coach to which the show took even more ridiculous (and incrementally unfunny) plot lines. 

When Dr Forrester stopped being the antagonist on MST3K and was replaced by Pearl and Bobo.
When Roseanne hit the lottery. (I dont even count this as a season)

When the Simpsons critique on our times actually reflected how sucky our times were becoming.

When Phil Hartman died and was replaced by the tremendously unfunny pair of Jon Lovitz and Lauren Graham on Newsradio

When New Super Mario Bros Wii came around which somehow marketed a perfect game from 20 years ago and managed to screw up the controls and bring nothing remarkably new to the table on a current gen console and call this "New."  Sorry Nintendo...your New New Mario Wii U looks pretty much like more of the same too.  Not impressed.

Resident Evil 5

The Dead Space 2 Commercial (Your mom’s gonna hate it)…”what?”
Shut up
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

When death’s voice was changed from Norm MacDonald to Adam Carolla on Family Guy

When the Ninja Turtles toy line went to space (along with any other toy line…the true sign they are officially out of ideas) and/or began playing "Wacky" sports...oi.

When Peter Parker married Mary Jane

Whenever any American company tries to remake any British show…Watch the American pilot for “Spaced”…mindnumbingly bad...is it possible to start a show by jumping the shark? You tell me.
When Niles and Daphne got together.

Any Looney Tunes cartoon that has Bill Lava associated with the music... very dated usually associated with cheaper late-60's animation, mostly Speedy Gonzalez and Roadrunner cartoons dealing with Sylvester or Daffy who just become assholes as opposed to funny.

When Tim Burton entered some kind of unholy alliance with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter which simply will not end.

ABC's "One Saturday Morning"...uh-oh....

Let's not forget when Henry Winkler actually jumped the shark (again) on Arrested Development.



Thursday, November 1, 2012

G1 Jetfire Cleanup Project

Hello again readers,

This was our figure right out of the box...pretty banged up.

My buddy and cousin-in-law John (whose G1/He-Man collection I reviewed a while back) has a birthday coming up so his wife sent me a text asking me to track down a bot for his collection.  I had a 25 dollar max which kinda limited me big time since the guys he's looking for a mostly biggies like Shockwave, Megatron, Devastator and Mirage.  Low and behold, I found an in-tact but pretty grundgy looking Jetfire/Skyfire G1 model that he's been after for a while for 27 bucks w/ free shipping. 

When I said grundgy, that wasn't even the half of it.  The pictures on Ebay really didn't do it justice as to how coated in dirt and grime it was.  Stickers were sparse and all in the wrong spots. By the way, what is it with buying used on Ebay that the stickers are always diagonal and hanging off the side of whatever toy you buy?  Did these kids put them on blindfolded at age 2?  I never did this to my toys as a kid! Sheesh.

That poor head.

So, wanting to clean this guy up before my buddy's birthday, I want to get him brought up to snuff with some new, fresh decals.  I put an order in to tfkingdom.com for a set of Jetfire's as well as Blades and Groove for my Protectobots who showed up in the mail 2 weeks ago in less than stellar sticker condition.  Again, these stickers aren't perfect but they get the job done super cheap if you aren't in the price-range for reprolabels.com.  Once ordered I got to work on using an exact-o blade to remove the old messed up decals on the guy and to clean up the over abundance of leftover residue.

After a nice cleaning and polishing

Took forever to get the scrapes off the dome of his head

From there, I gave him a thorough washing with hot water and grease cutting dish detergent which got a ton of the dirt in the cracks off.  A toothbrush and an cue-tip with baby oil did the trick very well.  It also was how I restored all of my Joe vehicles I bought used.  Cuts dust buildup in a flash.  Towel dried the bot and let him air out over night.


Dirt was removed from the cracks and crevices

Then I moved onto detailing for the really built up muck.  I bought some Mr. Clean Magic Erasers and they worked wonders to take off the smudged paint on the aft and dorsal wings and got the heavy gritty buildup on his arms and legs as well as the scratches on the top of his head where the rub sign used to be. This drastically reduced the yellowing from sun and smoke staining however yellow was still present.  (Nothing short of dipping him in Plasti-dip or repainting him was going to get him 100%) 

After the final cleaning and decal application, he's ready to rock!

 Amazing what a few stickers can do, right?

Now he was clean as he was gonna get and luckily the decals arrived.  Decals were placed on today and John's G1 Jetfire is ready to fill his missing ranks.  I hope he likes it!

Now he can start building the armor collection like I have (note I'm still not done...mine needs a right leg set and a blaster clip)