Monday, 29 October 2012

Chloe & Dylan ~ Kinderworld Concert 2013.


When it comes to the annual nursery concert, I wouldn't miss it for the world just to watch my two treasures performing. Close the shop early just to get there in time. This year's concert is comparatively more entertaining...guess that's because of different management now at the nursery. Both Chloe and Dylan really enjoyed themselves - Chloe rocking to a 50s rock and roll songs while Dylan dressed all up as a bee together with Suet Nee. This year also marks the final year Suetch would be at nursery. Next year she would be off to Standard One. Time's going too fast for me...

Hot Toys MMS 69 ~ The Dark Knight : Batmobile (Re-launched Version).


Technical specifications :
  • Length: 15 feet 2 inches (4.62 m)
  • Width: 9 feet 2 inches (2.79 m)
  • height 4 feet 11 inches (1.50 m)
  • Weight: 2.5 short tons (2.3 t)
  • Acceleration: 0-60 in 5.6 seconds.
  • Engine: 5.7 liter GM V8 engine capable of 500 horsepower (370 kW).
  • Fuel: The "jet engine" on the back of the car was fed by propane tanks.
  • Tires: 4 Interco "Super Swamper TSL" tires standing 44/18.5-16.5 in the rear, and two 94.0/15.0-15 Hoosier Checkerboard dirt tires on the front, with superior grip.
Features :
  • Rear flaps to assist brakes.
  • Attack mode, the driver's seat moves to the center of the car, and the driver is repositioned to lie face-down with his head in the center section between the front wheels.
  • Dual front autocannons.
  • Rocket launcher.
  • Landing hook to Sprung landing stabilization.
  • Integrated fire-extinguishing system.
  • Integrated safety connection to gasoline control
  • Jet engine on back of car for quick boosts/"rampless" jumps
  • Stealth mode, which turns off the car's lights and cuts off the main engine. The vehicle is powered by an electric motor making the car very hard to find in dark places (which makes the mode most useful at night), and can easily throw off pursuers.
  • Explosive caltrops are deployed from the rear of the vehicle, which can take out any cars that make contact with them.
  • Front of car is heavily armored, so the car can ram as a practical offensive attack, and also protects the driver (Batman) while in the prone driving position/"Attack" mode.
  • Both front wheels can eject when the vehicle is damaged to form the Batpod, a motorcycle-like vehicle (the rest self-destructs).

'Ere's da Batmobile, more popularly known as, of all names, The Tumbler, from the Dark Knight trilogy. This is the re-launched version, as I missed out on the first release. Dat was when I first got enticed into picking up this moolah sapping hobby. Time sure passes by fast. I was so closed to press that "buy now" button on the 'Bay, which was going for RM5k and above at that time. Thank goodness I did not. Much have been said and covered on this beast, so I won't go into details 'cept that it is big, and...big. There is absolutely no room to display it at all. So after oogling and tinkering over it for some time, it goes back straight into the box. A masterpiece in its own right, and for moi, captured the essence of a Batmobile.  A personal perspective of what should be a Batmobile, and my imagination of an ideal one would be a cross between a tank ala The Dark Knight Returns (though not to that extremity) and a typical, previous incarnations of Bats' ride. Made of plastic of course, which makes it kinda flimsy on certain parts like those flaps for example. I would imagine if Taowan were to make one out of iron like they did for their military vehicles. Now, I wonder if I could add one or two mini-guns on it?  In the first two movies, The Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, the action sequence involving the Tumbler highlights its potential, which has its beginning as a shelved prototype military bridging vehicle. After Bruce Wayne enquired about it from Lucius Fox, he took it for a spin, followed by the line "Does it comes in black?". In the first movie, Tumbler moves like an Ah Beng in a Myvi criss crossing and weaving through the traffics on a Saturday night with Gotham's finest after its tail whilst saving Rachel Dawes. It shows how it could hide itself with a stealth mode, leaps across buildings, enough armours to mow through thick concretes, moves across rooftops and possesses cannon to blast apart obstacles. In the Dark Knight, Tumbler once again shows its tough nature when it engages a dump truck heads on, ramming onto it directly and the sheer momentum causes the truck to literally do a front flip up and  flies backwards. It also intercepts a bazooka rocket launched by the Joker, which finally signals its demise. Damaged beyond repair, and after a few flicks on the command console by Bats, the two front wheels screeches and burn rubbers, releases itself from the chassis to form the Batpod. Tumbler's onboard computer says farewell to Brucie before self detonating. Cute. Like Jim Gordon says, "I've gotta get myself one of this."

Friday, 26 October 2012

Hot Toys DX12 ~ The Dark Knight Rises : Batman.

It feels just like only yesterday when I first got Hot Toys DX01 and 02, which are the Joker and the Batman respectively from the first sequel of Chris Nolan's Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight. I still remembered when Sam (whom has moved on since) of xl-shop told me all about Hot Toys new product line called the DX series. It is supposed to stand for "deluxe", which I take it to mean as a notch above the standard lineup. Thus "justify" the more "premium" retail price. Then there's PERS i.e. movable eyeballs (made famous by Enterbay's line of 1/6th Bruce Lee. Where art thou Arnie Kim?) and a DX series figure would be loaded with tons of extra goodies/accessories and premium looking packaging. It does. I remembered how excited I was when the first two figures landed onto me grubby hands. Except that my expectation on the lineup is a tad too high. The Joker's fine, but the Batman comes with a belly oil that perpetually refuses to stop oozing. Even now. As I am typing this. It is as if Hot Toys decided to reward its customers with personal oil well. Wishful thinking coz I would be fart tart, rich, and can afford to escape the daily grind of works, thanks to a figure with au naturel oil. I often wonder what oil grade it is, and seriously, is the "substance" toxic? Which makes me think about some of those 3A super dust coated figures which explodes with mushroom clouds of fine particles, but that's another matter for another day. Sometimes I wonder if the "substance" would turn me into Venom. Just kidding.
Anyhoo, the DX series has marched on to figure no. 12. Actually, HT skipped DX10 and 11 (T-800 and The Joker v.2), and went ahead with releasing this one first. Another Batman but based on the second sequel and finale, The Dark Knight Rises. DX12 is comparatively the most "premium", nah, scratch that, expensive of all DXes thus far. Maybe I could be wrong on the pricing but at above RM700, it has gotta be a great action figure, ok, toys right? Nope.
When the teaser and full revelation were released, I was so darn excited with the prospect of this latest Batman (I mean, Hot Toys seems to be milking certain franchises to the last drop). The specifications are impressive and I rubbed my palms together gleefully sayin, this is the creme de la creme version of the Chris Nolan's Bats coz I darn love the trilogy and thus is a must have. I wouldn't say it is the ultimate representation of the Bat coz there would not be one in my personal opinions and there are so many versions (would love to have the comic book versions like the fat Batman from Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns and Mike Mignola's 19th century version from Gotham by Gaslight) I would like to see in 1/6th format.
OK, back to this figure. After braving strong, lashing tropical rains last evening, and a particularly horrible traffics all the way along the watchtower, I mean, Jalan Kuching to Bukit Bintang, I finally got it in hands, courtesy of DJ Davey Dave David (whom has partly "poisoned" by me to go into 3A lines of vinyl figures after selling him the African Defense Heavy Bramble). Now, what they had covered in those YouTubes (I really, for the record, couldn't comprehend all those "unboxing" vids. It is so trivial and it is just a box, for goodness sake. Or is it?) and forums are true. I am with the "regret" camp. Why?
OK, the packaging is not as "premium" as previous DXes and could not hold a candle to the DX02. It feels like HT could have had sell this as a standard MMS instead coz it sure feels like one. The figure stand is awesome though, best thus far.
And onto the figure, there is no longer any free belly oil on the Batsuit. And the idea of having separate glued on "armour plates" onto the fabric instead of wholly molded piece like DX02 looks fantastic. But it seems to escape HT's attention that the elbow guards are all out of place. Nevermind, as I can probably re-imagine it to act as an offensive weapon. The gaunlets are the same as DX02 version i.e. have double rows of blades/scalloped fins.  Watch out for it coz it is still sharp. Comes with additional two alternative facial gestures, but I am still not so keen on the "smiley" one, of which DX02 also comes with. Makes Brucie looks, uh, ham sap, lecherous, for the lack of better word. Maybe that's for him to pose, and ogle at Selina Kyle. At least it is not the "Huh?" looks of Lt. Aldo Raine, Chris Taylor and the "big boobies" Black Widow. But no more lighted up eyes like DX02. The heads are attached via magnetic joint, same, which is positive coz I hate those tight pegs. Which is ironic. Removing Spiderman's hand pegs are made for exercising my wrists and fingers. Each breakage is an exercise for my patience. Good news for Olympian finger wrestlers. But the DX12's hand joints are quite loose. Good news for fairies heh.  
The head sculpt of Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne is as close as it gets to the real deal. Aged and more mature looking as in the movie. Or at least that's what my eyes' tellin my perception. It is also kinda more "weighty" comparatively. It is also an improvement over the ole version of Wayne.
HT shortfall of this figure, personally, comes from the overall design of the figure. DX12 armour seems abit "compress", like not enough volume, particularly on the two slabs of chest muscles and shoulders when compared to DX02. Maybe HT transplanted it onto the thigh instead, which looks better than DX02. But the "reduction" in the "mass" of the upper torso makes this Bat figure looks a tad "narrow" when viewed from the side profile. And "fat-ish". Yes, that's right. The "narrowness" or "shallowness" on the upper torso or perhaps to "realistically" tell us that due to lack of exercise of the older Bats makes the lower portion of the torso, excentuates by the bigger thighs, makes Bats looks like he has gained a couple of pounds over the course of eight years, as in the movie. Unless I pose it in a "heroic, fluffy" fashion, which I always do, a side by side comparison with DX02 really highlight the differences. But then I would have to re-watch the Dark Knight Rises again to see if it were like that in the movie. The armour is not as dark too, then again, I do remember that the movie's armour is also slightly "lighter" in colour. 
Then there's the cape. Like DX02 (removal for the back pack), I am required to slot in the cape onto the body. Perhaps for allowance for me to pose and put the figure into the Tumbler. I realise that one of the plastic locks (of which we are supposed to "slide and press" onto the shoulder slots) is loosed from the stitching. This seems to be a nagging problem with HT figures that have alot of accessories. I managed to slot it properly but a removal of the cape if I wanna to would means gluing time as it is now "linked" together just with a single, bare thread. The cape's material somewhat feels less "weighty" than DX02. And there's two, short wires for "pose" running along both sides of the cape. HT could have gone abit further and runs the entire wire line down the whole cape. I would reckon that would give me more opportunity to show off the cape flapping in the wind style.
There're two belts as usual. One for the grappler and another for the sticky bombs, foldable gun. And of course, the new EMP rifle. Here's a gripe from me. The hands provided just could not grip nor position it properly.
And finally, there's the boots, of which I think DX02 is better. HT seems to be fond of making small boots.
I would not have any gripes if there's no DX02 in the first place. But the reality is there is predecessor to this figure and I can't help but to compare as well as curious. DX12 Bats is fine. Just that it does not match the retail price. Coz there's no significant difference between DX02 and DX12 'cept for the Batsuit. This is just version 2. And on top of that is the lack of upper torso mass. This could be perfect, the ultimo version, if one were to remove DX02 upper torso and replaced the DX12 ones. As well as the girl sized boots. And the darn snap on cape. The gap between the two releases maybe too short. And could have been released as a standard MMS lineup. There's just too many repeats like Pete. Now, I am abit scared of how DX10 T-800 and DX11 Joker would turns out...

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Expendables 2.

Back in 2010, Sly Stallone decided to direct and give us a cast assemble movie called The Expendables supposedly to be comprising of iconic 80s and 90s action stars. The movie is expendable. Didn't work for me. Sure, there's Sly himself, and Arnie and Brucie, but both in a fleeting moment of appearance and the rest is, well...not really vintage 80s muscle men actors whose stereotypical silver screen role is as a one man army with the mission to take out the entire army of some Third World countries dictator or megalomaniac with the plan to take over the world. Usually it would involve the bad guys taking hostage of the hero's love ones or care about, and he is forced to unleash hell against them. There would be some exotic foreign countries maiden in distress thrown in as love interest. But the most important ingredient of it all is that it has had to be loud, over the top action all the way. Bullets, bombs, missiles will automatically miss the hero. The most is a single sratch or a flesh wound of which the hero will grimaced in pain as if he's dying but bounce back with an anger taking up to another level.  A single shot from a pistol will result in a logic defying massive explosion equivalent to a WMD. Or mowing down hundreds, thousands of enemy troops with just a machine gun that will never run out of bullets and never miss. And of course, the final one on one fist fight against the boss or his extremely skillful right hand man. That's the 80s classic. Think the Rambo sequels, Commando, Die Hard series etc. And no actors epitomised those era better than by now extinct franchise Planet Hollywood boys and founders, Sly, Arnie and Brucie. Of course there's also Chuck, Van Damme, Seagal and Lundgren. And from Hong Kong, there's Jackie, Mr. Chow and Jet "Wong Fei Hung" Li. The first movie is a disappointment to me and forgetful, 'cept for the resurging Mickey Rourke (but does he really qualify as the bona fide 80s action star? All I remember is him in 9½ Weeks ;).
Moving forward this year. Not many memorable movies. Prometheus, Abe Lincoln as the vampire slayer. Sigh. Maybe because I didn't have time to watch more movies in the first place. Maybe I did but rehash of old, classic ones. So when I got meself some time to actually sit down and catch a flick, I picked up The Avengers and The Expendables 2. I watched the former first, and it does not disappoint like others this year. A good balance of superheroes fun and action. Then...there's The Expendables 2.
Yawning and approaching with caution as I slot the DVD into the player, I told myself, well, as least I got to watch a movie that can make me go to sleep easy (I've had problem with sleeping lately). That's a positive note.
Lo and behold. The opening sequence has had gotta be one of the most over the top action scene I had seen since..I dunno when. And the manner of which it is executed, crazy. And then there's all the cheesy, rice paper thin 80s action movie plot lines, over the top action scenes, and more crucially, the inclusion of humorous banters between characters, most poking fun on their other larger than life roles as various action heroes characters - in particular the one between Arnie and Brucie (now that's classic) - caught me with my PJs down, totally. Under different director, Simon West (Con Air), this sequel should what the first could have been. An action movie which doesn't pretend to be one. For guy like me whom is pushing 40, and whom was still a young kid in the VHS days, watching these fellas wreaking havoc and seemingly having a great time reliving the golden age of action movies, a wave of nostalgia sweeps through me as the credit rolls. I mean, these guys are pushing 60, some 70. There might not be another chance to see them romping and mowing down the bad boys anymore. Rourke did not re-appear, Statham is still around (and commanded one of the most breathtaking action sequence in a Russian church), Couture, Crews and Chris Hemsworth, I mean, Liam Hemsworth and  an unknown token Asian beauty, Yu Nan. Li appears for a split second this time 'round. Casting the Muscles from Brussels Van Damme as the villian is unusual but it works fine. I don't care. As long as I get to see him on silver screen with the rest of the boys.
Word 'round the campfire is that there is a strong indication for a third instalment. 'Ere's hoping to see Snipes (once he's out from prison next year due to some income tax returns related issue) and Seagal in the next one. One last word. I just wish Sly would include Jackie Chan or even Mr. Chow. Now, that would round up the best of the 80s action movie stars.   

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

ThreeA ~ Popbot : Tomorrow King Slicer Kyuuketsuki.

Beware of the shadows...

A (mis) interpretation :

Category: Mass production replicants.
Model type: The Tomorrow Kings - GEN 2.0.
Unit type: Slicer.
ID: Kyuuketsuki / The Haunter of the Dark.
Rank: Shatei.
Manufacturer: The Luthor Bean Jr. Corporation.
Function: Close assault.
Incept Date: 14th July 1990.
Serial no.: TKG02MAC14071990.
Longevity: 4 years.
Physical Level: A.
Mental Class: C.
Abilities : Panzer Kunst - anti-armour martial art; superhuman physiology.
Std. armaments: The Biting Blade - power blade x 2; 大麻 - battery pack x 1; frag, krak, melta grenade x 20; ion cyclotron power glove x 2.
Kyuuketsuki Slicers are Tomorrow King replicants whom share the same gene seed coding as the Baka Slicers series, and are feared for their superb infiltration skills, stealth tactics and skill at furious close quarter engagements. They also serve as the eyes and ears in the battlefields, reconnaissance teams with expertise in operating independently, often deep behind the Mortis lines, as well as function as scouts, identifying targets and gathering intelligence, and as pickets, saboteurs and raiders as required. In open battle, Kyuuketsuki Slicers are also adept at sudden flanking manoeuvres and infiltration attacks. Their entire torso are tattooed in black, and from the darkness they strike, fast and lethal, and by the time a Mortis titans or Flayed Ones could react, there would only be darkness for them, nothing more. As such they are called "kyuuketsuki", an ancient Eastasian word for vampire. They are created for unseen and guerrilla warfare, only engaging in frontal assaults when no option presents itself. They are  armed with a pair of electro-plated power blades. Known as "the Biting Blade",  these blades tear through armours as though it were parchment and equally shreds bone and flesh alike. These blades are specially powered by electrical source in the form of a battery backpack which power is derived from a form of bio-chemical reaction using the primary component of a plant, the THC. The blades would be sheathed in dark crackling energy field when activated. Kyuuketsuki Slicers are equipped with numerous krak, frag and melta grenades.