Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Kotobukiya: DC Comics Harley Quinn Bishoujo Statue

Hey Everyone

Hope the year 2013 started well for you all! Med school pummelled me when the holidays were over. But there's good news, I am figuring out a way to take photoshoots and churn out posts on a more regular schedule. Thank you for your support, and it is definitely a delight to share in our nerdy pursuits :)

Today's post is about a recent acquisition I made (on impulse): Kotobukiya's 1/8 Scale Bishoujo sculpt of Harley Quinn, the villainous jester sidekick of DC Comics fame (or infamy).

We all know "DC" stands for Detective Comics. It's interesting to know that its first hero was not a caped superhero at all. DC started off with Slam Bradley, an private eye who solves crimes with brawn and brains, with the aid of Shorty Morgan (who is rather inept for comic purposes). In fact, Batman is DC's earliest iteration of a modern superhero, and he appeared on the 27th issue, about 2 years since DC's inception. Batman has become such a cultural icon that a copy of issue #27 reportedly sold for a million bucks!

Slam Bradley, DC's original detective hero.
Anyway, back to the topic.
Window box that Harley Quinn arrives in, simple and functional. No fancy flip outs etc.
Kotobukiya started a bishoujo line of statues a few years ago, which are Japanese re-iterations of female characters from a wide range of genres, from Tekken to Marvel Comics. Due to its expanding range, I am guessing that the Bishoujo line is proving to be rather popular and profitable for Kotobukiya.

Inside the box: the statuette and an alternate white face.
These sculpts are based on designs by Shunya Yamashita, and measure about 10 inches high. This particular sculpt has Harley Quinn playfully posing with a gigantic mallet, which makes for quite a comedic combination. A demure damsel on top of a massive mallet was something I couldn't resist, and spoke right to the core of Harley Quinn's (mis)adventures of mayhem and comic relief. Kotobukiya has given Harley's eyes a "toy doll" treatment, which makes her appear rather demure and the detail is well done.

Harley comes with a protective strip behind her default flesh face.
Harley with her default flesh face.
Harley with her white makeup face, which I prefer over the default one.
The figure itself comes equipped with 2 faces. One with a flesh-colored face for a natural look, and an alternate face with white makeup. Each face is magnetic and the magnets themselves are quite solid, so you'll have to be careful in swapping the faces without damaging them. I highly recommend using a smooth or microfiber cloth to hold on the faces during a swap. I went with the white face.

The entire statuette, with the mallet base. The tilting mallet adds some kinetic energy to the sculpt.

The sculpt viewed from the front.
Harley Quinn began her DC career in Batman: The Animated Series (one of the best cartoons IMO) back in September 11, 1992. She quickly proved to be popular and her creators (Paul Dimi and Bruce Timm) produced a graphic novel about her backstory...which went on to win Eisner and Harvey awards of Best Single Issue Comic of the year. In the cartoons, she is depicted to possess a very strong Brooklyn accent.

Harley with her hand perched....on a mallet handle.
Close-up on her face, notice how the eyes are done and the cloth-like effects of her dangling pom poms.
Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel is one of the most well-known fictional example of hybristophilia, or the arousal and sexual attraction to individuals who commit crime or outrage. In real life, there are checks and sanctions in place if a medical professional starts to have feelings for his/her patient, and there have been cases of doctors hooking up with their patients. It's a pretty serious offence and medical professionals are advised to immediately notify the patient about it, and even stop being the patient's caregiver to avoid conflict of interest and all that ethical jazz.

Harley's head viewed from above.
A look at how far her big pom poms fly from her head.
Harley Quinn's story does seem to be tragic, which may explain for the inherent pull of her backstory. Coming from a background of privilege (intelligence, good looks, respectable job) and with the noble aim of helping others, Harley Quinn recklessly drops it all due to her obsession with the maniacal Joker. While it may be obvious to us that the Joker does not return her feelings for him (can't blame him, he's really nuts), Harley Quinn continues to be madly in love with him and proves to be a terrifying fanatic when it comes to playing out Joker's destructive plans.

Another view of Harley on top of her mallet. Her pose strongly reminds me of WWII USAF noseart.
Kotobukiya's sculpt of Harley Quinn is excellent and artful. Harley Quinn's pose with the mallet has a dynamic feel towards it, and the little details (the jester cuffs, cloth-like effects) add quite a bit to this impressive statuette. Paint job is quite well done and the smooth finish to her jester's costume is immaculate. Somehow, her slapstick pose reminds me of WWII USAF noseart, where women are depicted in playful poses on the noses of bombers and fighter planes.

A dainty hand on top of a massive mallet, a rather comedic touch!
Harley's foot gracefully on top of the ginormous mallet of pain.

The way the legs gyrate around the handle also adds a sense of kinetic energy to the sculpt.
Hope you like the shots, and I highly commend Kotobukiya on their impressive effort not just producing a statuette of quality, but also successfully capturing the spirit of Harley Quinn of mayhem and comedy. That is an explosive combination.
Sideview of the sculpt.
While writing this post...I thought about this: would you classify Harley Quinn as evil? Sure she blows stuff up, and won't hesitate to kill people while committing the will of the Joker. But is there any malicious intent behind it? Is she chaotic neutral or chaotic evil? Or am I trying to gloss over a tremendously flawed but attractive character?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

War for Cybertron: Bumblebee

Welcome Back to Toyconstruct!

We have finally made it to the first week of 2013!

And to start off, I shall be giving a review of the War and Fall of Cybertron version of Bumblebee and also a short review of the Fall of Cybertron Game that I have completed.

"Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee". Famous words by the Great Muhammad Ali. It is also a phrase that can easily describe the small but ever so chirpy Bumblebee. In War and Fall of Cybertron as well as many of the TV Series, Bumblebee represents the "little guy". However, more often than not, he plays a vital role to the Autobots exploits and adventures. He is also known to be a wise-cracker that has to put in more than a few words of his opinion in things.

In spite of what I have mentioned, Bumblebee is the mascot of the Transformers and his small physique and youthfulness allows him to be able to associate well with a young human kid, Sam Witwicky who made friends with the Autobots in the Transformers Series. On many occasions, even in the trashy Michael Bay Transformer films, we see how Bumblebee overcomes adversity with his agility and speed. At times, his "smallness" also helps him perform missions that his bigger compatriots are unable to do.

 Melee Blades on Bumblebee's arms

Bumblebee is aware that he is small. Furthermore, he knows that he is younger than many of his Autobot compatriots. This makes him feel compelled to always try and prove his worth in the eyes of his Autobot superiors.

Bumblebee Draws his weapon

Truth be told, Initially, in the G1 TV Series, I never really liked Bumblebee because I didn't think he was cool and he wasn't really that powerful. he was just a little kid. You would have thought that because i was a kid back then, I could associate with Bumblebee. However, I didn't really like his name, the beatle car he transformed into, his design and abilities weren't that great. Like most kids, we were into the dude with the most power and coolest design.

Bumblebee's Metallic Legs that look like skates.

After awhile though, Bumblebee started to grow on me. The attachment to him deepens as the TV Show develops his relationship with the Humans and Sam Witwicky and you could almost believe like if Transformers did exist, Bumblebee could be your friend. Ahh.. what childish delusions I had when I was a kid.

Vehicle Mode

In any case, his Cybertronian vehicle mode looks sleek, curvy and cool. Cybertronian Design really makes all of the Transformers look way cooler. And speaking of the Cybertronian version, I shall now finally touch upon the Transformer: Fall of Cybertron Game.

Bumblebee Zooming across the Road in Vehicle Mode

Fall of Cybertron had a few additions and changes compared to its prequel, War of Cybertron. For starters, there are achievements to be unlock in Steam now. Improvements have also been made on the Escalation and Multiplayer Gameplay. With the addition of the Teletraan 1 in the game, Ammo shortages and getting of weapons should not be a problem in this game.

On top of that, expect to see more massive robots and awesome cool scenes which work well with the gameplay to give a good sequel to the previous game. In this game, we see how Optimus prepares to depart Cybertron on the Ark and the events that lead to that. For the first half of the Campaign, you will play for the Autobots working towards making the Ark Operational. You will witness the massive power and strength of Metroplex but the game is more rigid in which each mission already has a preassigned Character rather than allowing you to choose various Characters to play for that part of the mission.

The good part would be that the mission focus much more on the character and its abilities. This gives the character more weight in the story that is unfolding.

Optimus commands Metroplex to smash Megatron.

 After the first half of the story, you will play various Decepticons in their attempt to stop the progress of the Autobots. Personally, the best mission would be playing the all mighty Bruticus.

Combaticons Combine!

This badass monster leaves a trail of destruction whereever it goes. With a good storyline, great looking Transformers, it seems like a great sequel to the Transformer Cybertronian Series. However, the game is not absent of flaws.

The New Optimus Design does not really go down well with me.

For starters, there is a lot of buggy issues with the game. Sometimes the gameplay will roll into a cinematic cut scene with the absence of audio dialogue. Furthermore, because of some graphic or bug issue, there are times where the game after going through a certain cut scene or boss fight would just crash back to desktop. I had encounter this problem before I open my NVIDIA graphic card control panel to use my graphic card to directly run the game, giving it a smooth run throughout the game.

It's Hard not to love the Transformers. And if you are a fan of the G1 series, you will like this cool version of Transformers, inclusive of Bumble Bee.

It can be really really frustrating having to deal with those issues. If you manage to rectify it though, you are in for a treat involving Robots, Battles and Awesome fight scenes. There have been criticism that the Multiplayer doesn't enable friends to be able to play together against people online. Multiplayer has been also criticize for no port of communication. Aside from these stuff though, the positives of the gameplay, storyline and multi-play outweigh these issues.

Grimlock STRONG!

For me, the best part of playing the Autobots inthe campaign would be to get control of Mr. Leader of the Dinobots, Grimlock himself. A beast of a warrior, this guy could pack a real meaty punch in the game. When he changes into Dino-mode, epic strength and fury is dealt at great proportions to his enemy.

The Arc leaving Cybertron with Metroplex on the Background.

My final analysis is that if you are a fan of Transformers and Michael Bay has suck out your happy views of what Trasnformers might be (Yes, I truly do not like the Michael Bay Transformers), Fall of Cybertron, just like its predecessor will give back to you that joy and happiness of how G1 was like for you. The game is simple enough to pick up for an FPS. It gives you an experience of seeing and playing many of the iconic Robots that have been so familiar to many adults and kids around the World. So take up the game and live the story of Transformers: Robots in Disguise!

Lastly, this game has resulted in new Cybertronian Transformer to be release under the Hasbro Toy line. I have mentioned in my Optimus Post that I was contemplating to get the New Optimus but I have decided not to. Somehow or another, the new Deluxe version of Fall of Cybertron Transformers looks particularly small. As mentioned above, the new Optimus doesn't go down well with me. As such, I shall not be buying Optimus Prime. Aside from Optimus, Hasbro has announced that there will be a release of Jazz, Shockwave, Sideswipe, Kickback, Starscream, Grimlock and Bruticus for the Fall of Cybertron toy line.

I shall be pouncing on Grimlock as soon as possible. Furthermore, I might consider getting the SDCC 2012 Exclusive Bruticus in original gameplay colours, Shockwave and Starscream. I must reiterate though, that I am still contemplating. Thus, aside from Grimlock, the rest might not be a "for sure" circumstance in which I would buy them. Due to acquiring many collectibles, painting materials and model kits, I am quite broke now. :p So much consideration must be done into making a purchase on anything.

Ahh such is the troubles of being a hobbyist and a collector of many toys and action figures. Sometimes, I am quite convinced that calling me Super Nerd Geek would not be an understatement. (I wonder whether I should be happy about that :P)

Till the next post, 
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year 2013!!

Happy New Year Everyone! It's 2013!

The New Year always brings in the air of fresh starts. It also brings in an atmosphere of great revival from any failures of last year. As such, I am assuming many have been setting resolutions and setting the course to how this year will be in their lives.


In any case, I feel a New Year should involve new things, changes and anticipation for things to come. Thus, I think it is appropriate for us to start Toyconstruct with a change of our blog cover. After 3 years using the old one, I felt that it would be great to have a new touch to the blog's main picture header.

Aside from that, we have made a few adjustments to pictures on the sidebar and added a new progress bar on the models, figures and miniatures Josh and I shall be doing respectively this year.

On top of all that, we shall be doing more reviews this year on various things (i.e. Online Shops, Events, Games and Upcoming Collectibles) that you can watch out for as a Video Game Geek, Comic Nerd or Hobbyist for Military Model Kits, Fantasy Miniatures, Action Figures and other Collectibles.

Hopes for the New Year and Other Upcoming Stuff

As you all may know, I have grown fond of the Characters in Borderlands. As such, it was a delight to know that NECA had release some Borderlands Action Figures (Claptrap and the iconic Psycho Bandit) that received positive reviews.

Awesome Looking Figures.

 As I have personally come across the NECA produced "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle" series, I was utterly impressed by their quality. From the looks of these figures, my opinion does not differ at all.

Thus, I was ecstatic to hear that they were releasing Zero the Assassin and Gunzerker Salvador for Borderlands 2 as part of their Borderlands Merchandise. Apparently, it was slated that these figures would come out by August 2012. Furthermore, as shown in the picture above, the Flaming Psycho Bandit and Another Bandit will be released by Early 2013. However, it is disappointing to know that till now, there has been no news on Zero or Salvador. On top of that, I do not find the generic Bandits particularly awesome compared to the many other awesome characters in Borderlands 2.

My hope is that NECA will release Zero and Salvador soon enough and that they will make the other vault hunters in Borderlands 2. It would be great if they make Moxxi and the other more distinctive characters in the game but only time will tell on what NECA plans to do next for Borderlands 2.

Onto Modern Military Wargaming Matters, GHQ shall be releasing the Bushmaster IMV and the Jiangwei II (Type 053H3) Class by February 2013. GHQ will also be releasing the Eurocopter Tiger ARH on April 2013. After that, they shall come up with a release schedule for their miniatures for the period of 2013-2014. It is an exciting experience to find out what GHQ will be releasing for the Modern Military line and what I can acquire from that release.

MQ-9 Reaper, A GHQ Modern Military Miniature Released from 2012

As mentioned in my last Warhammer post, it is rumored that Games Workshop will be looking to release a new revised version of the DoC Army rulebook around the early part of this year (February). If speculations are correct, it would be interesting to know what the new revisions would bring for this army. Especially when it is the one of the new armies I would like to play. On top of that, Avatar of War created a crowd funding event on Indiegogo to increase their Dwarf Miniature Range. It was a huge success and because of that, they have been releasing more awesome dwarf miniatures. I will elaborate more on the Avatar of War Company in a Review post later, but it is awesome to see them expand their great looking miniature range.

 Avatar's First Dwarven regiment: The Dwarf Ironshields aka Dwarf Warriors

Looking into the Bigscreens, Marvel and DC fans will be anticipating three big blockbusters. Starting with Iron Man 3 which will be released on 3 May 2012 in the US. This will be followed by Man of Steel which will be shown in June 2013. Lastly, Thor 2: The Dark World shall be released in November 2013.

You got to be dead inside to not be anticipating at least one of these films.

Speaking of all this, Marvel and DC Hot Toys collectors shall be anticipating Thor, Iron Man Mk VII, Hulk and Selina Kyle along the next three months.

Oh boy Oh boy Oh boy, there is so much to look forward to. And Toyconstruct will be there to showcase it all. As usual, we will be giving you a minimum of one post a week but don't be surprise if we step up a notch and do more.

Once again, Josh and I would like to wish you all an awesome year of 2013!
Till next time! Keep Geeking and Nerding away! (: