Author Archive

Transformers ROTF Legend Class Ironhide

ironhide bot mode head

Ironhide is one of my favourite characters from Transformers. In the movie, he had a couple of cool lines and of course, the ‘helix jump’ while shooting at decepticons (was it Brawl or Blackout?) I like the fact that he keeps his guns on the ready and his alt mode looks good too (the all black topkick (?) truck / SUV). I didn’t really like the look Voyager class at the time, and there was no deluxe either. This Ironhide is red in colour, a tribute/ homage to his colour from the ol’transformers days. On to the review…

 

Alt mode:

Ironhide is a GMC Topkick Truck. In the legend class, you can see his guns and his arms on the flatbed part of the truck. There’s a scoop’ on the underbelly that’s part of the bot mode but looks weird in the alt mode. Can’t complain much about the alt mode given that its legend class.

Ironhide alt mode

 

The 360…

Ironhide alt mode 360 view

ironhide alt mode more angles

ironhide alt top down view

 

Transformation:

Being legend class, its easy enough. Most (if not all) of Ironhide’s articulation is thanks to the transformation joints.

 

Bot Mode:

Ironhide stands tall and wide in his bot mode, guns at the ready. However, thanks to the lack of articulation, there’s pretty much nothing he can do except stand there. The eyes are painted a nice blue. Thanks to the dark plastic for the face, the detailing is lost, not that its visible given the size of the head.

ironhide bot mode head

ironhide bot mode 360 view

ironhide bot mode 2

 

In conclusion…

This Ironhide comes with his Movie mold and G1 colours. This attempt to straddle both worlds might not work for all, but I was looking to add an Ironhide to my collection and this legend class seemed the only one that fitted in at the time (The deluxe wasn’t out then) I’d probably still hesitate to get the deluxe because of the scale issue with the other carformers. Scale, of course, does not apply to legend class 🙂


Mobile Suit Gundam – The 08th MS Team

I’ve decided to catch up on my Gundam lore (back stories rather) in my free time these days and I’ve just finished watching the 8th MS team. So far, most of the Gundam series that I’ve watched (which includes the on-going Gundam Unicorn, Gundam 00, Gundam Seed and Seed Destiny, and currently still watching Turn A Gundam and Gundam Wing) are like a regular Hollywood / Bollywood action movie where 1 (or a handful) of protagonist(s) beat the stuffing out of the grunt mobile suits and then hit a minor obstacle called the boss (or ace pilot as they are called in the Gundam universe). So when I heard that the 8th MS team offered a different perspective, I was tempted.

The 08th MS TeamFor those not familiar with the series, the 8th MS team is more like a multi-character war movie. The setting looks like the US – Vietnam war (complete with jungles and rice paddy fields) for most of the series, though it does shift to a desert in the middle for an episode, and finally a mountain / cityscape combination for the finale. In many ways, the characters seem similar to war movie based characters you’ve probably seen in other war movies.

There’s the protagonist, Shiro Amada, who is called newbie even towards the end of the series by his team (or at least one of the characters). He starts off as the … well, newbie who always wears his ‘flight suit’ in his mobile suit, only to realise that its impractical when he gets lost on his first mission. He’s then seen wearing ‘casuals’ for most of the series as is case with the rest of the team (there’s a hint of uniform here and there so you can tell they are ‘feddies’) oh yeah, and the Zeon are called ‘zekes’. If you are a fan of war movies or the like, you’ll probably like this series more than the regular Gundam series.

Here are some of the characters you can enjoy in the series:

Michel Ninorich – the young guy who writes to his girl friend from the battlefield everyday. In any Hollywood flick, he’s just asking to get killed in action.

Eledore Massis – The musician stuck in the battlefield. He’s just written a chart-topping song about love and is waiting to cash in all the royalties.

Terry Sanders Jr. – aka The reaper aka the jinx… apparently the only survivor of multiple teams he’s been with. All his teammates die on the 3rd sortie together. All cracks by fellow MS team pilots are at his expense (coupled with the newbie as team leader, the other teams rate the 08th MS’s chaces of survival extremely low)

Karen Joshua – at first I thought she was the mechanic, but turns out she’s an MS pilot. She’s the battle-hardened veteran (for this location) of the team and can’t stand all the new entrants (Eledore and she are the ‘survivors’ of the last replacements and the previous replacements that were sent over)

There’s little to no political intrigue (unlike other series) and somewhere towards the end, you get a dose of military policy. There’s also the plea for peace, thus wrapping up the Gundam angle.

There are a couple of other frequent characters, like the annoying Kiki Rosita or the strange ‘engineer / mechanic’ of the feddie base who has access to everything from alcohol to signed command papers (if indeed there is such a term)! The female lead is, not surprisingly, Aina Sahalin who is pilot from Zeon. The guy I thought who would be the final bad guy ended up not being the bad guy, so that was a little of a twist for the stereotype -_-

The series is a crisp 11 episodes + 1 OVA (about 25 mins in duration. Actually, from what I’ve seen online, they are all OVAs released over a period of 3 1/2 years (Source: Wikipedia), unlike the other 50 episode series, but that’s because this is a ‘side story’ to the main series and occurs during the ‘One year war’. While the 11 episodes are all about the war and soldiers from both sides, the OVA is an epilogue to the series, which I felt was a bit unnecessary, but I guess its for the closure. All in all, a great series. Also, if you are into gunpla and are looking to weather/ battle damage your kits, this could be a good source for inspiration, considering that Gundams rarely appear ‘battle-damaged’ or even weathered for that matter in other series (unless its the final fight for the series or for that mobile suit 😉 )

So… no toy angle?

Well, ok, so its not really a toy but a Gundam kit. Its this one… (Pix from HWJapan.com and HLJ.com)

1/144 HGUC RX-79(G) Gundam The Ground War Set

Along with its ‘companion’ Zaku kit, the Ground war set is something I’ve been eying for some time now, but I haven’t sealed the deal for 2 reasons…  These two just beg for a diorama and I don’t have the skills nor the space, and I don’t like keeping kits lying around. Thanks to this series, i figured a couple of things from this kit (though I’m not sure if this kit is from that series…)

First is this…

Gundam The ground war support vehiclesIf you compare the above 2 pictures and then compare them to the Zaku one, I was a bit mixed as to what role these little tank like hover vehicles played (HLJ has them as “two hover trucks”), and what was that arm with the spike extending out the side? I first thought it was to help the hovertank / truck make fast turns by pinning one side in the ground, like the Scope Dog from Votoms.  In the 08th MS, you’ll find out that these (at least the one with the arm) is in fact a type of ‘Audio Surveillance Hover Truck’ which has a Gatling gun for defense purpose. The arm with the spike is meant to go into the ground and is a sensor to pick up sound made by other mobile suits, etc (Kind of a ground sonar to compensate for the radar jamming ability of Minvosky Particles (called the Minovsky Effect). In the 08th MS, they definitely do not charge out front of the Gundam!

Secondly…

Gundam the ground war - GM Head

Somewhere towards the end, one of the Karen’s Gundam loses its head (literally, not figuratively) in battle and the head is replace with a GM head. That probably explains why the Gundam body has the GM head here (Though, HLJ lists it as ‘two interchangeable GM heads’ so maybe those heads are just for the diorama?)

Anyways, both the Zaku and the Gundam ground war kits come with a LOT of accessories… Sample this…

Gundam the ground war - accessoriesThat backpack helps the Gundam store and carry its weapons (its called the ground type / ground loadout or something like that)

And the Zaku…

Zaku the ground war - Accessories

Those funny star shaped pieces are mean to replicate the tanks blowing up…

Gundam the ground war - kneeling

Btw, if the finished Gundam can actually pull of this type of a post, its probably the best kneeling pose I’ve seen on a Gundam. The shield actually says 08, so maybe this is the 08th MS suit… ok, this small shield, besides being used as a tripod for the gun (In the anime, its just rammed into the ground), its actually meant as a small shield to help protect the pilot rather than the whole mobile suit (Karen shows how quite nicely in one of the episodes)

Ok, this was a lot longer than expected… Until next time!

(Kit pics From HLJ.com, Gundam – The ground war box cover from HWJapan.com, The 08th MS Team pic from Animebox.eu)


Transformers ROTF Deluxe Skids and Mudflap – Ice cream truck

Icecream Truck

Name: Skids and Mudflap – Ice cream truck version (Autobots)
Series: Transformers Revenge of the Fallen (Deluxe class)
Company: Hasbro
Price: Rs 499

Skids and Mudflap are the 2 idiots from the ROTF movie. And while the 3 idiots at least have some redeeming qualities, these 2 have none. I really have no idea why they were made to look like that or even behave like that (its their behaviour that sooooo irritating), so much so that even though I’d have loved to have got a hatchback car to the collection (their other deluxe alt modes), I have skipped them entirely. The only thing that makes them somewhat acceptable is the really good alt mode this form has… On to the review!

Alt mode

Icecream Truck

This has got to be one of the ‘cutest’ alt modes I’ve seen. Hell, even The Girlfriend likes this. This is the mode the twins spend in most of the time. Time for a 360…

Icecream truck 360

As with most ‘car’ tranformers, ground clearence is negligible, if not non-existant. A saving grace however is that none of the vital robot parts (read painted / faces) are near the ground so that’s good.

Icecream truck top

The pink and white colour scheme has become so ‘iconic’ that any combination of pink and white on a vehicle (that’s really rare) prompts The Girlfriend to go ‘skids and mudflap’!

Transformation

Start by splitting the ice cream truck in half (front and back). You’ll first notice that the halves and not really equal in size and hence not really halves. This leads to 2 ‘unequal’ twins, one scrawny, and the other brawny. Since the alt mode is deluxe class, and that splits into two, you end up with scout class size bot modes. Of course, since they are twins and I can’t really recall who is who in the bot modes, lets lead with the front being Skids…

Bot mode: Skids

skids 360

skids

skids headshot

Skids’ small feet make him a challenge to get standing, however, once you’ve got the balance, he’ll usually stay standing. Just don’t expect any fancy or over the top poses. Another annoyance is the ‘hood ornament’ that comes right in front of his face in the bot mode (think that caused his eye problems?) On to Mudflap…

Bot mode: Mudflap

mudflap 360

mudflap
mudflap headshot

Aaand Action!!!

Or the lack of it thereof… given their looks and their design, I’m finding it extremely hard to think of them doing anything other than standing. Their lack of weapons does not help either. Also, like I mentioned, they spend most of their time in ice cream truck mode.

 

In Conclusion

This is the only version of Skids and Mudflap I can stand. They would have made good bots if it weren’t for the dopey eyes and of course, their sparkling personalities in the movie. Wonder if the makers were sending out a message to hatchback car owners? Recommended for the ‘cool’ alt mode.


Matchbox TrooP Carrier

Matchbox TrooP Carrier Front

Name: TrooP Carrier
Designer: Unknown
Scale: 1:64
Manufacturer: Matchbox
Price: Unknown

This was one of the toys left behind when the nephews came a-visiting. Shot it before I return it. I really liked the way this car has been ‘weathered’ with the traces of ‘mud’ on the body paint of the car and the completely brown underbelly and tyres. I don’t know much about this car except that from the front, it looks like a Mahindra Scorpio, and the name on the underbelly does not mean much to me. On to the pictures!


Matchbox TrooP Carrier Front

Matchbox TrooP Carrier front

Matchbox TrooP Carrier rear

Matchbox TrooP Carrier top view

 

Since it already came with some mud on it, I decided to put it in some more mud… my laziness / lack of time meant that I went as far as getting a potted plant…

 

Matchbox TrooP Carrier in the pot 1

Matchbox TrooP Carrier in the pot 2


Mercedes Benz 300 SL

Mercedes-Benz 300SL gullwing doors

Name: Mercedes-Benz 300 SL
Scale: 1:24
Manufacturer: Unknown (not written on the underbelly)
Price: Rs ??? (Its an old model, don’t recall the price)

A small note before I begin… While I managed the shoot of this model, I forgot to make a note of the manufacturer and the scale. I’ll update that I get my hands on the model (It’s not at my place right now)

I’ve always loved the gullwing style of doors, and I can trace this back to the Thunder Hawk which used to be driven by Matt Trakker from M.A.S.K. I bought this silver merc as a gift, and I spotted it lying around when I thought I’d try and give it a shoot. This is the biggest car I’ve shot till date and also the only car I have access to right now that has movable front wheels. I decided to put that to maximum advantage! But first, borrowing a page from Jigsaw’s book, I’ll introduce the car.

Excerpts from Wikipedia:

“The Mercedes-Benz 300SL was introduced in 1954 as a two-seat, closed sports car with distinctive gull-wing doors. Later it was offered as an open roadster. It was the fastest production car of its day.

Built by Daimler-Benz AG and internally numbered W198, the fuel-injected road version was based (somewhat loosely) on the company’s highly successful competition-only sports car of 1952, the somewhat less powerful carbureted Mercedes-Benz 300SL (W194).

The road model was suggested by Max Hoffman. Being intended for customers in the booming post-war American market it was introduced at the 1954 New York Auto Show, unlike previous models introduced at either the Frankfurt or Geneva shows. In Mercedes-Benz fashion, the “300” referred to the engine’s three litre cylinder displacement. The “SL” stood for “Sport Leicht” (Sport Light).

The 300SL was best known for both its distinctive gull wing doors and being the first-ever four-stroke car equipped with a Gasoline direct injection. The gull wing version was available from March 1955 to 1957. Production of the roadster ended in 1963 with the introduction of the 230SL.”

And here’s a pic of the car that I found on seriouswheels.com

Mercedes Benz 300 SL Coupe - Seriouswheels.com

Anyways, enough with the trivia, on to the photos!

Mercedes-Benz 300SL front

Mercedes-Benz 300SL front grille and fender

Mercedes-Benz 300SL rear, door open

Mercedes-Benz 300SL tyre

Mercedes-Benz 300SL wheel

Mercedes-Benz 300SL gullwing doors

The car was a definitely beauty at the time I bought it. Its chrome has faded with time and there’s dust in hard-to-reach places. It also lacks a lot of details that the much more higher priced models in this scale / size have but since I didn’t have that kinda money then, I didn’t splurge on a high-end model. On to the interior shots…

Mercedes-Benz 300SL interior Right Hand Side

Mercedes-Benz 300SL interior Left Hand Side

And the 360…

Mercedes-Benz 300SL front and back view

Mercedes Benz 300SL sides

Mercedes-Benz 300SL side angle

All doors open!

Mercedes-Benz 300SL top down all open

In Conclusion

When I compare it to the full size car in the photo right at the start, I like the details and it all looks great until you get to the wheels… this model has ‘spoked’ wheels where as the full size seems to have regular wheels. Whether those were available as options or not, I’m not sure. Over all, a good model (I’m still not spoilt over the high end models in this range 😉 )


Transformers Generations WFC Soundwave

Soundwave bot mode

Name: Soundwave (Decepticon)
Series: Transformers Generations, War for Cybertron (Deluxe class)
Company: Hasbro
Price: Rs 599

Since I managed to snag both WFC OP and WFC BB, I’ve been itching to get WFC Soundwave as well. However, given the way waves hit our shores here, its never certain when what will hit the stores, and what stores for that matter! After much hunting, it was only at the end of Jan that I found Soundwave. Here’s the review…

Alt Mode

WFC Soundwave

We go from one badass, to the other badass… 🙂 I love the armoured car / SUV look of Soundwave, and especially more, the Jaws!

soundwave alt front and back

Why are those 'tail lights' so low? 😦

 

Soundwave alt side view

Deploying guns !

Soundwave alt guns deployed

Soundwave alt mode guns out

There’s something good and something bad about the alt mode. Its great the way the weapons can be stashed and deployed! Its actually more useable that WFC BB and looks much better than Prime too (His weapon actually makes him look less like a Cybertronian truck and more like a Cybertronian pick-up / topkick (or whatever Movie Ironhide’s alt mode is called). However, the alt mode has quite a few gaps and the worse part is that the gaps let you look right through the model, not like other tformers who’s gaps let you see the insides. I’m not sure if its because if I’ve not done the transformation properly or whether this really is a ‘feature’ of the model.

The guns can tab into the side of the ‘car’ as seen in the photos. Since the tab is round, the guns can move up and down, but that’s about it for the articulation. No movement inwards or outwards.

Transformation

The transformation is simple enough when you compare it to WFC OP. The feet are the roof, the shins are the rear, the torso is the ‘windscreen’ and the shoulderpads are the part between windscreen and roof.

Bot mode

Soundwave bot mode

Soundwave bot mode full shot

The shoulder cannon pegs in via the same round tab into round slot, so while the cannon can be moved left and right (as far as the head / shoulder armour will allow), it cannot be lowered or elevated. On to the 360…

Soundwave bot 360 degree view

Soundwave bot angles

The only real ‘pointless’ kibble are the 2 wheels that hang off his lower back. Thanks to the joints, they can either be positioned ‘V’ shaped (like above) or flattened against his bag… In my copy, one of the 2 joints for the wheels is loose so they don’t really stay in the position you left them in. The gun can be held in either hand. When you open Soundwave from the box, this is how he appears (I don’t recall how the rear wheels were positioned tho).

Articulation

Soundwave bot mode arm articulation

Ok, that's a really blurry picture but you get the idea... right? 😦

 

Soundwave bot mode - kneeling

He has the most natural looking kneeling pose compared to anything in my current collection!

 

Soundwave bot the split

Splits are no problem!

If the above images are any indication, Soundwave seems to have the best articulation I’ve seen from a transformer. The key to this is his transformation. Most of his joints also have a part to play in his transformation, that’s why his elbow can bend much more than the usual 90 degrees of other tformers. Again, thanks to the transformation requirements, he can move his ankles a lot too, which makes a kneeling pose a piece of cake for Soundwave! The only grouch I have against this mold is that the head can only rotate, there’s no up or down movement (its actually flush against the torso, i.e. there’s no neck).

Aand action!

Soundwave bot action pose 1

Soundwave bot action

Soundwave bot dual wield

Why keep on the shoulder what you can wield in your hand... ?

Soundwave Bot mode John Woo style

Soundwave, John Woo style!

Dual wield action continues…

Soundwave bot shooting both sides

Soundwave bot lock and load

Locked and loaded

Soundwave bot in my sights

In my sights...

Secret Mode: Boombox mode

Soundwave Boombox mode

This is the mode most of the fans were looking forward to, the boombox mode. Soundwave’s alt mode in the original series was a mini-cassette, complete with ‘tapes’ that were his minions. This mode is as most people will acknowledge, a tribute to that mode. Also, its a mode from the War For Cybertron game as well.

In Conclusion

Soundwave Bot Verdict

Soundwave is a very good mold. The copy I got had extremely floppy hip joints for a new toy (right out of the box actually). In fact, it was practically impossible for me to get him to do the highkick pose, even if his feet will balance his mass, his hips just won’t allow his legs to hold any pose that goes against gravity and does not have friction with a solid surface to back it up (I’ve heard this complaint on another website, but I forgot to save the link… I’ll update it once i find it again).

Apart from the annoyance, Soundwave is a pretty good figure. While he won’t be staring down autobots or looking up to Megatron any time soon in this mold (without moving his torso… movie Batman style), his dual guns will allow you to pull off many John Woo inspired poses, just don’t expect him to do high kicks or fly through the air with his legs in any other position than pointing straight down…


Transformers ROTF Deluxe Lockdown

lockdown bot eye

Name: Lockdown (Decepticon)
Series: Transformers Revenge of the Fallen (NEST Alliance) (Deluxe class)
Company: Hasbro
Price: Rs 499

I had actually seen Lockdown a long time ago, but didn’t get him thanks to mixed feelings about his alt mode looks. TBH after all the Fast and Furious and the NFS’s, its tough to look at any car and not want them to look like street racers. A few reviews revealed a tall, lanky looking bot with good articulation. What really sold me on the alt mode though was watching a Jason Statham movie, Death Race, its a breed of car completely difference from the fast cars of the other car movies. However, by then, he had vanished from the stores 😦 That was last year

It wasn’t until early in January this year, when I dropped by a small ‘gift’ store near The Girlfriend’s house that I spotted this bad boy. It was an instant purchase. On to the review!

Alt Mode

Lockdown alt front

Lockdown is packaged in his alt mode and once you’ve opened the box, you are greeted by one bad ass car! Let’s take a look…

lockdown alt straight

lockdown alt front top

lockdown alt rear

lockdown alt side

lockdown alt view

Compared to any of the carformers I’ve seen till date, this one has got be be the one with the most detailing, and with the post paint apps for the detailing! Whoever designed Lockdown is either (a) a fan of Lockdown, (b) pays attention to detail, or (c) just loves cars like this, given all the gold and silver detailing. The car itself is a dark brown plastic.

Transformation

This transformation reminds me of leader and voyager class Prime, in the sense that the whole length of the vehicle becomes the legs! This translates into a really tall bot mode, towering over most deluxes (if not all the deluxes that I have, but I’ll have to check that) and is probably the same height as the voyagers.

Bot Mode

lockdown bot eye

Yup, once you’ve done the transformation, you’re greeted by one bad ass robot. And his height just adds to the look.

lockdown bot

the standard 360…

lockdown bot front back

lockdown bot side

Articulation:

The brilliance of the alt mode is carried onto the bot mode with some seriously good articulation, however, ahl iz not well…

If you look at the above pics, you’ll notice that Lockdown goes with the asymmetrical look. Legs are symmetrical, but the hips onwards up to his shoulders is asymmetrical. One of the downers of this ‘look’ is that the rear fender that forms his rear ‘skirt’ is asymmetrical as well. This presents a problem. His right hip gets ‘encased’ in the rear fender, which allows for little to no outward movement, unlike his left hip which can go out almost 90 degrees to the straight leg. This means that every pose you want to put him in, his right hip cannot move out… Solution? Unpeg his waist tab so that the crotch comes forward, bringing his hip joint ahead of the fender casing. This brings the right hip to full articulation like the left, but leaves him a bit… ‘unhinged’, i.e. a slight crouching posture, which is not really a problem given his height.

Another problem is his hands… given his height and his alt mode, some part gets scrawny and for Lockdown, its his arms. They are so ‘thin’, they remind me of ROTF Ransack’s arms! Another grouch is that the forearm is longer than the arm (the biceps area), which means that even if you flex the elbow for some poses, it looks like he’s holding his whole arm straight. The door kibble of the alt mode does not help with this illusion.

lockdown unhinge the hip

Unhinge the waist and are you even using those elbows?

 

Aand Action!

lockdown emp and hook

emp cannon and hook

 

lockdown the hand

the hand

 

lockdown action blaster

pew-pew-pew

 

lockdown action kung fu

kung fu fighting

 

lockdown action clip-em-with-the-hook

clip 'em with the hook

 

lockdown action bring it on

"Bring it on"

lockdown action talk to the hand

Talk to the hand

lockdown light piping

Light piping

In Conclusion

Lockdown verdict

Despite the problems with the bot mode, Lockdown shines in the posing department. The talon toes look great and thankfully there’s a swivel there to allow you to move the foot side-to-side so that he does not end up with unmovable blocks for feet (like the current voyager Ironhide). He’s very posable in bot mode, though the turbo-charger cannon doesn’t look like it’ll pack much of a punch (He’s apparently stolen it from Ratchet and from what I’ve heard, Ratchet can use the cannon too, though I’m only unsure if the Ratchet in question is the voyager one or the deluxe one. If it is the deluxe one, then… goodbye scales!)

The soft rubber claw is really a drag in the alt mode, which means it doesn’t lock in properly on the underbelly (the joint is fine, but the soft plastic / rubber is prone to warping / distortion which causes it to bend floorwards) which is not a problem since my carformers rarely go zipping around on the floor.

All in all, highly recommended for badass-ness!