Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Top Ten Fave Toys Countdown 2

Continuing my countdown of top 10 favorites of 2009 (see previous post)

Number SEVEN (7) - DiD has been producing and releasing quite a number of GREAT 1:6 World War II military figures with quite superb head sculpts. I've slowed down on my military collection, especially in the area of the Second World War but I just could not resist picking up these two DiD military figures this year - a 1:6 scale 12-inch Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (played by Tom Cruise in the 2008 historical thriller film "Valkyrie" set in Nazi Germany during World War II) and WWII US Army 2nd Ranger Marksman "Private Daniel" (with a resemblance to Barry Pepper, the actor who played Private Daniel Jackson in "Saving Private Ryan")

I've also added Private First Class James Francis Ryan [ Matt Damon in "Saving Private Ryan (1998)" ] to showcase the Toys City World War II 1/6 scale US 101st Airborne Division uniform and accessories set (more pictures HERE)

Number SIX (6) - Indiana Jones continues to make it to the top ten list even though the only Jones figure I got was the Sideshow Collectibles 1/6 scale 12-inch Henry Jones Sr figure from "The Last Crusade" (see my post HERE). I'd kitbashed an Indiana Jones in German disguise figure earlier in August using Sideshow Collectibles Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) head sculpt and the Dragon 1:6 12-inch WWII “Jürgen”, Reichsführer Grenadier (Schütze) box set which I got this year. That's not Elsa Schneider, the Nazi spy, at the rear but Hot Toys Collector's Edition MMS92 (Movie Masterpiece Series) 1/6 scale 12-inch Silken Floss (Scarlett Johansson) Female Action Figure from "The Spirit (2008)" movie

Number FIVE (5) - Daniel Craig is also in the top ten list, thanks to his exploits as James Bond 007 in "Quantum of Solace" and as Tuvia Bielski in "Defiance (2008)". I really liked the head sculpt of Daniel Craig done by DiD although my kitbash of Tuvia Bielski (1:6 Daniel Craig head sculpt by Loading Toys) did prompt a very positive response from Tuvia's grandson in America.

Brendon says, "Hi Alex.. My name is Brendon Rennert. I am the Grandson of Tuvia Bielski. I was looking around the internet and saw your Tuvia Bielski (Daniel Craig) doll and wanted to know if you sell them. Its pretty incredible that you would do this figure. If you asked my Grandfather when he was alive if he believed a doll would ever have been made in his likeness, he would have laughed. He was indeed a great man."

Five down and five to go...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 Top Ten Fave Toys Countdown 1

It's that time of the year again where I take stock of all the toys I've bought from January 2009 and do a list of the top ten toys in my book - just my own personal opinion of course. This tradition was started last year (see my 2008 Top Ten list HERE) by a very good pal and so the tradition continues year on year.

Before we go on, I realized that I couldn't really narrow it down to just ten so I'm going by categories. That way, I can group them up nicely.

Number TEN (10) on the list happens to be Medicom Toys action figures. Medicom does produce some pretty nice stuff but their HIGH prices and SMALL sizes are a big letdown :(

Three of the Medicom 1:6 figures I got this year - Medicom RAH (Real Action Heroes) "Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater" Naked Snake (Cold War version) [ Full Review HERE ], Medicom RAH Captain Harlock (キャプテンハーロック Kyaputen Hārokku) (version 2.0) from Galaxy Express 999 [ reviewed earlier HERE ] and Medicom Star Wars Episode IV Han Solo [ lots more pictures HERE ]. Two space pirates and one not-so-Naked Snake

My resolution - stay away from Medicom Toys!!

Number NINE (9) - Enterbay "24" Jack Bauer. I only have two Enterbay 12-inch figures, the other being Bruce Lee from "Game of Death" (full review HERE). I'm extremely happy with the Enterbay Bruce Lee but their 1:6 scale Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) didn't live up to my expectations :{ While the head sculpt is GREAT, everything else just wasn't up to par.

Most annoying of all is the size - Enterbay "24" Jack Bauer (reviewed HERE) is simply too small and too short to stand with any other 1:6 figure, except maybe Medicom 12-inch figures. Enterbay figures don't come cheap either. I would buy Hot Toys anytime (why? because they offer value-for-money and great attention to detail) but this would probably be my last Enterbay figure.

Accompanying Jack is Bourne wearing some of Very Hot CIA (Afghanistan) uniform set and Jason (both head sculpts are by Loading Toys, one of the new 1:6 manufacturers to jump onto the bandwagon this year and offer us more 12-inch choices)

Number EIGHT (8) - Independent companies have risen to offer us alternative 12-inch figures other than the popular and much pricier ones offered by Hot Toys. Besides Léon (Heroic "Perfection Killer"), there was Triad Toys "Wanted: Dead or Alive" 1/6 scale 12" Josh Randall (Steve McQueen) Action Figure (more pictures HERE) and Brother Production "Blade Hunter" (obviously another 1/6 scale 12-inch Rick Deckard Blade Runner action figure from the science fiction film "Blade Runner (1982)")

These 1:6 guys are much taller too, taller than the average (G.I.) Joe and they definitely tower over Medicom and Enterbay figures, almost like Goliath and David.

The countdown continues in the next post.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Heroic "Perfection Killer" Review II: 1/6 Léon, the Professional

Here's 1/6 Léon with his knit cap and long wool coat (continued from the previous post)

These are all part of the Heroic 1:6 scale "Perfection Killer" set including the black long sleeve sweater (optional) as well as another pair of hands

Léon with his compensated Beretta 92FS and Colt Anaconda

Here's a screen grab of the vest Léon (Jean Reno) wears under his long wool coat. As mentioned in the previous post, the leather holster for his pistol is missing in this 1:6 scale version, replaced by the sheath for his knife in its place instead.

Heroic "Perfection Killer" / Léon's 1:6 Beretta 92FS fitted with AL-GI-MEC compensator and suppressor

A close view of the 1:6 Colt Anaconda. Léon had lots of guns in his arsenal but I don't remember he had a Colt Anaconda but then again, I'm no gun expert. His preference was for the Smith & Wesson Model 586 which he sometimes used along with his Beretta 92FS.

And here are the other accessories that come with this Heroic "Perfection Killer" box set: Léon's plant and weapons case with six grenades as well as additional guns. Not as well stocked as the one in the film but I'm not complaining. I'm just glad they made it in 1:6 scale for collectors like us :)

Closer look at the 1/6 weapons case that Léon carries with him. Other guns included are a M1911-A1 .45 ACP and a Glock (?)

Léon with his plant and gun case

The potted plant Léon nurtures, which Mathilda replants at the end of the movie, is an aglaonema.

The 1:6 gun case is pretty well made except the catch doesn't work at all. Minor gripe, especially since this box set came at a most pocket-friendly price :)

Last but not least, Léon just loves his milk

I think the 1:6 milk carton is the weakest item of the set which is why I left it till the last. After putting in quite a bit of effort with everything else, the milk carton is really disappointing.

And there you have it - Heroic "Perfection Killer" who is basically a 1/6 Léon, the Professional from the 1994 movie of the same name.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Heroic "Perfection Killer" Review 1: 1/6 Léon, the Professional

According to producer Patrice Ledoux, director Luc Besson planned "Léon" as a filler. At the time, he had already started working on "The Fifth Element (1997)", but production was delayed due to Bruce Willis's schedule. Rather than dismiss the production team and lose his creative momentum, Besson wrote "Léon". It took him only 30 days to write the script, and the shoot lasted only 90 days. Ironically, "Léon" is now generally considered to be a far superior film to "The Fifth Element".

First previewed HERE, I finally have the product in hand ;]

Not the best head sculpt of Jean Reno as Léon but you can tell who it's supposed to be. According to Luc Besson, the role of Léon was always intended for Jean Reno and no one else. Apparently, both Mel Gibson and Keanu Reeves were extremely interested in the role.

Jean Reno decided to play Léon as if he were a little mentally slow and emotionally repressed. He felt that this would make audiences relax and realize that he wasn't someone who would take advantage of a vulnerable young girl (Natalie Portman in her motion picture debut).

I don't like the older type 1/6 bodies with the oversized chest and big shoulders. Not everybody is supposed to look like a WWE wrestler or Arnold wannabe and some characters should look more athletic. I think Léon was such a character so the 1/6 body seems wrong to me. At least now we have the Hot Toys True Type Figure with Narrow Shoulders for such a purpose.

Léon wore either white or black sweaters with suspenders in the film when he wasn't out "cleaning". No 1/6 suspenders here.

Mathilda (Natalie Portman): Leon, what exactly do you do for a living?
Léon (Jean Reno): Cleaner.
Mathilda: You mean you're a hit man?
Léon: Yeah.
Mathilda: Cool.
And here's 1:6 Léon (Heroic "Perfection Killer"), wearing his unique vest for his cleaning jobs

The shades do help define the character

Finally a 1:6 manufacturer who can give us one of the holy grails of 1:6 movie collectibles. A similar vest was produced by BBI for their "Lucifer, Sniper Assassin" 12-inch figure (see pictures HERE) but there's nothing like an exact copy of the one used in the film.

The black rubber rings connecting the vest to the belt are quite authentic but the holster for his pistol is missing. In place is a leather sheath for his knife.

Léon carries a knife for when he needs to get really close to the client without making a noise, as seen when he puts a knife to the Fatman's throat after dispatching all his bodyguards.

1:6 bolt cutter, for cutting chains, padlocks, bolts and wire mesh. Shotguns are too loud and messy and lock picks just take up too much time.

Comfortable shoes are a must!

The pistols that Léon use in the film are Beretta 92FS's with AL-GI-MEC compensators added on. In some scenes, he affixes them with sound suppressor, with threads that extend past the compensator cuts to cancel out the escaping gases that could potentially escape and produce a loud gunshot. In the final firefight, one of Léon's Berettas is seen with a stainless or "Inox" frame.

Next post will see Léon in his long wool coat and other accessories