Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Private Military Contractor, Iraq

This is my take on Hot Toys' PMC. Liked the headsculpt but didn't quite dig the look so I thought I'll try my hand at bashing my own. Not even sure where all the parts come from - LOL!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Astro Boy by Hot Toys 2005

Astro Boy (Tetsuwan Atomu which means "Mighty Atom") is a manga and anime series about a robot boy first broadcast in Japan from 1963 to 1966. It is a sci-fi series set in a futuristic world where androids co-exist with humans. Growing up watching Astro Boy on TV, the kid in me just had to get this release by Hot Toys in 2005. It's a very well crafted figure with light-up eyes, chest and boots.

The box is simple enough. Way back then, people had a lot of high hopes/vision of the future coz the box text states that "in 2003, a robot was created" in a future where there were already flying cars. It's now 2008 and we still drive cars on roads and the price of oil/petrol has skyrocketed, along with all basic necessities like rice etc. Not too bright a future if you ask me.

Box flap opens to reveal what you can expect - check out the light-up eyes feature on the box flap.

Tray containing Astro Boy and accessories

Astro Boy, Tetsuwan Atomu.

Astro Boy's light-up eyes - really bright and impressive - activated by flipping a switch on the back of his head.

Astro Boy's chest has a heart that beats too (features blinking lights)

He can "blast off" with the jet propulsions under his boots (simulated by blinking red and yellow lights)

Fully poseable? You tell me.

And here's a screenshot from the upcoming CGI Astro Boy film (scheduled for release in 2009)

Dark Horse Comics published a large format comic book titled "Big Guy and Rusty, the Boy Robot" by Frank Miller and Geof Darrow in 1996, of which the inspiration for Rusty is all too obvious.

There was even an animated series produced by Columbia TriStar Television and Dark Horse Entertainment which aired from 1999 to 2001.

Other Astro Boys posted include:
The Mechablock DX or deluxe version Astro Boy/Tetsuwan Atom by Takara HERE
Flying Astro Boy © NTV, 1981 - link HERE

UPDATE August 24, 2009 - new movie-related Hot Toys MMS109 Astro Boy Preview HERE

Monday, April 28, 2008

Black Hawk Down (2001) - Battle of Mogadishu (1993)

"Black Hawk Down" is a film by Ridley Scott based on the book "Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War" by Mark Bowden. It depicts the Battle of Mogadishu, which was part of the US military's 1993 campaign to capture Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid.

On 3 October 1993, Task Force Ranger - US Special Operations Forces composed mainly of Bravo Company 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D; better known as “Delta Force”) operators, and aviation support from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) (“The Night Stalkers”), attempted to capture Aidid's foreign minister, Omar Salad Elmi, and his top political advisor, Mohamed Hassan Awale. During the operation, two US MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were shot down by rocket-propelled grenades, and three others were damaged. Some of the soldiers were able to evacuate wounded back to the compound, but others were trapped at the crash sites and cut off. An urban battle ensued throughout the night. Early the next morning, a combined task force was sent to rescue the trapped soldiers. It contained soldiers from Pakistan, Malaysia, and the US 10th Mountain Division.

Dragon released two figures when the film came out - "Matt" played by Josh Harnett (actually Staff Sergeant Matthew Eversmann, leader of Chalk 4 during the battle) and Delta Force operator "Jeff" played by William Fichtner (actually Sergeant First Class Jeff Sanderson, based on Paul Howe). In 2003, Dragon released two commemorative editions, "Danny McKnight" - Commander 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment and "Master Sergeant Gary Gordon" - Delta Force Sniper Team Leader, who was killed defending the crew of Super Six-Four (Michael Durant's Black Hawk that was the second one to be shot down)

Delta Force operators MSG Gary Gordon and "Jeff"

Kitbashed Rangers - M249 gunner and M203 grenadier

Bravo Company 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

Task Force Ranger

The battle was over by 4 October 1993 at 6:30 am. In all, 19 US soldiers died of wounds from the battle and another 79 were injured. Among UN forces, 1 Malaysian soldier died and 7 were wounded, along with 2 Pakistanis.

Check out 21st Century's 1/6 scale AH-6 Little Bird

Updated October 3, 2009: FULL review of Dragon 1/6 12" commemorative figure Gary Gordon, Sniper Team Leader Delta Force - Task Force Ranger HERE

There's also more pictures of Dragon 10th Anniversary Commemorative Edition 1/6 scale 12-inch "Danny McKnight" military figure HERE

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Persian Gulf War (2 August 1990 – 28 February 1991)

Shortly after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait on 2 August 1990, US President George H.W. Bush began deploying US military might to Saudi Arabia (Operation Desert Shield), while at the same time urging other countries to send their own forces to the scene. UN coalition-building efforts were so successful that by the time the fighting (Operation Desert Storm) began on January 17, 1991, there was a HUGE force ready to boot Saddam's Iraqi forces out from Kuwait.

The six-colour Desert Battle Dress Uniform (DBDU), with a base pattern of light tan overlaid with broad swathes of pale olive green, two-tone wide bands of brown, clusters of black-on-white spots scattered over it resulted in it being nicknamed the "chocolate chip" pattern, was worn during this conflict.

From left to right: USMC Scout Sniper (Jake Gyllenhaal played Anthony Swofford in "Jarhead"), US Army Special Forces operator (George Clooney as Major Archie Gates in "Three Kings") and Hot Toys' US Army CVC (Combat Vehicle Crew)

US Army Special Ops Sergeant "Brian" and Delta Force operators

US Army Infantryman in MOPP gear, US Army Grenadier and Night Ops Camouflage Grenadier

US Navy SEAL reconnaissance patrol, 82nd Airborne M249 Gunner, US Army Infantryman

There were also allied forces in the war but not many figures were released of them. Famous among them would be the SAS Scud hunters.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

RoboCop 3 (1993) by Hot Toys 2007

Robert John Burke took over from Peter Weller who was tired of reprising his role due to how cumbersome and exhausting it was to wear the suit. The film was also the less gritty as they were targeting a PG-13 rating, unlike the first two films which had been rated R. Hence the profanity, graphic violence, mature sexual content, and references to illicit drugs and prostitution all had to be reduced or taken out altogether. All these led to a loss in appeal for this last film. I don't think Frank Miller is proud of his work on this one. Thank goodness there's Sin City, with Sin City 2 and The Spirit coming out soon.

In 2007, Hot Toys released RoboCop 3 with the Flight Pack that was one of the saving grace of the film. Hot Toys obviously listened to fans coz after releasing RoboCop (link here) and the exclusive Sideshow limited Robocop 3 figure with the unique interchangeable gun arm, this flight pack version would be the ultimate RoboCop. For those who bought the first RoboCop and Sideshow's version, it was like "WTF??"

Not to worry. Both RoboCop and RoboCop 3 have different paint schemes (subtle but it's there coz it's apparently different in the films as well). Sorry for those stuck with Sideshow's version though - too bad! As with their first RoboCop, this came with a slipcase as well and due to the special metallic card stock they used to print the images, it's quite a challenge to have a good picture taken.

Actual box/packaging of RoboCop 3 with Flight Pack showing actual photo of the product - nice!

The interchangeable gun arm that was the Sideshow exclusive is also included

Flap opens to reveal RoboCop wearing his flight pack and the tray with all the parts, as the product description says, "Poseable model kit"

The tray where all the parts fit. This is as far as it goes for now, folks. Will post complete pictures when i've settled down in the new place. Packing for the move is gonna be quite a challenge!

But this i gotta post - the removable helmet!! RoboCop 3 (this version) features the removable helmet that we all want to see.

First, the jaw portion comes off, revealing his chin.

Now the visor comes off, revealing the full face

uh, me thinks better to put the helmet back on - ha! ha!

Another portion at the back can also be removed

RoboCop's head with all parts removed. Some collectors have lamented that this removable helmet version shows too much of his face i.e. you can see his nose which is not completely covered by the visor. This is because Hot Toys did not make a bigger visor but used the same mould from RoboCop version 1 but in version 1, the helmet is not removable so it sits tightly and nicely on his head. To make the visor/helmet removable, some gap has to be created and this has actually compromised the look. All the product shots have him looking down - Hot Toys obviously knew about this boo-boo.

This RoboCop version 1 helmet/head looks much better but the removable helmet's quite cool too.

Hot Toys Movie Masterpiece 1/6 12-inch RoboCop 3 with Flight Pack - full review here