Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hot Toys ED-209 Full Review

The ED-209 (Enforcement Droid 209) was supposed to be a crime-fighting robot in the "RoboCop" movie but its malfunction led to the creation of RoboCop. In the movie, ED-209 was designed by Omni Consumer Products for law enforcement and defense purposes. Craig Davies designed and built ED-209 and worked with stop motion animator Phil Tippett to create the special effects for the movie.

This is Hot Toys 1/6 scale Movie Masterpiece ED-209 released in 2006 (previewed here previously). 'Nuf said

When requesting compliance from perceived lawbreakers, ED-209 states plainly what the party has to do to disengage the robot and the amount of seconds the party has to comply. The robot will count down remaining compliance time in intervals of five seconds.
[Mr. Kinney points a pistol at ED-209]
ED-209: [menacingly] Please put down your weapon. You have 20 seconds to comply.
Dick Jones: I think you better do as he says, Mr. Kinney.
[Mr. Kinney drops the pistol on the floor]
ED-209: You now have 15 seconds to comply.
[Mr. Kinney turns to Dick Jones, who looks nervous]
ED-209: You are in direct violation of Penal Code 1.13, Section 9.
[Entire room of people in full panic trying to stay out of the line of fire, especially Mr. Kinney]
ED-209: You have 5 seconds to comply.
Kinney: Help me!
ED-209: Four... three... two... one... I am now authorized to use physical force!
[ED-209 opens fire and shreds Mr. Kinney]
ED-209 was intended to be a comment on modern American design and corporate design policy; specifically, form over function, "just like an American car". If one knew where to look, they could find oil coolers, radiators, and heat exchangers on the machine. In addition, mounted on the legs are four large pneumatic cylinders, even though that many would be redundant on a machine of that size. Finally, the open grille for the radiator in the front is, according to designer Craig Davis, "a big, obvious, extremely stupid place to put something crucial like a radiator in an open area on a fighting unit like ED-209". Like they said, "Form over Function".

ED-209's weapons consist of three 20 mm machine guns (two on the left arm, one on the right) and a three-round rocket launcher on the right arm. The rocket launcher fires heat-seeking missiles.

Picture below shows ED's twin 20 mm guns on its left arm

Side profile of the menacing machine

Close-up view of the 20 mm guns

One of the ED-209's key weaknesses is the design of its "feet"; it can move on a flat plane fairly well, but an attempt to navigate a staircase ended with the robot tumbling down and landing on its back, immobilized.

In RoboCop 2, a news report about the mass deployment of the ED-209 features the robot getting its foot caught in a manhole and collapsing.

The dome-shaped head of ED-209 is designed without eyes as eyes humanize the robot

A compartment behind the robot's head is equipped with twin launchers which could be loaded with either mortars or gas grenades for riot control situations. ED-209 can also swing its arms to knock enemies away. The ED-209 has the capabilities of speaking fluent English in a commanding tone (the voice is of RoboCop executive producer Jon Davison). When engaged in combat, however, ED-209 growls using the sound of a black leopard, in order to intimidate the enemy.

Craig Davies intentionally designed ED-209 with these huge hydraulics for the legs, to emphasize the redundancy and America's corporate culture of form over function.

The ED-209 also has a marked resemblance, especially the leg mechanics, to the AT-ST (All Terrain Scout Transport) "Scout Walker" or "Chicken Walker" of Star Wars, only on a smaller scale.

Check out all the details

ED-209's imposing figure in 1/6 scale, obviously designed with "Shock and Awe" affect in mind

ED-209's three-round rocket launcher on the right arm. The rocket launcher fires heat-seeking missiles.

Hot Toys' 1/6 scale ED-209 even has the red, yellow and black wires running alongside the right gun arm

ED-209 is supposed to have one 20 mm machine gun on the right arm but Hot Toys made a boo-boo and made the left and right arms identical i.e. with twin machine guns - oops

This incredible 1/6 scale machine was followed up by the 1/6 scale Power Loader (pictures here) as seen in the movie "Aliens (1986)" and the most recent Batpod (pictures here) from "The Dark Knight (2008)". This was to prove that Hot Toys indeed can make anything in 1/6 scale once they set their minds on it. Let's bring on RoboCain - now that'll be the icing on the cake!

Other ED-209s covered previously: Kenner's ED-260 (pictures here) and Kotobukiya's ED-209 mini figure (pictures here)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Very Poppy Girls

An article in today's Straits Times newspaper talked about how US Vice-President Joseph Biden helped shape President Barack Obama's new focus in Afghanistan which was announced last Friday. The commanders in the field had wanted a firmer commitment of more combat troops beyond the 17,000 troops that Mr Obama had already promised to send (covered in an earlier post here), and a pledge that billions of dollars would be found to significantly expand the number of Afghan security forces.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pressed for an additional 4,000 troops to be sent as trainers to Afghanistan. In talks over the US policy on Afghanistan, some officials favored transforming agriculture in the country away from the notorious poppy fields that have fueled the Taleban insurgency.

It included this picture. Although the two ladies (female soldiers) in the picture are from the British Army, they certainly looked very HAPPY or should it be POPPY - ha! ha! They really look like they are enjoying what they are doing. Could it be because they are completely surrounded by the Papaver somniferum (scientific name for Opium Poppy)?

For more on British soldiers in Afghanistan, check out this post.

Kotobukiya RoboCain

This is a picture taken of RoboCain by a guy who was visiting the Tippett Studio - they were responsible for the stop motion effects in the RoboCop movies (more info here). He had the chance to drool over the full size RoboCain (picture can be found here) as well as 3 stop motion Cains used in the "RoboCop 2 (1990)" movie.

For the rest of us, there's Kotobukiya's RoboCain mini figure (believe it or not, this figure is only 3.5 inches tall or 9 cm high but packed with all the details found on the actual thing - unbelievable!) Until Hot Toys release a 1/6 scale version of RoboCain, I'm afraid this will have to do. Here's RoboCain with his extra arms retracted.

RoboCop 2 takes place shortly after the end of the original. Robocop and his partner Lewis are still on the force but OCP is concentrating on developing Robocop Mk 2 - a considerably nastier, more efficient killing machine.

In the movie, Psychotic "Nuke" designer drug user and pusher Cain's (played by Tom Noonan) brain is removed and successfully transplanted into RoboCop Mk 2 as he is the only person who would not go mad when he discovers what has been done to him (since he was already mad and hallucinating because of his excessive drug use). Thus RoboCain is created.

And here's RoboCain with his extra arms extended - COOL

The armaments on RoboCain is not hidden in a thigh holster like RoboCop's but exposed along with all the machinery and parts, unlike the original RoboCop's design which was more humanoid.

With all the parts left over from making Iron Man Mark I and the Terminators (T-600, T-700 and T-800), I'm sure Hot Toys can easily put together a RoboCain. Come on Hot Toys, we're counting on you, give us RoboCain, don't just stop at ED-209.

The movie ends with a climactic battle between RoboCop and RoboCop Mk 2 (RoboCain) during the unveiling of Delta City and the new cyborg at a press conference. RoboCop stops RoboCain by jumping onto his back and punching his way through to Cain's brain before smashing it onto the pavement, thus killing him. Lots of violence, blood and gore on this one too! Quite entertaining - heh! heh!

Did you know that RoboCop 2 Script Writer Frank Miller (the man responsible for turning Batman into the Dark Knight but not before transforming Daredevil into a ultra cool character with the likes of Elektra and Bullseye) had a cameo role in RoboCop 2. He played a nuke scientist in Cain's gang. Cain actually called him "Frank" three times in a scene. Later he gets blown up as the truck exploded. While producers loved Frank Miller's original version of the script, they quickly realized it was unfilmable as written. The final screen version was heavily rewritten and bears only a superficial resemblance to Miller's story. In 2003, Miller's screenplay was adapted into a comic book series titled, appropriately, "Frank Miller's RoboCop".

Other Kotobukiya mini figures - ED-209, RoboCop and RoboCop 3 with Flight Pack

Other RoboCop figures covered - Hot Toys Movie Masterpiece 1/6 scale 12-inch original RoboCop and RoboCop 3 with Flight Pack and their 1/6 scale ED-209

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Jason Statham in Rogue Assassin

When I first saw the preview for this figure (link here) by Loading Toys (called appropriately "The Courier"), I was very keen to kitbash him as Frank Martin from "The Transporter" movies. But upon receiving the package, I had to change plans. Why? We'll see later. First, onto the items.

Standard Loading Toys box, similar to the one for their Dangerous Man/Spy (link here)

Items include 511 Low Caliga shoes, diplomatic bag, G18C with standard and extended magazines and two light sticks

Loading Toys have added zippers at the side of the 511 Caliga so that it'll be easier to put on his shoes

The diplomatic bag comes in army green (olive drab) and is nice enough (no complaints here)

His Glock 18C pistol with two types of magazines. The G18C is not very well produced - cast solid piece with a hole in the pistol grip for inserting the magazine, no sliding rectangular breech we have come to expect from 1/6 scale firearms.

What's interesting are the two "light sticks" that come with this package. They are not glow-in-the-dark sticks but look like actual cyalume sticks (for the uninitiated, these are single-use translucent plastic tubes containing isolated substances which when combined are capable of producing light through a chemical reaction-induced chemoluminescence which does not require an electrical power source). Haven't tried them yet, gonna wait for a blackout and see if it works - ha! ha!

Also comes with army type sweater and cargo pants

Herein lies the problem - the head sculpt is too rugged for a Frank Martin "Transporter" kitbash i.e. not clean shaven enough

Solution: Kitbash him as FBI agent John Crawford from the movie "Rogue Assassin (2007)" (called "War" in North America) where Jason Statham plays an FBI agent determined to take down a mysterious assassin known as Rogue (played by Jet Li)

Screen shot of Jason Statham as FBI agent John Crawford from "Rogue Assassin" 

Kitbash of Loading Toys "The Courier" as FBI Agent John Crawford (Jason Statham) from "Rogue Assassin" - that solves the rugged good looks issue

FBI Agent John Crawford used a Beretta Cougar as his sidearm throughout the movie. Since there isn't any 1/6 Beretta Cougar pistol out there that I know of, I armed him with the standard Beretta M92 pistol. The G18c would look out of place.

I also equipped FBI Agent John Crawford (Jason Statham) with a Benelli M3 Super 90 semi-automatic 12 guage shotgun with tactical light (see movie poster above)

Check out this link for other men in suits

UPDATE August 20, 2010: An even better Jason Statham likeness in the blog entry: "1:6 Jason Statham as Frank Martin in Transporter 3"!