Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Look Inside The Doulos

The MV Doulos is the world's oldest active ocean-faring passenger ship. She is now owned by Mr Eric Saw, Director and Chief Executive of BizNaz Resources International Pte Ltd in Singapore. She was previously owned by the German charity Gute Bücher für Alle (Translated into English: Good Books for All), and was used as a floating bookshop. The MV Doulos currently holds the biggest floating library in the world. Normally there is somewhere around 3000 to 5000 books on the shelf and half a million in the hold. The ship has previously been known as the SS Medina, the SS Roma, and the MV Franca C. The Doulos Ministry stopped at the end of 2009 in Singapore, with the ship being handed over to its new owners on March 18th 2010. [source: wiki]

Built in 1914, the 96-year-old sea veteran will be getting a new lease of life as a hotel here (see the picture below - click on it to get a larger and better view).

As for me, I just like cross-sections Ha! Ha!

Here's a cross-sectional view of another ship, the Space Battleship Yamato. See the full review HERE with more pictures of this Bandai Space Battleship Yamato Mechanic File Set. Released by Bandai in 2006, this set comprised 8 different sections which formed the complete battleship when put together (approximately 36cm long). What was interesting about this set was it offered a cross-section view of the battleship, showing all the technical aspects such as the propulsion, wave motion gun - the Yamato's "trump card", torpedo tubes, side missiles and the hangar where all the fighter planes are contained.

There was also the cut-away German Tiger Tank ABS Plastic model kit made by Targa of Japan. The detailing of this model is outstanding, right down to the crew. This Tiger I tank is 1/48 scale and is about 7 inches or 18 cm long (including main gun), 3 inches or 7.5 cm wide and 2.5 inches or 6.5 cm high. This model came complete in 7 boxes and required assembly of the pre-painted sections but that was part of the fun! It may be small but it is not lacking. Click HERE to view more pictures.

Last but not least, there's this Illuminated Shark Model with dissectible body cavity from National Geographic with a clear shark's body on one side, shark muscles, glow-in-the-dark spine and skull, stomach, intestine and spiral valve, gill and circulatory system, liver, mouth and jaws! All the skeleton and organs can be removed. Only thing you can't do is make Shark's fin soup. I'd posed it with the Sideshow Collectibles "Thunderball" 1/6 scale Sean Connery as James Bond figure (pictures HERE)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Preview: Toms Forrest "Life is like a box of chocolates"

My momma always said, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

"Forrest Gump" is a 1994 American comedy-drama film based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. The film, directed by Robert Zemeckis, stars Tom Hanks, Robin Wright Penn and Gary Sinise. The story is about Forrest Gump, a simple man from Alabama, and his journey through life meeting historical figures, influencing popular culture, and experiencing firsthand historic events of the late 20th century.

And here comes a 1/6 scale 12-inch Toms (Hanks) Forrest (Gump) action figure, complete with bench, suitcase and accessories.

Great spin on the name as well as spoof movie poster. You can certainly see how much fun they had with this one :)

A much younger Tom Hanks than the one we see in "Saving Private Ryan (1998)"

"Stupid is as stupid does."

While Forrest is in recovery for a gunshot wound to his buttocks when he is sent to fight in Vietnam, he discovers his uncanny ability for ping-pong (table tennis), eventually gaining popularity and rising to celebrity status, and later playing ping-pong competitively against Chinese teams in ping pong diplomacy. He is subsequently promoted to sergeant.

Other items in his suitcase; it even has the feather.

The movie opened with Forrest (Tom Hanks), sitting at a bus stop in Savannah, Georgia, telling the story of his life to a woman seated next to him. The listeners at the bus stop change regularly throughout his narration, each showing a different attitude ranging from disbelief and indifference to fascination and enthrallment.

"Hello. My name's Forrest, Forrest Gump. You want a chocolate?"

The attire Forrest wore at the bus stop for his meeting with Jenny, the only girl he ever loved. Once he is reunited with Jenny, she introduces him to his son, also named Forrest.

"Run, Forrest! Run!"

When Jenny left him yet again, Forrest elects to go for a run. He decides to keep running, eventually crossing the country several times over the course of three and a half years, becoming famous and accumulating a large following in the process.

"My momma always said you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes, where they go, where they've been. I've worn lots of shoes, I bet if I think about it real hard I can remember my first pair of shoes. "

Produced on a budget of $55 million, the film had gross receipts of $329,694,499 in the U.S. and Canada and $347,693,217 in international markets for a total of $677,387,716 worldwide. At the 67th Academy Awards, "Forrest Gump" won Best Picture, Tom Hanks won for Best Actor, Robert Zemeckis for Best Director, for a total of 6 Academy wins that night.

Related blog posts:
Young Forrest Gump grows up - article which appeared in The Straits Times, May 12,2008.
And the BEST 1:6 scale Tom Hanks yet (to come) - Previewed HERE

ZCWO Military Specialist PMC Mark Preview aka MW2 "Soap"

John "Soap" MacTavish is a main character in the game Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare as a Sergeant serving as the team's sniper and demolitions expert, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 as a Captain and commanding officer of Gary Sanderson (the main playable character of Modern Warfare 2), and is considered to be the general protagonist in the Modern Warfare series. He plays a major role during the Ultranationalist crisis, a newcomer to the British SAS and part of Captain Price's Bravo Team. [source: Call of Duty wiki]

And from ZC WOrld comes this 1/6 12-inch Military Specialist PMC Mark action figure that sure looks to resemble "Soap". John "Soap" MacTavish has been the subject of many kitbashes in the forums and Loading Toys even released a "Soap" headsculpt last year but this figure by ZCWO is pretty complete with all his kit and gear.

Note the muscle arm sleeves seen in this picture. You are supposed to slip it on to give John the instant muscular arms look. Not sure how it'll work out though. Reminds me of the old Dragon skin sleeves which didn't pan out in the end (view pictures HERE of said arms)

Also note the extra magazines provided. Why ZCWO decided to equip a figure with one type of weapon and then give him spare mags for an entirely different weapons system is beyond me!

Overally, the gear and kit ain't too bad. If only they would correct the magazine issue.

But this new 1/6 sniper rifle weapon is NICE :)

This is a 1/6 scale Desert Tactical Arms Stealth Recon Scout (SRS) sniper rifle. From DTA's site: "The Stealth Recon Scout (SRS) is the most versatile sniper weapon system in the world. Whether a police sniper is shooting 50 yards or a military sniper is shooting a mile, the SRS offers unrivaled flexibility in an overall package that is shorter then the standard M16 Battle Rifle."

Sunday, March 28, 2010

"OK, boys; let's go make a withdrawal"

Here's Heroic 1/6 scale Bank Robber (reviewed in the previous post) with his gang of bank robbers. There aren't that many 12-inch Prohibition Era (1930s) figures as it is and this latest offering by Heroic based loosely on Johnny Depp as notorious Depression-era bank robber (and beloved folk hero) John Dillinger in "Public Enemies" stands with his gang. Twilight Magic Works released the Cigar smoking gangster John from the Chicago Gang and Louie from the Napoli Gang in the year 2000. The Colt 1921 Thompson Submachine Gun or "Tommy gun" seems to be the favorite weapon of choice.

Louie from the Napoli Gang (more pictures HERE)

Cigar smoking gangster John (link HERE for more pictures)

Heroic 1/6 scale Bank Robber with more bank robbers except he seems to have time traveled to 1995 and joined Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) as he prepares to rob banks in "Heat", a 1995 American crime film written and directed by Michael Mann and starring Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, and Val Kilmer.

Neil McCauley (De Niro) is an ex-con and expert thief who has centered his life around the creed "Do not allow anything into your life which you cannot walk out on in thirty seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."

This attire (suit) is worn by McCauley when he and his crew rob a bank successfully only to have the police surround them when they exit. A chaotic, violent shoot-out then erupts in the busy downtown Los Angeles boulevard, causing mayhem.

More pictures posted HERE

In the beginning of the film, Neil McCauley (De Niro) and his crew, including compulsive gambler Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer) and ex-con turned family man Michael Cheritto (Tom Sizemore) take part in an elaborate robbery of an armored car. They escape with US$1.6 million in bearer bonds from Malibu Equity Investments, a shell company that launders off-shore drug accounts.

More pictures available in my earlier post HERE

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Heroic 1/6 scale Bank Robber REVIEW

"Public Enemies" is a 2009 American crime film co-written and directed by Michael Mann. Set during the Great Depression, it focuses on the true story of Bureau of Investigation agent Melvin Purvis's (Christian Bale) attempts to stop criminals John Dillinger (Johnny Depp), Baby Face Nelson (Stephen Graham) and Pretty Boy Floyd (Channing Tatum).

And from Heroic comes this 1/6 scale 12-inch tall Bank Robber figure that is loosely based on Johnny Depp as John Dillinger. The exploits of Dillinger and his gang, along with those of other criminals of the Great Depression such as Bonnie and Clyde and Ma Barker, dominated the attention of the American press and its readers during what is sometimes referred to as the public enemy era (1931–1935), a period which led to the development of the modern, more sophisticated Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Heroic Bank Robber comes dressed in 1/6 scale attire including basic white, button-down long-sleeve shirt, tie, suspenders, pants with chain and dress shoes.

John Dillinger: "We're having too good a time today. We ain't thinking about tomorrow."

Close-ups of the Heroic Bank Robber head sculpt

He also has a rather nice black leather-looking vest worn over his shirt.

Check out those really fancy shoes. These bank robbers dress really well.

Last but not least, there's the plaid square pattern long, black and double-breasted overcoat. There's also the hat but let's just put that away and not go there. The less said, the better.

In "Public Enemies", John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) carries two Colt M1911A1 pistols kept in a leather cross-draw shoulder holster rig throughout the film, rarely firing them. Heroic's Bank Robber has only one Colt M1911A1 pistol and a standard shoulder holster meant for it.

Here's Heroic 1/6 scale Bank Robber all dressed to rob a bank

Besides being very well-dressed bank robbers, they were also very well armed. Depp as Dillinger has a Colt 1921 Thompson Submachine Gun.

John Dillinger: "You wanna know if we're armed? We're armed."

Colt M1921AC Thompson Submachine Gun ("Tommy Gun") with 30-round magazine. John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) and some of his gangsters, notably "Baby Face" Nelson (Stephen Graham), and FBI agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) use Thompson Submachine Guns throughout the film.

John Dillinger: "The only thing that's important is where somebody's going."
Billie Frechette: "Where are you going?"
John Dillinger: "Anywhere I want."