Showing posts with label review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label review. Show all posts

Monday, January 22, 2018

Road Bot 1:18 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII

Some things aren't as simple as what they seem to be. That's just one of the things one can learn from toys that transform from one thing to another, like this Road Bot toy. Unlike the Transformers, these characters didn't come with biography or history so the owner is free to imagine if the character is "good" or "bad". This is my second Road Bot. I enjoyed my Land Cruiser Road Bot and decided to buy another car model. 


Lucky for me, this car in not included in the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN). Because of the new tax law, excise tax on automobiles have increased. While the TRAIN is seemingly "good", since it taxes those who earn more and exempt more people from taxes, things aren't are simple as they seem.

Even before the TRAIN was implemented, minimum wage earners are already exempted from personal income tax. They will not have a bigger take-home pay upon the implementation of the TRAIN.  The TRAIN included an increase in excise tax on petroleum products and introduced a tax a sugar-sweetened beverages. This will affect the minimum wage earners, making their expenses higher. Without an increase in the take-home pay, TRAIN is "bad" for around 2 million minimum-wage-earning Filipinos.


I belong to those whose take-home pay increased due to the TRAIN. That means, I have more money to buy toys and buy I did. I also bought this online so I don't know if proper taxes will be remitted to the government. A lot of online sellers locally are tax evaders. If they don't issue receipts approved by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, they probably are tax evaders. Maybe the TRAIN should have addressed tax evasion on online selling, too.

One thing I like about this Lancer Road Bot that the Land Cruiser Road Bot didn't have is the car interior. I can force-fit an 1:18 scale action doll inside and make it look like she/he is driving.

(Right-hand drive)

I don't like the proportion of the arms to the torso in the robot form. The arms looks skinny and they are flimsy when holding a pose.


What better characters can we pair with robots having deceptive appearances than a couple of spies? Here, Agent 13 and Black Widow are on a secret rendezvous with their new weapons, the Roadbots.


In the past few months, I've been in my Black Widow mode while dealing with people who doesn't care about people who have been adversely affected by the changes implemented by the government. They don't care if some people are getting killed as long as they are safe. They don't care if some people will suffer more as long as they have more take-home pay. Just they wait.


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Male China Doll

In the spirit of pursuing close economic and political ties with China, while downplaying the territorial dispute between our countries, let's talk about a doll I purchased online directly sourced from that country. There was a time when this doll was priced at around US$3 but now, the lowest price I saw for this doll is US$5. While I think that the US$5 price is still reasonable, I don't think I'll be buying another one any time soon. I do feel lucky to have got it at a lower price but at the back of my mind, I feel there is something wrong and I can't figure out what it is at the moment.


The doll came in a nondescript box with shipping labels. Judging from the labels, the item was shipped from China to a Lazada office before it was sent to me. As with most Lazada items, this was paid with cash on delivery so there is lower risk for the buyer. Inside the box, the item was wrapped in what seemed like Chinese newspaper (or it could be some Chinese government publication for propaganda purposes for all I know). This wrapper reminded me of the good old days.

The last time I bought something wrapped in newspaper was when we were poor. As a kid, I used to buy dried fish (daing or tuyo) at the suking tindahan. (See, I didn't italicize Filipino words. Deal with it.) Four small pieces are enough for a family of four. The very salty taste of the fish can be balanced with heaps of steamed rice. Dip the fish in vinegar and it's a feast. When we buy dried fish these days, we can no longer buy per piece. We have to buy it per pack, in plastic, mind you! We're rich now.

Feeling rich and #feelingblessed, I opened the package for my new doll. It's so white, like the rich people of the Philippines! Ok, I'm not the rich yet. I have a natural tan. I'm closer in color to your average Fashionista Ken, below.


At first glance, the male China doll looks like a copy of the Ken Fashionista, except for the head. The head looks familiar, though, making me think it might be copied from another doll. I'm not a doll-know-it-all so I can't say for sure. I'm getting a Prince Charming vibe but I searched for Prince Charming dolls and they were different. I like the face sculpt but the face paint is too bland for me. This is a good candidate for a repaint but I'm uninspired to paint these days. Go ask the world if you wanna know why.


The neck articulation is similar to the older Ken dolls with rotation only (no bending at the neck) although the neck joint is different. The hook is attached to the torso on this doll. I'd like to think that Mattel copied this idea for their new dolls and modified it a bit (using a hemispherical surface instead of a flat surface where the hook protrudes from). China is an expert in making things cheap (in more than one sense) and Mattel can learn (or has learned) a thing or two from Chinese manufacturers/designers.


It is easier to make this doll slip into (now dated) slim fit pants because you can adjust the foot. The feet on this doll has better articulation than your playline Ken doll but it doesn't necessarily mean it is better. I've read a review that the peg that holds the foot in place breaks easily (like how easily the hand broke on one of my  Chinese dolls). I'm very careful when taking the shoes off this doll as the foot might get stuck on the shoe. 


The hands on this doll is similar to the Harley Davidson Ken doll. It looks more relaxed than the Fashionista hands. Like the feet, the hands feel like they can be easily pulled from the arm breaking the peg. I won't risk ruining his hands just for the sake of certainty.


Speaking of how easy it is to break this doll, another joint that can easily be broken is the hip joint. I have tried to pry the legs off the hips of both Ken and Barbie dolls and it's tough. Doing that to this doll feels effortless in comparison. The arms and legs on this doll feels more like soft vinyl and not hard plastic making it more prone to staining.


This made me think. Why are these toys, intended for the Chinese market, not designed for tough play like those designed for Western market? Are the kids in the West more violent in playing with their toys? Am I being a Robin Padilla in asking that question? Or maybe I'm not being Robin Padilla enough for accommodating something foreign and lowering my expectations.

This toy is cheap and some may argue that you get what you pay for. Does that mean if I paid US$10 for this same toy instead of what I actually paid (US$3 total including shipping), the toy will magically be sturdier? This item is being sold are different prices ranging up to US$16.

Instead of a sense of happiness with a peace of mind, this toys leaves me with a lot of questions. This toy is just a little reflection of how things have been changing. Whether this change is good or bad, only time will tell. But if you're the type of person who thinks that change is good, go change your face.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Marvel Universe Jessica Jone aka Jewel


Despite the reduced articulation for the recent 4-inch Marvel Legends or more popularly known as Marvel Universe dolls, I was really interested in this Jessica Jones figure. It might be due to her unicorn-inspired color scheme. Who doesn't love pink hair, right?


She also has a good face sculpt, one of the prettiest for the toy line, to be honest. Her hair is gorge, not over the top. Her face is painted perfectly. She could use a lighter expression to match her unicorn-inspired look, though. Her tough expression is more appropriate to her jaded version. It was in her happier and naive days when Jessica Jones went by the name Jewel and wore this costume. A number of tragedies transformed her to a tough and serious character portrayed in the Netflix series.


If it wasn't for her molded belt, I would have bought a number of her. Without her belt, she could be a great base for custom female figures. It's good thing I only bought one, though. She has problematic knees.


Despite her shortcomings, I decided to get her at full price since we rarely get female characters. When we do, they usually sell out instantly.  And this is my first Marvel character with pink hair!



Monday, October 23, 2017

More Conversion

Here is the Jessica Jones action doll. This costs PhP749.75 while Hasbro sells it online for US$12.99. This is distributed locally by Playkit.



And here is the comparison of price conversion of some toys from Hasbro and Mattel.

From Mattel (distributed locally by Richwell/Richprime)
- Barbie 2017 Holiday doll = US$39.95 = PhP3,999.75 (PhP100.12 per US$)
- Barbie Fashionista = US$9.99 = PhP999.75 (PhP100.07 per US$)
- Justice League True-Moves (12-inch doll) = US$9.99 = PhP899.75 (PhP90.07 per US$)
- Justice League basic figure (6-inch) = US$9.99 = PhP899.75 (PhP90.07 per US$)

From Hasbro (distributed locally by Playkit)
- Star Wars Forces of Destiny doll = US$24.99 = PhP1,999.75 (PhP80.02 per US$)
- Star Wars (12-inch basic figure) = US$9.99 = PhP799.75 (PhP80.06 per US$)
- Marvel Legends Series (6-inch) = US$19.99 = P1,499.75 (PhP75.03 per US$)
- Marvel Legends Series (4-inch) = US$12.99 = PhP749.75 (PhP57.72 per US$)

The US$ prices are the prices posted on Habro or Mattel online shops. The PhP prices are the local retail prices prior to discounts, if any.

What a difference!!!


Monday, February 27, 2017

Road Bot 1:18 Toyota Land Cruiser


I grew up enjoying the Transformers but I outgrew them. Even the live action movies seemed alien to me. The main reason I bought this Road Bot is that it can transform to a 1:18 scale vehicle, something I could use with my 4-inch action dolls. 


The packaging, with photos of the doors that can be opened, really intrigued me. I wondered if a 4-inch doll could fit inside. Although it would still work as a prop, it would be a lot better if someone can drive it. I tried to look for more info online before I decided to buy it.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Peace Keeper



It could be China's claim on disputed territories causing tension in the region. It could be the rise of murder and extra-judicial killing victims in our country. It could be the diplomatically-challenged pronouncements of our president about going against the world while teaming up with Russia and China, even if we have territorial disputes with the latter (or, technically, as far UNCLOS is concerned, it's no longer a dispute because we've already won the case). Or it could be the U.S. (economic, military and political) forces in our country making us feel like a manipulated colony. These just call for peace keepers, not the United Nations kind. Not yet, anyways. (Things can still be handled with media spinning, trolling and misinformation.) I was thinking of peace keepers of the mind. Peace of mind is a luxury these days.



For me, toys helps with the peace keeping of the mind. What better way to do it than with the World Peacekeepers toy line? I, of course, picked up the Asian-looking doll. No matter how faithful I was to the American toy brands, they failed to address my need for a respectable male Asian doll. I have no choice but to patronize a Chinese toy brand even if I don't like everything I'm getting from the deal. Their male Asian doll looks respectable and not culturally misappropriated like some of those made by American brands. I just don't like the deadly weapons. They don't scream peace, right? And I'm not a fan of military fashion.



I saw at least three Asian-looking dolls. They seemed like they have the same face but with different hairstyles. I picked this one because of the ladder it came with. It also came with one pair of bare hands and another pair wearing gloves. The other variants only have gloved hands. It also has the least military-looking attire. He can even look like a meth cook. Our president will be pissed. He also has a balaclava, in case he wants to be a vigilante and support our president.



If there is such a thing as having too much chest, this doll has it. It is a little shorter than my other male dolls, providing at least some height variety. It has better articulation than your average Ken doll. The "best" part of this Chinese deal is the price, which is said to be a product of one-sided trade policies of China. That makes me wonder what one-sided deal our president recently got from China.



My patronizing this Chinese brand does not mean I will say goodbye to the American brand. It doesn't have be just one or the other. Making contradicting sides work together is key for world peace. I, thank you!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

How do you measure

I have always felt that the stiff Fashionista doll heads using the Lea/Kayla mold are too big for my taste but I always doubt myself whenever I see photos of those dolls along with other dolls I consider using the old size. They seem to be just about the same size, just like the dolls below.



In this day and age, wherein you read a lot of things that seem valid, sound, intelligent or truthful, I'm glad I have been trained to doubt, even myself. It's hard to tell what's true just by looking. One way to find out if the new doll head is indeed bigger than the others, is to use something impartial, like a caliper. (It is important to know where you get your information. The bias of the source can transform the information to something skewed. Make sure the source is impartial about the topic.) Before you go on reading, try to guess (but keep it to yourself) which of the dolls above has the biggest and smallest head.
I have ordered the dolls from the biggest (leftmost) to the smallest (rightmost) as my guess. I may have an advantage in guessing since I've had more than one view of the dolls.


The first doll is an unmodified stiff Fashionista doll head. I have have decided to measure the distance between the two tragi as they seem to be independent of the face paint or how high the hairline was rooted. The caliper reads somewhere between 24mm and 25mm. I read it as 24.65mm.


The next doll is another stiff Fashionista but this time it has been soaked in a shrinking solution for about 12 hours. It has been 5 days since the soak. I'm expecting it to shrink further after about a week. For now, it measures 23.80mm.



The next doll is Bead Party Lea which was released around 2003. Although she has big eyes, I really like her. That is why I haven't modified her in any way. She measures 23.20mm from tragus to tragus.


The 4th doll has another shrunken head, but it was soaked using the same shrinking solution for about 24 hours. It has been months since it was soaked so I don't think it will shrink any further. It measures 22.65mm. 
 
There is a 2-mm difference between the 1st and the 4th doll. The difference is insignificant, isn't it? That translate to 1.2cm for a life-sized person. If the width of your face increased by 1.2cm, wouldn't you think you've gained weight?
 



Photos, even if they are not edited, can trick someone to perceive size differently. Here are the two dolls side by side. The size difference is more apparent than in the first photo. The photos have not been warped so it can't be said they're not telling the truth. The photo directly above and the first photo may tell different stories but it doesn't mean one is lying. It could just be a difference in perspective.


While I was at it, I decided to measure two more dolls with the same head mold. The Shakira doll (ca2002) above measures 23.10mm. The Monte Carlo doll (ca2006) below measures 23.05mm. The Bead Party (ca2003) is 23.20mm. All three are older dolls and their measurements are close to each other. I personally prefer the old measurements.
 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Apocalypse

If Captain America: Civil War was like a reality TV show wherein you enjoy watching personalities clash, X-Men: Apocalypse is a beauty pageant. Aptly set in the 80's, a time when going big was in fashion, the Bryan Singer film showcased mutant power in full volume.  One will be in awe as each mutant lavishly parades his/her powers.  Mix the power pageantry with the usual story about the triumph of humanity, a.k.a. world peace, as this always work with everybody with a hardened heart, and all you need is the crown.

Sweep the dead bodies under the rug or dump them in the talahiban, the usual dumping place for the bodies of the victims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines back in the 80's. Moviegoers will still feel good when they walk out the theater. Forget the people who died, forget the dead X-man. We don't respect the dead nor the heroes like we used to do. We will allow a real life dictator to be buried alongside war heroes. The people we root for win, didn't they?  The movie ended with rebuilding, anyways. Like when they build over the dead bodies in the Manila Film Center, remember? Oh wait, we try not to remember those. 

Apocalypse could learn a thing or two from famous dictators. Storm and Magneto wouldn't be turncoats had Apocalypse charmed them with his vision of a new world. Apocalypse lacks the charm of a powerful dictator. Some dictators have long been dead but still have a strong following.  A good dictator knows how to teach his subjects to keep their eyes on the prize. Focus on the good things. Look at the shiny and bright things. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Hero vs Hero

After watching the hero vs hero movies from DC and Marvel, I can't help notice some similarities. Here are some.


In Batman vs Superman (BVS), there was no clear motivation why Lex Luthor is doing what he's doing. He just seems crazy. Making  a character crazy is an easy way out compared to creating a backstory to explain the villain's motivation.

In Civil War (CW), Helmut Zemo may have a backstory but it wasn't shown. It was just told. The objective was, of course, not to make the audience empathize with the villain. The reveal of the villain's backstory was used to enlighten another character, T'challa. I also didn't get why Zemo had to reveal that he framed up Bucky. He could have destroyed the evidence and released the video of Tony Stark's parents, to further fuel Tony's anger earlier on. 

Both movies lack an interesting villain. At least, BVS had Doomsday.


In both hero vs hero movies, I wasn't moved by any side. I didn't empathize with Superman and I feel Batman is too angry and afraid. I thought Batman was a good detective. He should have made a thorough investigation to see if Superman was indeed a threat. Superman, on the other hand, just didn't seem to care at all with what's going on around him.  He didn't have a clue that he was being set up. A quick x-ray scan of the building could have saved a lot of people.

I wasn't Team Iron-man nor Team Cap as well.  I understand Tony felt the guilt for the collateral damage while Steve has this guilt of not being able to save his friend. The thing is, it was hard to share their guilt. Didn't we celebrate when the heroes defeated the villains even if we knew that there was some damages, some lives lost? Didn't we rationalize how the death toll could be higher had the Avengers didn't do what they did? Tony's guilt may be sensible but I felt it wasn't strong enough to make me side with him. I've always seen him as a person with a big ego so his wanting himself placed under some organization's control also doesn't make sense.

I don't also didn't get Cap. How could he place so many people's life in danger just to save someone who can already save himself? I feel for all the soldiers he beat up just to keep Bucky safe. Also, Chris Evans is not a great actor. For those who is used to watching action and sci-fi movies may find his abilities good enough but not me. Maybe I'd appreciate him more if he had a nude scene.

The issues between heroes for both movies could have been settled diplomatically but then the movie would have a lot of talk time, less action scenes. The truth is, a lot of us only wanted to see a brawl between two or more heroes. At least, we got that. It doesn't have to make sense.


Losing a parent is no laughing matter but when it is overused, it becomes a cliche like in both movies. People who get to hear that story over and over will eventually get desensitized.  Yeah, it adds to the backstory, giving a clear motivation. It's also adds to the drama but it's getting... *yawns* Speaking of drama, Steve should have died in CW, for the sake of drama... or comedy if you get the point.


Both BVS and CW introduced new characters that will eventually be part of the team. BVS storytellers are really too lazy imagining an incident where the introduction was called for. The introduction doesn't really add to the story. The same is true with adding Ant-man and Spider-man, even the return of Hawkeye. They were just added for the rumble because it is what we really paid for. (T'challa's appearance fit in the story, so I don't see a problem there.)  If you are going against your own team, the same people whom you somewhat trusted before, why would you turn to someone new, someone whose reliability hasn't been tested yet? Why did Steve trusted Ant-man and why was Tony bringing in a kid to a fight? What have these new characters done to gain the trust of the older characters? What if they were Hydra? Are Steve and Tony really evil such that they are willing to sacrifice the safety of other people just to further their goal?

I really think some of them should die already, like Cap and Hawkeye. They died in the comics. It reminds me of beauty pageant question: if you're going to die, why not now? At least, Superman died.

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Dark Knight Rises: Battle for Gotham City, Batmobile with Batman (2012)


This Batmobile toy was initially released in 2012. I'm assuming it was a flop since I have been seeing this being sold in Divisoria for quite sometime. I don't collect DC toys so I didn't buy it then but every time I was in the store, I kept looking at it. The Batman toy also looked crappy. The Batmobile, aka the Tumbler looked really cool, though. It can work with my 4-inch Marvel Universe action dolls. For PhP700 (less discount), it feels like a good deal. (It is being sold online locally for PhP1100.) I did enjoy the Decool Tumbler I got for my nephew and I thought I should get my own version.



As with a lot of Mattel toys, this, too, is difficult to remove from the box. It has some locking mechanism I don't understand. I did try following the illustration but it didn't release the toy. I just pulled the car from the cardboard. A strong force is needed. I don't think a kid can do it. The kid would just be frustrated.


the locking mechanism

From the photos on the box, the spoilers(?) on the car are raised. I felt fooled when I found out that the spoilers cannot be raised. They are also made of rubbery material which is good. The spoiler could be the first to break if they are made of hard plastic. This toy just invites the player to handle it roughly. 

The spoilers can't be raised but they can be bent.

The Batman action doll feels like a knock-off. The plastic feels cheap. The one I got has splayed legs. It has poor articulation when compared to Hasbro action dolls on the same scale. This poor standard was the Mattel standard for action dolls in this scale.


The Batmobile feels light since it is mostly hollow. It has enough details making it look good in pictures. Most 4-inch action dolls can fit inside although it is very cramped.


The rear wheels are made of rubber while the front wheels are not. They roll quite easily. The body is made of hard plastic but it doesn't feel like it can crack easily. The car can survive some rough playing. It can be bumped to the wall or other toys. It may have some dents and scratches but it could give cool a battle-worn effect.


For less than PhP700 (around US$15), this is a good buy compared to the Captain America with Motorcycle from the Captain America: Civil War toys. I don't even remember Captain America with a motorcycle from that movie. It was Bucky who did an awesome trick with a motorbike.


This is one of the most iconic Batmobile design from one of the best Batman movies. The Batmobile from the Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice has a sensible design as well, but it wasn't offered in a scale for 4-inch dolls.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

12-inch Pattiz Special Forces Figure

It looks good in photos but it really has poor quality. This 12-inch action doll by Pattiz has a nice packaging which can make the uninformed (read: me) think that it is worth at least US$22.



It came with a lot of props but there's nothing interesting for me, except for the two extra pair of hands. No doll stand was included. The first thing that made me think of not buying this is the skin tone. It's grayish.



There are other variants, although I only saw three. There are no other ethnicity available. I picked this one because I thought it came with beige footwear. I later found out that it's black haphazardly painted with beige for a distressed look. The paint left a sticky feel.



This body isn't versatile. There aren't many heads that can be compatible with this body. Making this figure stand is also a challenge. It has loose joints at the knees and ankles. The plastic feels brittle and light. It looks okay from the front.



The back tells another story. The screw holes could use plugs to make it look more pleasing but this toy probably wasn't design for nudity. It seems like it has double-jointed knees making it kneel nicely but no. It has one hinge on the knee but the back of the upper leg has a groove. I thought it was ingenious although the sculpt could be made more smooth.



The doll is good looking. There is enough articulation to make it look like the doll is a model who knows how to work it.

The doll also came with playscale money and I thought of using it for a literal money shot.



I may have enough fun taking pictures of this doll but I don't think I'll be buying anymore.