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

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


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.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Buyer's Remorse 1

Hervé Léger Barbie is currently on top of my buyer's remorse list. I'm not a fan of the Louboutin face mold mainly because of the size of her face, especially on a skinny model muse body. If it's such a wonderful mold then why was it revised to create the Mermaid mold? Plus, there were a lot of dolls with this mold that didn't sell well, they had to be sold at discounted prices. Overrated.

I bought the set because of the accessories but I think the dresses are just glorified sock dresses. Sock dressmaking is level 0 in doll dressmaking. These are not real body-contouring dresses that are designed to shape and support the body. Barbie's body does not need support and it's the (sock) dress that follows the contour of the body. If one can find the right socks, one can make a similar dress. Like what I've said, glorified.

I thought of selling the pieces I don't like but selling is such a hassle as compared to just forgetting about them.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Best Buy Brushes

If you're a hobbyist from the Philippines who wants to try repainting dolls, don't use the Best Buy brushes from National Bookstore. You want the bristles of the brushes to cling together for you to be able to paint fine lines. The Best Buy brushes don't behave that way. I use brushes from Deovir or Lil's Hobby Shop at SM Malls.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Marvel Universe (4-inch) scale Hulkbuster

Ever since watching the second Avengers movie, I have been hunting for a Hulkbuster toy that blends well with my 4-inch action dolls. I almost bought the old figure from the Iron Man movie but toy reviews weren't kind to its size. (Men and the size of their toys...) I figured, I can wait for the movie figure even if there wasn't any announced for release. Maybe next year...

The waiting paid off. It's not a licensed product but I don't care. It will just be a prop or plaything for my Hulk. It's not a major character. It's not like the Hulkbuster will appear in another movie in the future. Aside from the small size of the licensed toy, the higher price also kept me from buying it knowing that I won't be using it as much. This unlicensed Hulkbuster is a better choice for me.

comparison shot

This toy costs less than half of the current local price for the fully articulated 4-inch figures. It has more than 5 points of articulation, the standard for the 4-inch movie figures. Even with the limited articulation, posing it with my Hulk action dolls is still fun.

The shoulders can rotate 360° but the arms cannot be raised sideways. The elbows can be moved by just about 45°. The knees can be moved by about 90°. The helmet can be flipped open to show a human head but it doesn't look anything like Tony Stark (not pictured). The hips are ball and socket joints and they are really loose. The legs can be removed and returned from the hip joint.

This Hulkbuster looks good from the front but the manufacturer skimped on the back paint details. The holes for the screws don't help the aesthetics either.

Before I forget, upon opening the package, the toy had an unpleasant chemical smell which lasted for about a day. Or maybe it's still there but I just got used to the smell. Who knows? Talk about dangerous toys. It's a risk I'm willing to take. It's not like I'll be handling this toy for a long time. Like all toys we accumulate, it will be in storage most of the time.

This figure is about $5.50 in a toy store at EDSA Central. A local eBay seller is selling it for about $5 while another sells it for less than $7. This is sold for only $2.60 in Divisoria.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Broken Jianidi Hands

It just broke. This should answer questions about the quality or durability.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Support System

A "stand" is used to help a doll stand. What do we call something to help a doll seem to fly, float or levitate? A fly, like the insect? Float, like with the root beer? Levitate? Let's just call it the support system, for now.

I have been seeing these in toy blogs I follow and I have been wanting to have some. It would be nice to use these in a toy tableu for the flying, high-jumping or levitating characters. I was lucky to find one at a secondary market.

The packaging comes in a completely foreign Asian language as shown above. I have no idea about the manufacturer nor is there any readable instructions on how to use it. I guess part of the fun is making sense of the parts and customize the assembly based on your needs.

I was able to set it up to support two action dolls, with a few parts to spare. Although the support system is made of light plastic, it can carry the weight of the figures without moving at the hinges even if I left the setup for a couple of days.

A pack of the support system costs about US$5 locally. It's about the same price as a Kaiser doll stand for playscale dolls. While the Kaiser stand is durable since it is made of metal, this clear plastic support system is more versatile. I just wish that it came in a resealable box or plastic bag. There are too many small part that one can easily lose.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Barbie Style Glam Vacation (a.k.a. Barbie Style Resort) Grace

From the promo pictures, I have decided that this doll is a must-have for me. We'll go to the why's later but like most things, let's start with the name. Others call this wave as the Barbie Style Resort but the box clearly says it is Barbie Style Glam Vacation. The price tag at the back of the box agrees with the former. To keep it simple, let's just call her Grace.

Of the three dolls, I just wanted Grace. I initially like the hat on Barbie and Summer's outfit but the hat seemed very heavy and shiny in person while the pants are shiny, too.

Style can be timeless but timing factors in fashion and demand. Dolls should be made available while they are hot (or "trending" in today's words). I'm glad that it was the case for this doll. Usually, the dolls are released locally 6 months to over a year after it was popular in social media. They are passé by that time.

A proper and timely distribution means that the manufacturer and distributor know how to listen and cater to their client. And clients like me will continue to support them because of that. I'm done with jumping through hoops (like buying online) just to get a doll. If a toy company doesn't know how to make their toys reach me on time, my money won't reach them either. This doll passed the distribution criteria and that is one of the reasons why I'm glad to talk about this doll.

Another reason is the price. These are being sold at the same price as the stiff Fashionista dolls (which have become peg warmers and are now being sold at 30% off the original price in some stores). The fully articulated Barbie Style dolls are being sold over twice as much as this doll so they will be peg warmers as well, rightfully. These Glam Vacation dolls are reasonably priced and that is why they get my support unlike other Barbie dolls.

I also like Grace's style. It's a good idea that she can mix and match outfits later on. Blue is my favorite color but the main reason why I must have this doll is the strappy gladiator sandals.  Since I'm too lazy to create something like those, I opt to buy them. Not only is this doll freed from the high heels which most feminist see as a some sort of binding (like fashion doll collectors really care about that), dolls can now wear fashionable flat foot wear. Mattel should recreate them in different natural colors.

Grace compared to a clone Teresa head on a Nikki body

Speaking of colors, this Grace doll comes in a new (relative to the last year's Fashionista, Life in the dream house and Barbie style dolls) skin tone. Grace is slightly darker than Nikki. New skin tones will be added to the playline lineup as well but most of them come in stiff bodies.

As expected, flat footed Grace is shorter than the dolls with arched feet. The new foot design prevents her from wearing a lot of Barbie shoes. It also makes her shorter than other dolls.

There are some little details that I don't like about the doll. The lack of articulation (on the bust, ankle and knees) is one. The head is also little wobbly on mine. There's a little paint splatter on the bag. All of these I can take as long as there's a lot of saving grace.

Grace  typically uses the Mbili face mold. This Grace doll looks like she is still using the Mbili mold but inspecting the nape reveals that it is a new mold patented in 2011. The Mbili mold was patented in 2001.

Personally, I don't see any difference between the two, even in the size. I initially thought that Grace's head is bloated like the rest of the playline dolls but it is really nice to find out that I don't have to shrink her head. Her eyes needs to be smaller so she will be repainted later.