Monday, October 27, 2014

Kotobukiya Updates Tomy's Z-Knights




A while back, I published a retrospective post about Zoids, Tomy's popular line of motorized toy robot kits. One of its lesser known spin-offs was Z-Knights. This other toy line matched the overall design aesthetic of the Zoids (e.g., intricate designs that allowed for motion, tiny pilot figures, rubber connector cap, etc.) but instead of robots shaped dinosaurs, insects and other animals, Z-Knights were robots with humanoid forms that would lumber along on two legs courtesy of wind-up or battery-powered motors.


Two robots from the original Z-Knights toy line.


Z-Knights disappeared from toy shelves about as quickly as they arrived, but they haven't been forgotten by Zoid fans. Thus, Kotobukiya just released upgraded versions of two of the Z-Knight kits--Type-K and Type-V--for both dedicated Zoid collectors and new robot hobbyists alike. Click below to see how Kotobukiya breathed new life into these amazing robot designs (photos courtesy of Hobby Search).

Thursday, October 16, 2014

New: A 25-Inch Jaws 3 Collectible Shark from Shark City Ozark!


To paraphrase one of the taglines for Jaws 3, here's a deadly new attraction . . . that you can add to your Jaws collection, courtesy of Shark City Ozark (SCO).




The new Jaws 3 shark is part of the SCO Ultimate Bruce Shark Collector's Set, which previously consisted of intricate, scale-accurate models of the mechanical sharks that were used in Jaws and Jaws 2. Like the previous entries in this set, these sharks are thickly roto-cast out of pure undiluted white resin, making them almost solid with over a half-dozen layers of thickness. Such casting makes the sharks more stable to ship and a lighter weight to handle and display (which probably makes the SCO Ultimate Bruce Shark Collector's Set sharks much more durable than the actual mechanical sharks themselves). Click here to pre-order the Jaws 3 shark, and each shark will include a Certificate of Authenticity.

Thankfully, SCO shared some pictures with me about their latest contribution to the Jaws fan community, and you can click below to see the pictures and learn more details about this fin-tastic Jaws 3 shark replica courtesy of Mike V. Schultz, SCO owner and sculptor extraordinaire.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Nerd Rant: The Super-Awesome Wii Star Wars Video Game That Could Have Been




Since Disney bought Lucasfilm back in 2012, tidbits about unfinished Lucasfilm projects--particularly video games--have been slowly coming to the surface. Earlier this week, a bitter bit of news arrived for those of us who are both Star Wars fans and avid Nintendo Wii owners: Somewhere out there, there's a complete first-person Star Wars video game that allows players to use Wii Motion Plus controls to pilot Star Wars vehicles (such as X-Wings and Speeder bikes) and engage in lightsaber duels, but this game will probably never see the light of day. Oh, the pain, the pain ....

Wii had a good selection of Star Wars games, such as the Force Unleashed titles and the Lego Star Wars series, but a first-person Motion Plus game set in the Star Wars universe would have been the absolute best. Read on for more details about this chapter of Star Wars video gaming that will never be.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Planet of the Apes and Mego, Together Again




As it has done with the Predator license, NECA has been producing an impressive selection of merchandise under the Planet of the Apes license. So far, it has released intricate, multi-jointed figures based on both the original Apes movie series and the reboot that started in 2011 with Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Now, NECA is returning to another area of the Apes franchise that hasn't been seen since the '70s: figures based on the classic Mego 8-inch action figure design. Mego produced a line of Planet of the Apes toys during the mid-'70s, with figures based on characters from both the movies and the live-action TV series that aired in 1974.


Some of Mego's original Planet of the Apes action figures.


NECA's line of Mego-styles Apes figures will begin with two characters from the original 1968 Planet of the Apes movie: a gorilla soldier and George Taylor, the astronaut character who was played by Charlton Heston. Both figures will come with cloth suits and accessories, and will feature impressively sculpted head designs; in fact, NECA's Taylor figure is the first of its kind to bear the likeness of Heston. Both figures will be released in early 2015, and you can place your pre-orders here and here.

Hopefully, these figures will be successful enough that NECA will produce more Mego-like figures from the original Apes films. I'd personally like to see NECA release a figure based on the underground mutants from Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), complete with removable face.


The underground mutants from Beneath the Planet of the Apes,
holding their faces in hand and singing praises to a nuclear missile.



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Space Travel Tech of Alien: Isolation




After a long wait, Creative Assembly's Alien: Isolation finally hit the store shelves a few days ago and the response by both critics and gamers alike has been extremely positive. From what I've gathered by reading the reviews, this game does a superb job at re-creating the look and feel of the Alien universe as it was originally envisioned by Ridley Scott, but how much you'll enjoy Isolation depends upon how much you can tolerate being stalked and killed by a towering Xenomorph over and over and over again.

As with most other quality games based on established franchises, the visual designs in Isolation expand upon its source material in exciting and engrossing ways. Concept artist and illustrator Brad Wright recently posted a few pictures of the game's concept art on Deviantart.com, so I snagged a few to focus the game's primary space vehicles: the Aneisdora, the space vessel that transports a Xenomorph to the space station Sevastopol; and the Torrens, the space vessel that takes Amanda Ripley (daughter of Ellen Ripley) to Sevastopol to retrieve the flight recorder from the lost Nostromo. Click below to see more pictures of these latest additions to the Alien saga's fleet.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Star Wars: Rebels Premiere Rockets Into Hyperspace




I've been very busy lately, but not too busy to catch the premiere episode of the new Star Wars: Rebels animated series. If what I saw was any indication, we're looking at the start of a new era for the blockbuster space opera franchise.

I tuned into Rebels primarily because I am a die-hard Star Wars fan. I love all six of the movies, I love the Clone Wars animated series, and I have loved many of the toys, video games, comic books and novels that the franchise has produced over the years. Long after other sci-fi franchises have either come to a complete stop or have been content to recycle the same plots over and over again (e.g., Robotech, Star Trek, Terminator, etc.), Star Wars has kept me engaged by expanding and exploring a sweeping, multi-generational saga from a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Star Wars: Rebels looks to be a fantastic addition to the saga, and the first that doesn't involve anyone with the last name of "Skywalker". As the title suggests, the series tells the story of a small band of rebels (including a former Jedi, an ace Twil'lek pilot, and a teenage boy who exhibits the early signs of Force sensitivity) as they fight against the Empire on the Outer Rim world of Lothal. It takes place five years before A New Hope, so many details from the original Star Wars trilogy are in abundance in Rebels: TIE Fighters, Stormtroopers, and Star Destroyers are nearly omnipresent on and around Lothal.




The premiere episode is a fun romp that introduces the characters and sets up the series' basic premise and relationships. It makes numerous callbacks to the original trilogy in terms of scenes, dialog, and background music motifs, as well as a few key nods to the prequel trilogy: Obi-Wan Kenobi's warning message to the surviving Jedi in Revenge of the Sith plays a significant role, and there's a line of dialog about "masters and apprentices" towards the end of the episode that mirrors similar dialog about the the Sith at the end of Phantom Menace. The nods to the prequel trilogy serve as a poignant reminder of how much the galaxy has turned against the Jedi, turning Jedis from hunters of the Sith to being ruthlessly hunted by a Sith-led galactic Empire. Furthermore, many of the production team members from the Clone Wars animated series were brought over to work on Rebels and their experience at producing exciting, action-packed CG animated shows in spades. Like the predecessor cartoon, Rebels delivers the kind of space battles, blaster shootouts and lightsaber duels that fans have come to expect from Star Wars.

Even though it is set on Lothal, there are so many places that Rebels can go. So much of the Rebel Alliance's conflict with the Empire was left out of the original trilogy that I can't wait to see what the series has in store for us next. Episode VII can't come soon enough, but Star Wars fans will have plenty to keep them entertained in the meantime with Rebels.


Some of the new--yet very familiar--toys from the Star Wars: Rebels line.



Thursday, October 2, 2014

For Halloween: A Black Skeletal Candelabrum


All Halloween decorations are cool, but some are way cooler than others.




My wife and I found this at a home goods store the other week and at a reasonable price of only $12, we knew we had to have it. Such a magnificently morbid arrangement of skulls, a rib cage and spines--complete with a shiny black finish--looks like something directly out of a European "bone church", so that naturally makes it an ideal way to display candles this Halloween season. Click below for more pictures.