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All posts for the month November, 2014

Gizmo is the cute and adorable Mogwai creature from both Gremlins and Gremlins 2: The new batch films. Unlike the other Mogwai’s spawned from Gizmo when he touches water, Gizmo is very kind in nature; where as all other Mogwai’s tend to be mischievous or vicious.

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Name: Gizmo
Line: Vinyl Collectible Dolls
Manufacturer: Medicom Toy
Released: 2011
Price: Then: $220. Now: $450 MISB Minimum.
Scale: 1:1
Accessories: None

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I found out about this particular Gizmo figure a while ago and after learning about how cool it looked I wanted to get one. Checking out eBay they were quite expensive and I could not justify the heavy price tag of at least $450 for this particular figure. So I decided to wait until I went back to Japan and hopefully buy one from the source. As luck would have it I managed to find one at Mandarake Shibuya for a great price and unopened too. Needless to say it was an instant buy for me. I’ve finally got around to reviewing Gizmo after having him in my collection for a few years now.

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SCULPTING
Even though Gizmo is covered in a fur body suit, parts like the face, ears, hands and feet are sculpted. The sculpting is quite detailed and looks very faithful to the source material. He definitely looks cute and cuddly. The fur body suit is great too; the fur looks and feels really nice and not cheap at all, which you would think it would, considering this is meant to a high end recreation of how Gizmo looks in the movie. I feel the look of Gizmo is based more on the second movie then the first.

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PAINT
What paint we have, mainly on the sculpted parts, is excellent. It looks really good and mimics the fleshly parts of Gizmo not covered in fur, really well. I can’t fault it at all, it’s top notch.

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ARTICULATION
Gizmo does feature a bit of articulation, but by no means is he super poseable. Gizmo has a ball jointed head, swivel arms, swivel wrists, swivel crotch and swivel feet. The head and arm articulation is great and you can achieve a good number of poses suitable for Gizmo. The leg articulation is pretty pointless and really just helps make Gizmo not feel like a statue, from the waist down. It’s nice it’s there, but it’s not necessary. Gizmo also features moveable eyes as well, a small lever hidden at the back of the head when moved either left or right, move the eyes either left or right, it’s a pretty cool feature, even if a little limited, but adds a lot to Gizmo, in my opinion.

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ACCESSORIES
This particular version of Gizmo doesn’t come with anything; unlike newer releases like the Santa version (2012) or the 3D Glasses version (2013). But that’s ok, because I like Gizmo just the way he is – without gimmicks, he doesn’t need.

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS
Nothing I can really think of. However, just me careful with the fur, perhaps it might deteriorate if it’s not looked after properly.

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PRICE
I paid around the original retail price of 25,000 Yen, I was lucky enough to find one on my second trip to Japan and my wife went halves with me, because she loves Gizmo too. It’s going to be very hard to find one at that price anymore as they have skyrocketed quite a bit and rightfully so. If you can get one below $400 you are doing all right.

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OVERALL
I really feel this is the most perfect version of Gizmo any company is going to make as it looks incredibly close to the source material and looks very impressive due to its 1:1 scale size. Nothing else out there comes close to being this good! If you can find one at a decent price, I highly recommend picking it up, even more so if you are a big Gremlins fan! Medicom definitely have the market cornered when it comes to the best Gremlins figure, no one else comes close to making anything this good.

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Bootleg Man is made by Real X Head, which is a small Japanese company run by Mori Katsura, who makes vinyl toys. Over the years there have been a number of figures and variations released as well as collaborations with other people or stores. Bootleg Man is a larger size 8” figure or “adult” sized figure from Real X Head, which have proven very popular with sofubi collectors!

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Name: Bootleg Man
Line: N/A
Manufacturer: Real X Head
Released:
2013
Price: First released – 6,000 YEN (guestimate). Now – varies 6,000 – 13,000 YEN
Scale: 8 Inches in height
Accessories: None.

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After having a number of Pheyaos Men and Chaos Men in my Real Head collection, I decided I wanted to add one more variant to that grouping and that variant happened to be Bootleg Man. A couple of purchases later from Mandarake and Yahoo Auctions Japan and a slew of Bootleg Men were heading my way. I don’t want to go totally nuts with Bootleg Man purchases, I think about three will do me atm, hopefully it will stay that way. I want to continue my documentation of Real Head’s figures with my review on the Bootleg Man figure.

Thanks to Andy from Kaiju Korner for helping out and pointing me in the right direction to look for some info on Bootleg Man as it’s pretty hard to find for this figure.

 

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SCULPTING

Bootleg Man features a new head and weapon arm, everything else we’ve seen before, that’s not a bad thing as the Chaos Man body, although readily used, is still an excellent base body. I find it quite amazing that even though a lot of the same figures same the same body, they always look and feel complete and that they are their own figure.

I really like the new head; it’s no surprise to most that this head is referencing a certain Japanese live action TV show that is still being made today. I think it’s a very cool homage and fits in with great with the other figures. It does look a touch oversize, however. The new weapon arm is also great too; it’s got some nice detailing and sits snugly on the end of the arm.

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PAINT

This particular Bootleg Man colour-way was featured in Vice Japan’s ‘A day in the life of: Sofubi Toy Makers’. In the short video we get an insight into how Real Head’s figures are made and shown the masterful work with the airbrush gun by Goto-san, Real Head’s one and only painter. I really enjoyed watching how these figures are painted and it was great to learn a little bit more about Real Head as information can be a bit scarce for those of us who can’t read Japanese.

That said, I really love the metallic blue on this figure, it works really nicely with the sliver and red. I also really like the design work around the head too, it’s pretty sweet. It’s a more subdued colour-way for Bootleg Man when compared to the other ones I’m lucky enough to own, but it’s still pretty neat.

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ARTICULATION

Like Chaos Man and Pheyaos Man, Bootleg Man has the same six points of articulation: head, arms, elbows and waist. All these joints are swivels and can be rotated 360 degrees. For this type of figure and the material it’s made out of, this is a great amount of articulation for the larger size. You can get a good number of subtle, yet expressive poses as well as little more “extreme” ones. It really is a great base body for the small, yet growing, variants and collaborations.

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ACCESSORIES

No accessories for this figure, besides the scarf/neck wrap if you can even call it an accessory. It still looks pretty cool and it’s good this was carried over from the smaller figures.

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POTENIAL PROBLEMS

There are none at all – this is an adult designer toy after all. It is made very well, so there are no issues with it.

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PRICE

I paid around $90 for this particular Bootleg Man, it’s a bit of a mark up, sometimes with Real Head figures you do have to pay a bit more than the normal price for a figure you really want. I bought this particular Bootleg Man from Mandarake in Sibuya, and as per usual they did a great job with their packing and prompt shipping time too.

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OVERALL

I like Bootleg Man a lot, he’s pretty cool, a great homage and you can find him in a lot of awesome and funky colour-ways if you have the patience. Do you need one in your collection? Well that depends how much you like Bootleg Man. I think he’s great and he’s placed alongside my other Real Head figures with pride. Worth picking up if you are a fan of Real Head’s larger figures and want to beef up your collection.

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Bootleg Men!

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Bootleg Man and Pheyaos Man

 

 

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Heath Ledger played Batman’s arch enemy the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s the Dark Knight, with Ledger’s portrayal of the villain receiving high critical praise. Hot Toys made a number of versions of the Joker over the years with the Bank Robber version 2.0 being the most recent.

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Name:The Joker (Bank Robber Version 2.0)
Line: Movie Masterpiece Series
Product Code: MMS 249
Manufacturer: Hot Toys
Released: 2014
Price: Then: $270. Now: $350 MISB Minimum.
Scale: 1/6
Accessories: Various hands and weapons.

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Hot Toys announced this new version of The Joker, Bank Robber Version, this past July, as one of their always highly anticipated Toys Fair exclusive figures. This reveal didn’t come as too much of a surprise to me as for the past few years Hot Toys’ choice of figures has been: one Marvel figure, one DC figure, and one movie figure not related to Marvel or DC. So, that leaves a small amount of choice for what figures to make when it’s fairly common knowledge now days that Hot Toys use their Toy Fairs Exclusives as a way to bring fans figures that normally won’t get a wide release. I use that term loosely because most Hot Toys suppliers tend to still sell these figures anyway, even if there isn’t a Toy Fair in the country, they will still have them on offer, like here in Australia, for example.

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LIST OF PARTS
Inside the box you get the following items:
One Joker figure
Eight interchangeable hands
One pistol
One Shotgun
One knife
One deck of cards
One Stack of Joke money
One Bozo mask head sculpt
One duffle bag
One grenade rack
Four Smoke grenades
Twelve grenades
One display stand and backdrop

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SCULPTING
The head sculpt is very similar to the original release; it wouldn’t surprise me if they just went back and tweaked the original a bit. There are a lot of artists out there making custom 1/6 scale Joker heads, but the difference with Hot Toys’ latest offering is that this is definitely Heath Ledger; but what makes it even better is it’s definitely Heath Ledger as the Joker, not Heath Ledger with clown makeup on. The character really shines through and it’s that perfect combination of paint and sculpt that does it so well.

The main update is the hair line; the previous version had an awful wavy pattern where the separate hair piece met the head. I don’t have my original Bank Robber Joker anymore, but this was one of the main reasons I sold it a while back. It just bugged me way too much when having newer Hot Toys figures next to it when they had the improvement that this head has, which is that the hair line is sculpted up from the head and the separate hair disappears into that part, almost making it seamless. It really adds to the realism of the head.

The second masked head is great too! Even though there was some complaint from fans that the mask was non-removable. I don’t feel it’s a problem, you are either going to have him with the mask on or not. I can understand some people want Joker to be able to hold the mask in his hand, but I really think that it’s a small trade off. As with the first head, its paint application is excellent.

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PAINT
Hot Toys keep using more and more new techniques to make their heads look as real as ever, but they don’t overdo it either. It’s a very delicate balancing act, but JC Hong is a skilled master when it comes to paint and the finished product is one of the best as far as Jokers go. This was enough of a selling point for me as it’s an excellent update.

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ARTICULATION
The body underneath is Hot Toys’ newer standard Truetype and has roughly the following articulation: ball jointed neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, double jointed arms, swivel/hinge wrists, ball jointed torso, swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips, double jointed knees and ball jointed ankles. We haven’t gotten a release of this base body yet, but I imagine it’s only a matter of time before Hot Toys do, due to their popularity amongst fans. The body can be put into a number of simple and difficult poses depending on how extreme you want to get; the clothes don’t restrict the figure too much, if at all. I had no problems getting the poses I wanted and a simple tilt of the head or hands can make all the difference to your pose looking a killer.

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OUTFIT

The suit is also greatly improved. I happened to have a spare version of the original suit lying around to compare with and the original just looks puffy and cheap next to this one. The lapels stand out the most to me, as they are now very sharp and crisp. Besides the much tighter tailoring, even things like buttons on the cuffs and shirt have been improved upon too. They are now much smaller and in scale, but aren’t functional in anyway. Two things I will complain about is that the “buttons” on the cuffs did come off while posing the figure during this photo shoot; I just used some fabric glue to put them back on, but if I hadn’t noticed, they might have been lost forever due to their small size – something to keep in mind when posing your figure. Also I feel the length of the pants could be a smidge longer too, I think they just sit up a little too high, I pulled them down a little to suit my liking, but that’s just my personal preference.

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ACCESSORIES
You get a good number of accessories with this version of Joker; a few more then the original release came with too. For example you get the smoke grenade with the purple string attached to it that never came with the first release. I feel satisfied with the amount and variety. You get a number of gloved hands, all of which seem to be the same that came with the most recent TDK version of Joker (DX11) but now in black.

They are a softer material than normal, so I don’t feel like I’m going to break any wrist pegs when changing them over. The weapons are great too and all from the bank scene in the TDK, including numerous grenades and smoke grenades to go on the black rig that goes inside the duffle bag. Even the bag is much more detailed now with more zippers, better detailed strap and padding inside.

Joker’s knife, a pile of money which Joker has drawn on, a deck of cards and a wrist watch are also included. I won’t be using these in my display but they are all good additions to the figure and help add variety to the poses you can put Joker in.

Also included is one hell of an epic display base and back drop! It’s quite large and will take up a lot of space in your display cabinet or display shelf. What is missing is at least including a small black base like the original version came with. I just happen to be lucky to have a spare one and I’ll be using that for my Joker figure. Although impressive in size, I don’t know anyone who has space for the thing and I won’t be using it as I find it too much of a waste and a gimmick for me.

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS
Nothing really to watch out for, be careful when changing out wrist pegs and be careful with those little buttons on the suit.

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BOX
I normally don’t care about the box the figure comes in, but this one is pretty sweet. The outside looks like the clown mask and the slip underneath that has the Joker’s face on it, with eye holes cut out in the mask layer so you can see the eyes through the mask. I was pretty impressed by that design choice, its cool!

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PRICE
I paid retail price of $270 USD plus shipping for this figure and it’s easily worth that, it’s an excellent figure, but anything above $350 and I think you are paying too much.

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OVERALL
I feel quite satisfied with this updated version of the Bank Robber Joker, having owned the original release for some time, with it being one of my favourite figures, one I was sad to let go of. I am more than happy that I now have a better version of the figure that I liked so much. In my eyes it surpasses the original in every way and is worthy of its 2.0 title. I’ve heard some Hot Toys fans are happy with the original and don’t want to update, that’s fine, but I think they are missing out. It’s worth the money and if you are able, it’s time to upgrade. This is another shining example of how far Hot Toys have come and how much they have improved their figures over the years.

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GTA Vice City is an open world video game published by Rockstar games in 2002. It was set in the fictional city of Vice City and follows the story of Tommy Vercetti who seeks out those responsible for a drug deal gone wrong. The Vice City Kubrick set was released around the time of GTA Vice City Stories game in 2006. But was re-released in 2013 and sold through the Rockstar Warehouse.

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Name: GTA Vice City
Line: Kubrick
Manufacturer: Medicom
Released: 2006, reissue released in 2013
Price: Then – 6000 YEN Now – 6,000 – 10,000 YEN
Scale: Between 2.5 and 3 Inches in height
Accessories: Tommy Vercetti – Shotgun, Candy Suxxx – camera, Lance Vance – M4, Ricardo Diaz – machine gun, Ken Rosenberg – bottle of champagne

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Gta Vice City was a great game at the time of its release; I personally really enjoyed playing it myself, on PC and loved the 80’s setting and references (like Scarface). I don’t think it has aged as well as it could even with nostalgia glasses on. But, it still remains one of my favourite in the GTA series.

For me the Kubrick figure is a type of toy/collectible I would only ever associate with Japan, even tho it shares similarities with Lego, the design is still what I would call ‘very Japanese’ so much so that if I were to put together a short list of toys that instantly make you think of Japan Kubrick would be one of them. Their simplicity is one aspect that really appeals to me, how a character is broken down to about as basic as it can be, but still is a great representation of the character, is definitely part of the Kubrick charm in my opinion.
In the Vice City set you get a good selection of characters being:

Tommy Vercetti
Candy Suxxx
Lance Vance
Ricardo Diaz
Ken Rosenberg

It’s a nice mix of the most important and memorable characters in the game. I’m reviewing this set as there really seems to not be a lot of information or quality reviews out there for this great and unique Kubrick set. I don’t normally review sets or more than one or two characters in a review, so I’ll be using blanket terms, unless singling out a specific thing about one of the characters in particular.

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SCULPTING

Kubricks are made using a base body and then adding extra pieces to them to make up a character, the base body consists of smooth flat surfaces it works well as a blank canvas for the character to be created on. Most of the characters in this set have an additional chest piece and unique hair sculpt. Most of the sculpting is quite well done, but the chest pieces do look a little soft and the details aren’t as sharp as I would like. But besides this, the combination of chest piece and hair really helps to make each character look like the game character they are meant to be. But this doesn’t really come together until we get to the paint application.

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PAINT

The paint category is not only where these figures shine the most, but where everything comes together. All the paint applications on these figures are clean and crisp. No slop or blemishes what-so-ever. The simple faces really work well with the style of the characters based off the drawings and in-game graphics. Great pastel colours on the suits as well.

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ARTICULATION

Kubricks will in most cases share the same amount of articulation unless hindered by an accessory (the Alien space suits for example) Kubricks have the following basic articulation: swivel head, ball-jointed shoulders, swivel hands, swivel waist and ball-jointed hips. These joints are meant to mirror human movement and they accomplish that quite well for each joint’s simplicity. You can get some decent poses and the chest pieces don’t restrict the waist articulation much, if at all. The only issue I had was that Candy Suxxx’s hair limits the head to no movement at all. (Insert adult joke here.)

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ACCESSORIES

Each character gets their own accessory. They are all pretty appropriate for each character, for example Ken Rosenberg with his champagne bottle or Lance with his m4. As they all have the same hand you can swap them between characters if you desire. I wish Tommy came with his samurai sword, but I guess the shotgun will have to do.

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

Not too many things I can think of. Perhaps, losing the tiny accessories or even the hands as they can come out fairly easily. These are made for collectors however, so they should be well taken care of.

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PRICE

I paid around $70 AUD for this set plus shipping and I’m pretty happy with that considering its limited to apparently 3000 pcs worldwide for five Kubricks that’s a pretty good price IMO. I think anything above $100 is really pushing it and I don’t think its worth much more then that even for die hard GTA fans.

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OVERALL

I really think this is a neat set. You don’t normally get much in the way of toys or figures from GTA, besides that one off GTA 3 Claude 12 inch figure from Sideshow. So it’s great that we get a few sets from the different games from the series. A lot of fans have been asking for GTA 4 and 5 Kubrick sets and I would like to see that happen also as I’m sure they would be just as cool. This set is worth picking up if you are a fan of Kubricks, GTA or GTA Vice City.

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Say goodnight Mr. Diaz!

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