5/30/2007

Invasion: Japanese Robots from the Collection of Warren Schwartz

I finally got a chance to go to the LSU Museum of Art to check this collection out, and I've got to say, my son and I had a blast. The collection featured stuff from Tetsujin 28, Mazinger Z, Ultraman, Godzilla, Dougram, and others. I got a chance to snap a few pictures (with the museum staff's permission), so here you go (click on the photo for a larger picture.)

An impressive array of some (I assume) vinyl Hedorah (The Smog Monster) figures.

A Fire Godzilla figure. Even though this part of the collection was titled Godzilla vs. Hedorah, this Godzilla is from a later film. (Godzilla vs. Destroyah, I believe.) I really liked this figure, it was about three feet tall and four feet long.

Some Mechagodzilla figures. The largest figure in the photo was about 8 inches tall, so you can get a sense of scale for the Godzilla figure, that's its tail in the background.

Some Tetsujin 28 (Gigantor) figures. My favorite figure in the whole collection is the second largest figure in this photo. It appeared to be all metal, and had a great paint job.

And finally, some Mazinger Z figures.

This exhibit will be on display at the LSU Museum of Art until October 7, 2007. If you're in the Baton Rouge area, make the trip to check it out.

5/23/2007

2007 Shizuoka Hobby Show

HobbyLink Japan has a report on the 2007 Shizuoka Hobby Show. Among the stuff shown from Bandai's Gundam display was:

HGUC Zock
HGUC Gundam RX-79[G]
HGUC Blue Destiny

There's also a PG Wing Gundam "Zero" Pearl Finish, some new HCM Pro stuff, and some new Gundam Seed stuff.

Here's a diorama of some old Monogram Cylon Raider and Colonial Viper kits, which is pretty sweet.

5/21/2007

Master Grade ∀ (Turn A) Gundam

Bandai has announced that the 100th kit in the Master Grade model kit line will be the title Gundam from ∀ Gundam.

Some people have questioned the choice of the Turn A, but considering how Turn A Gundam was a Gundam anniversary product in the first place (Gundam Big Bang 20th Anniversary Celebration), I don't really have a problem with it. Personally, I've always liked the design of the Turn A.

5/08/2007

Transformers Classics Series: Jetfire - Review

Purchased at: Wal-Mart
Price: $19.99

I vacillated over getting this figure. I don't know why, but when I first saw it in the store, I thought "It isn't a Valkyrie." I've always thought that the original G1 toy was the epitome of excellence in Transformers, and looking at this toy in the box the first time, I don't know...it just seemed...off.

I was wrong. The Classics Jetfire toy is one of the best toys in the Classics line, top two or three, and one of the best Transformers figures to come out in years.

Vehicle Mode

Jetfire, like most Classics figures, comes packaged in vehicle mode, which looks like an F-14 or a VF-1 Valkyrie. The toy itself feels pretty solid and is hefty for its size. It shares a lot of design similarities with the original Bandai Valkyrie toy. The paint job is a true homage to the original Jetfire figure. The wings are variable and the toy even comes with a pseudo- FAST pack that is removable. The vertical stabilizers fold flat for when you need to attach the FAST pack.

The front of the aircraft, however, is much more of an homage to the original animated Jetfire/Skyfire character. Instead of a rounded nose and cockpit of traditional aircraft, the toy's cockpit and nose are much more angular and squared off. When I first saw this I wasn't too crazy about the design, but it really works well once you get it out of the box.

The aircraft is also heavily armed, with a pair of blaster cannons slung on the underside of the fuselage, a pair of double-barreled laser cannons on either side of the cockpit, a pair of spring-loaded missile launchers, and a pair of spring-loaded fold out cannons stored in the FAST Pack boosters. I find this ironic, since Jetfire's traditional bio has always listed Jetfire as a scientist and not a true warrior. I've always preferred to think of Jetfire as a lone-wolf soldier. Sort of like Solid Snake.

Robot Mode
Yet another great job at an homage to both the original G1 toy as well as the animated character. How so? Well, the most obvious thing is the toy's head. It has a visor, and double antenna on either side of the head, just like the G1 toy (which had the head of the VF-1S Valkyrie variant). But THIS head is just a fa├žade, a removable helmet. Removing the helmet reveals a robot with a more human face, which was a characteristic of the animated/comic character.

Jetfire is also well-armed in robot mode. The two spring-loaded missile launcher are stored on Jetfire's forearms and, like the FAST pack armored they are inspired by, are removable. The two underslung laser cannons can be used as a pair of laser rifles, or stuck together as a double barreled rifle. The FAST pack booster can be removed, or left on in robot mode. If you leave it on, you can fold the front ends of the boosters down at a 90 degree angle, giving Jetfire a pair of shoulder-mounted cannons. However, leaving the FAST pack on in robot mode makes Jetfire very back heavy. Jetfire's feet, which are simply the jet's exhaust ducts opened up, are very narrow and don't provide quite enough support with the FAST- pack boosters on.

Final Verdict This is a great figure. I'd say that Jetfire, Mirage and Optimus Prime are the top three figures in the small Classics lineup, with Jetfire squeaking in at the top spot. If you see one in the store, you won't be disappointed. Unfortunately, it's becoming hard to find, at least in my area. The one I bought is only the second one I've seen in the different big box stores in my area (3 Wal-Marts, 2 Super Targets, and 1 TRU).