Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

To all friends and... well, friends:
May your basket be full of blessings (read - toys -) this Easter.

Actually, as long as you have your health and food on top of your table (or under it) and so do your friends and loved ones. Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Versus: 1997 GIJoe A-10 Thunderbolt and Soldier Force A-10 Air Strike

Face to face: Hasbro´s G.I.Joe A-10 Thunderbolt and Chap Mei´s Soldier Force A-10 Air Strike

The "inspiration" and the "evolution".

So we all know how the Cobra Rattler is a fan favorite, and after a Tiger Force painting came the "real" camo scheme for 1997 TRU exclusives. While some aspects are clearly taken for the CM version, it was sized up. An also clear enhancement.

The engines were set up in their right places for the Soldier Force A-10.

Tail also looks better on the Soldier Force A-10. As the distance for the landing gear and balance of the whole craft. But still short on wings on both cases. Still, CM has the lead, I believe.

While the gunner on the "Joes" A-10 is obviously protected by a canopy, the CM ground attack jet´s back-seater would have an enourmous job just keeping conscious. It´s a Jet for all intended purposes...

Now here is where Chap Mei took a leap of faith and went the wrong way. This aircraft (Fairchild Republic  A-10 Thunderbolt II)was built literally around the Avenger, the GAU-8 gatling. So why use a "small" nose cannon? Shame on you, CM.

While Hasbro´s canopy has a more decent look, the CM version is larger.

The whole aircraft is larger, on that note. A lot more scaled, even with all it´s toyish details.

So let´s give Hasbro´s A-10 a rest and make it look good by adding Playmates Terminator Salvation´s A-10  to the equation...

While probably the most detailed of the 3, it´s almost half the size of any of the previous combat aircrafts.

Ok, so even if TS pilot "Blair" is the smallest, not that small to justify such a small airplane.

BUT, probably makes the best scale shot of all.

A lot more room for the female Ace in the TRU ´97 repaint.

Almost a reunion of tank-killers. I´d take the CM size, with Playmates detailing (but with working landing gear) and the Joes color scheme and GAU-8. They could even keep the turret, I wouldn´t mind.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

G.I.Joe 15th anniversary Cobra Rage

Marking the return of (better) quality and as TRU exclusives, a small series of 3 3/4" G.I.Joe was launched in 1997. Within it, the urban crusher vehicle, RAGE. One of the most used images in the DIC animation series, and one of the best vehicles when "Joes" quality was dropping at a scary pace.

Hasbro-Kenner decided to put some muscle on the painting side of their 1997 vehicles and while most figures were poorly made, the included Alley Viper was very decent.

So a cool repaint was out. And Rage was (and still is) one of the most sought-after sets of the 15th "gold series". Made especially for collectors.

Originally released in 1990, with... DIC colors, the 1997 version was darker, and probably more Cobra-like. Filled with weaponry and offensive capabilities.

Mines could be dropped, turret elevated and gatling cannons exposed. Platforms for figures now had a silver color.

The interior had some redish touches and silver was also present inside the engine parts.

The 1990 Cobra Rage was one of my favorite vehicles. And I´m still undecided on which looks better.

They even look great together.

Included, came a new Alley Viper. The 4th version was created with molds or previous figures with a darker look from its new color scheme.

Shield with a clip to hold onto its wrist and a G.I.Joe Dial-Tone figure weapon, also came with a stand.

Cobra SWAT.

Original 1989 Alley Viper and 1997 version.

1997 Cobra Rage and driver are not easy to get, they´re usually top-dollar items.

Figure: Alley Viper, v.4 - No originally backpack included.

And as a side note, if you´re looking for a substitute for the original 1989 Alley Viper backpack, keep your eyes out for Chap Mei´s backpacks. CM based many designs on popular lines and G.I.Joe was a main "inspiration"...

Not exactly a copy, they fit perfectly and scale is perfect also. They come in a variety of colors from bright yellow to olive green.

Status: Unavailable

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Dino Valley 3 Dilophosaurus v.3

Another repaint from the 2005 series, and the original Dino Valley sets with the Dilophosaurus.

However, a repaint is not (always) a bad thing. Sometimes we get new color schemes which are superior to the original. I wouldn´t say this is the case, it´s just different.

MIB, Chap Mei 2009

Dinosaur: Dilophosaurus v.3

Nicely done, head turns.

Claws move up and down as you push the fin.

Included accessories, weapons case size S

Figure: Dino Valley 3 "Wildboar Max".

Status: Unavailable

Thursday, February 28, 2013

EasiFix: Masters of the Universe - The legs!

One of the most dreaded moments of MOTU collectors is that broken rubber band sight. One day fine looking on the shelf, next day fallen figure.

Sometimes, even inside the mint card. Well, nothing we can do about the latter. However, the former is fixable.

Let´s get them back on their feet again!

Material. A pair of pliers, a curved punch tool (a thin screwdriver will do), a thin electrical cable and the main characters, 2 O-rings and 2 eye screws.

Sometimes (more than often in my case) figures come to your hands with former attemps from other collectors (or previous owners). I´ve seen a lot of hot glue techniques. While it´s usually a weak solution, it´s fast and doesn´t leave marks.

For those who don´t know where that comes from, here´s the crook.

But let´s do this the way it´s supposed to be done, shall we?

First, remove whatever may be inside the crotch. Pictured, the original rubber band. Dried, broken.

Where we´re going to work. Not the bigger space.

Remove the rest of the broken rubber. The original ends will remain. You´ll need them too.

This is how small (or large) your eye screw needs to be.

Same goes for the O-rings. The smaller, the better. However, the smaller they are, the more difficult to work with. Keep that in mind.

Pick up your pair of pliers and go ahead and open up one eye screw and put the 2 O-rings inside.

Screw it (clockwise) to one of the leg´s remain of original broken rubber band. This is one of the good things about this process. You´re not doing any harm to the original parts. If you do it the right way. Meaning stop when the eye screw reaches the PVC leg.

Like so.

Now pick up your wire and put it through the O-rings. This is why I choose the electrical wiring. Because of the plastic insulation. So you won´t harm neither the figure or the rubber O-ring.

Also, because you can mold it to easily pass where it needs to go. So as you can see and as I told you previously, you need to pass it through the top opening. NOT the larger one.

So now we need to pull the leg to its place.

Some rubbers are of better quality than others (kinky). So, while most handle the job perfectly, others tend to break right about here. Because in order to keep the legs nice and tight, you need to pull to have space to work with the other leg.

Now you need to insert the punching tool, needle, screwdriver, whatever you prefer to work with here. Be careful not to harm the plastic. This is why you should use an under C-8 figure to master the process. Not a big deal, but the more you do, the better you get.

Now you can remove the wire and forget about it.

Open another screw and prepare to the final step.

Close it.

Before removing the tool you inserted to prevent the "new" rubber band to escape, take a few (clockwise) turns to get half the job (well) done. Then remove the needle, while holding the eye screw and pulling the "double O-ring band" and screw the best you can to be nice and tight.

And you did it!

Back in action!!!

Evil Snake Men creature with the quick-strike head... fully restored.

Thank you for reading and happy fixes!