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Monday, June 26, 2006

10:18 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Unicron versus the Death Star.
The age-old question answered.

Coming soon: Mega Bloks Gundam. [via]

Henry Jenkins salutes Robot Chicken.
"Action figure cinema is an emblematic example of the capacity of grassroots media makers to archive, annotate, appropriate, and recirculate media content. Fan filmmakers essentially take toys that were sold to them as commodities and transforming them into resources for their own creative output."

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

2:44 AM - Strongarm

Transformers Energon Strongarm

Another photo of Strongarm from the Transformers Energon line.

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2:44 AM - Elsewhere on the web

Superman at the World Cup.
"Superman" apparently needed help to go pee-pee in the restroom.

Drew Carey: football fan.
"Being a soccer fan, there's fewer of us, so it's the cool thing to be .... It's like knowing about the cool band before everyone else does." Yeah, everyone else bar the billion or so fans worldwide, Johnny-come-lately.

Nami Tamaki's Monhun blog. [via]
This is probably a move calculated to ingratiate herself with the otaku in order to get their money.

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Monday, June 19, 2006

4:29 AM - Elsewhere on the web

Lockwasher's BR2D2.
Refreshes the parts other droids can't reach.

A new Guild Wars webcomic.
The downside of playing a Ranger.

Choose your perspective wisely.

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4:29 AM - Basic

Transformers Energon Strongarm

A photo of Strongarm, a Basic-priced Transformer from the Energon line.

My very first Transformers purchase was a Autobot Mini Vehicle, Warpath. Subsequent purchases -- Powerglide, Bumblebee, etc -- were also from the same price point. This was partially due to affordability but it was mostly due to availability. It was months before I located a store that sold boxed Transformers.

The Mini Vehicles were rather poor Transformers even back then. The transformation took three or so steps. The articulation was usually limited to swivel joints at the shoulders. If it weren't for the fact they were often memorable show characters, I would've passed on them.

Transformers have come a long way since then. These days, the Basic category often has the best action figures of the line since the cheapest figures are unlikely to be saddled with the embarassing gimmicks usually found in Transformers at higher price-points.

("Hey, kids! Push a button and a light switches on! All the excitement of playing with your household lights!")

Strongarm is a prime example of Basic excellence: a compact vehicle mode, a satisfying transformation and a very nice robot mode.

The robot mode would be outstanding if the hips weren't impeded by vehicle mode seats.

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Saturday, June 17, 2006

4:57 AM - Elsewhere on the web

Action Man At 40 exhibit.
(See also: 1, 2.)

Games on demand in Malaysia. [via]
The monthly fee is reasonable and there are some decent titles offered. Still, I'll wait and see how this develops before trying the service out.

Re: PoPoLoCrois.
"... it's also a haven for wonderful characters and libertarian views on capslock." Heh.

Mizuguchi on the Lumines franchise.

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

10:55 PM - Reformatted

Transformers Beast Wars Transmetals 2 Prowl

A photo of Transformers Beast Wars Transmetals 2 Prowl in robot mode.

It's a striking figure in this mode but not a particularly fun action figure.

Articulation-wise, Prowl has all the usual joints: head (ball-jointed), shoulders (ball-jointed), elbows (ball-jointed), waist (swivel), hips (ball-jointed) and knees (hinged). The beast mode provides the robot mode with additional ball-joints in the lower legs as well as very limited ball joints for the ankles.

With all those joints, you'd think Prowl would be a terrific action figure. Unfortunately, the upper half of the robot mode has a few loose parts that don't lock down. A few more pegs, tabs, slots and holes would've helped make this a more enjoyable figure to handle.

The bio for this figure is particularly notable. The references to G1 Prowl made it clear that, unlike a lot of Beast Wars bios, this one was the result of some creativity and research.

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10:55 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Guild Wars: the Scribe.
A weekly periodical about events in-game. If you've turned off Javascript, the direct link is here.

"Dear Convoy... ."
After looking at the contents of the fridge, I'm thinking Convoy's next death will be diabetes-related.

Barker Character, Comic and Cartoon Museum.
"I rarely saw any movies at all, and it's probably the reason why I'm so excited about characters and toys ... I never had a chance to meet them in my younger days." The proprietor is 76 years old.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

11:47 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Sigmund Freud: the action figure.

Bandai Museum.
Photos by Jean Snow. Favourites: 1, 2.

Fake versus original memory sticks.
See also. There are some ridiculously cheap memory sticks on eBay Malaysia right now.

Big Mac Index. [via]
Wikipedia: "Whereas low income Americans may eat at McDonald's a few times a week, low income Malaysians probably never eat Big Macs." That's because Malaysia's Ramly Burger burgers taste better and besides, Big Macs have that awful McLibel aftertaste.

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Monday, June 12, 2006

1:18 AM - Bubo

Beast Wars Transmetals 2 Prowl

A photo of Transformers Beast Wars Transmetals 2 Prowl.

It's my favourite figure from the otherwise disappointing Transmetals 2 subline.

YA RLY.

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

12:40 AM - The price of details

Transformers Binaltech Tracks

A photo of Transformers Binaltech Tracks in robot mode.

I was delighted when the first pictures of Binaltech Smokescreen appeared online because I assumed the line would feature updated Diaclone Car Robot with superior articulation.

It was a rude surprise when I discovered that the increase in vehicle scale didn't necessarily mean a dramatic increase in robot posability. The Binaltech robot modes do have generous amounts of articulation but the posability is often impeded by vehicle mode kibble. This is a common problem with Transformers but the problem has been exacerbated in the Binaltech line by the interior details of the vehicles. Tracks, for instance, includes a steering wheel, a gear shift, a handbrake, seats and even an articulated(!) rear-view mirror.

It's clear the designers chose a larger scale primarily to model the vehicle modes as accurately as possible and I assume this was done in order to convince sceptical car manufacturers to agree to the licensing request.

If it was up to me, I would ditch the interior details and improve the robot mode. Accurate die-cast toy cars are common but well-designed posable robot transformers are not.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

1:39 AM - The 13th mission

After failing to obtain the Survivor title for my Mesmer in Guild Wars Factions, I set myself a slightly less difficult target: the Protector of Cantha title.

Unlike the previous campaign, there aren't any separate mission bonus objectives in Factions. Instead, Factions awards parties additional XP and gold based on how quickly or how well they complete the mission. To earn the Master's Reward for the third mission, for example, players have to finish the mission within 25 minutes while the Master's Reward for the ninth mission requires players to keep every mission-critical character alive.

The Protector of Cantha title requires a Master's Reward for all 13 PvE missions. Now, it only takes 12 missions to complete the Factions storyline. The 13th mission is a mission for the other faction. I chose to side my Mesmer with the Kurzicks and thus my 13th mission was a Luxon one. Specifically, it was the Gyala Hatchery mission.

With friends like these

You'd think you'd get free access to that 13th mission after saving the entire empire from the ultimate bad guy of the campaign but no, you still have to befriend the other faction before you're allowed to do the mission. This requires 10,000 faction points from faction-related quests and challenge missions.

Just to be a little more exasperating, ArenaNet decided you can't be friends with both sides simultaneously. Trying to do so results in players losing favour of Luxons and Kurzicks alike which means you will have to travel to a neutral town or outpost to obtain services from merchants, weaponsmiths, armourers and skill-sellers.

I finally earned enough Luxon faction points to access the Gyala Hathery mission yesterday and after three attempts, I managed to obtain the Master's Reward for the mission today. My Mesmer now sports a shiny new Protector of Cantha title.

There's little prestige in having it -- it's not that impressive an achievement as titles go -- but it will hopefully make it easier for my Mesmer to get in PUGs in future campaigns.

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1:39 AM - Elsewhere on the web

Lego rebuilds itself.
"The company eked out an $87 million net profit last year, after losing more than $300 million in 2004, while revenues rose 12 percent to $1.2 billion."

Toy industry legend passes away.
"He brought to market an incomparable portfolio of blockbusters, once selling empty boxes at Christmas with the promise of a hit toy to be delivered later."

Special Forces to use stealth wings. [via]
Looking at the stealth wing, it's easy to believe the designers were inspired by action figure flightpacks. I expect Delta Force and the SAS will be using spring-powered missile launchers soon. (Related.)

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Friday, June 02, 2006

2:51 AM - Tracks

Transformers Binaltech Tracks

A photo of Tracks from the Transformers Binaltech line.

It was originally released yellow and I'm glad I waited for the blue version. I can understand why it might not matter to some but it does to me. This Binaltech figure has a lot of references to the character's original G1 form and it would be odd to get it in a different colour scheme.

Regardless of the colours, this sleek vehicle is a worthy alternate mode for the fashionable Autobot.

Transformers Binaltech Tracks

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