Friday, April 20, 2018

Jurassic World Indoraptor

I'm a sucker for dinosaur toys. Can't help it. I've loved dinosaurs since I was a kid. Dinosaur toys or GI Joe? I don't know which has been a part of my life the longest.

I probably had plenty of cheap plastic dinosaurs when I was a kid. I remember having a bag full of brightly colored plastic dinosaurs that I apparently had prior to a long airline flight. Yellow, red, green... all extremely bright.

Nearly everything I've encountered with dinosaurs, I have wanted to be a part of it. My childhood dream was to be a paleontologist. That didn't quite work out.

When the first Jurassic Park movie came out 25 years ago (what the?), I was thrilled to see how well the dinosaurs were done. I've continued to follow along with the movies and have bought a few of the dinosaur toys along the way.

With the new Jurassic World movies, I wasn't as impressed with the dinosaurs that were released for the movie. I did buy the two Jurassic Park sets from Toys R Us a few years ago. Each had a human figure to go with them. One was an allosaurus; the other was a pachyrhinosaurus.
Image result for jurassic park allosaurus toy png
The interesting thing about these two sets is that both of them were missing the human figures from the sets. They really weren't packaged very well and were easily stolen. That really didn't matter to me, I wanted the dinosaurs.

Now up to the current movie, Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom. Mattel took over the license from Hasbro and they have really done an amazing job with the line. The human figures are decent enough and most of the dinosaurs are well done. Of course, that's with the understanding that these are toys, meant for children, not grown-ass adults.

After looking through the line up of toys, there were really only two, maybe three creatures that interested me. One was the super mega massive Tyrannosaurus Rex. This thing is huge!! It's around three feet long! But that's my problem with it, it's just way too big for my collection.

The next item from the line that caught my attention was the Indoraptor. The indoraptor is a Jurassic World hybrid creature and loosely based on a mix of different actual dinosaurs. 
I really like raptors and this beast just works for me. Plus this indoraptor has some of the most amazing articulation for a dinosaur toy that I have ever seen. I'm sure some company out there somewhere has done something like this, but this thing is amazing.

Starting at the head, its jaws open (of course) and the neck has two pivot points. One is right at the base of the skull and the other is at the bottom of the neck. Each arm has a swivel, pivoting shoulder joint. The elbows and wrists both swivel and pivot. The legs have swivel and pivot knee and ankle joints. The cool thing about the legs are the hip joints; they turn but also swivel inward and outward. I've never seen that done on dinosaur hip joints. The tail also has two swivel joints as well. This beast has an amazing amount of articulation!

I highly recommend the Indoraptor. If you like well made dinosaurs. If you like well made toys. If you want something to chew up your action figures, DO IT! Get one! It's a fantastic toy!

Friday, April 13, 2018

FSS 8.0 Line Up

The final line up for the Figure Subscription Service has been released! I'll try to update as the Club releases their reveals.

Looks good! Great parts choices. I wasn't sure how they could pull of an update, but he looks decent.

Code Name: FAST DRAW
This guy was going to be tough. Most people figured that the Club would go with the rocket backpack from the PoC Duke figure. Makes sense. I'm not really crazy about the use of the Blowtorch vest and helmet. Not terrible though.

Code Name: RED LASER
I don't know much about the Red Shadows and the various characters associated with them, but I do like the way the Club is reusing the Cobra Commander build. Looks good!
OMG!!! He doesn't have a removable helmet!!! Deth of teh line!!! Oh, my childhood!! Oh wait, I was in my 20's by the time Bullet-Proof came out. I think he looks pretty dang good. It's a decent reuse of the Dodger head sculpt and works just fine. Sure, there are other heads that may have worked, but did the Club have access to them? I don't know and most of the critics have no clue either. 

Yeah... not so much with this character. Not one of the better builds from the Club. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, but this one just isn't working. Interesting choice of parts that seems to be eliciting a strong negative reaction from the fan base.

Code Name: LANCE "CLUTCH" STEINBERG (hopefully a non-25th body)


Code Name: PAYLOAD (this guy is going to be a tough one to recreate)

Code Name: OVER KILL

Code Name: RECOIL (I liked the original, looking forward to seeing the design)

Code Name: BUSHIDO (the snow ninja... oh boy...)

Code Name: MUNITIA


GI Joe Club Membership Figure: Rock n Roll

It's been a great week or so for new figures from the Club! The last figures from FSS 6.0 have arrived and now, this year's membership figure has arrived in mailboxes as well! The Club had already revealed that Rock n Roll, based on version 2, would be this year's membership figure. Last one? I believe so.

There's been a few comments across the fandom regarding this figure. The original announcement from last year's JoeCon referred to RnR being based on the version 2 figure. As usual, there was plenty of butt-hurt regarding the initial design. I didn't see any problem with the design as it first appeared. As the design turned into an actual painted sample, RnR looked even better.
It looks like the Club used the entire body from the PoC Dusty figure. It's a good design and works well with RnR. The torso was also used with the Renegades Cobra Trooper.
The gear load out from the Club is decent enough. Interesting choices. I'm glad that the Club was able to reuse the original mini-gun from the v2 RnR. Oh, the butt hurt that arose since he didn't come with two of the guns. There's an issue with the choice of accessories that complement the gun. The peg on the backpack is a bit too long and needs to be trimmed. The ammo belt fits into the backpack but doesn't fit onto the gun.
Since the modern era figures first showed up, I've wanted to update Rock n Roll, especially with the weapon system of version 2. Rock n Roll only came out as a part of the initial 25th anniversary figures and was a remake of his version 1 figure. There's been a concept figure from Hasbro that was showcased a few years ago. Back when version 2 of Rock n Roll first appeared, I bought a total of three of them, so I was well stocked on his weapon system in order to update it for modern figures.
The first step for this project was to paint the vest from a Renegades Cobra Trooper. I had an extra carded figure, so I freed him from his plastic bubble prison. 

The next step was to figure out how to attach the backpack to the vest. I had already trimmed off the peg in earlier attempts to adapt it for modern gear. I finally came up with a pretty easy solution. I drilled a hole into the remains of the backpack and inserted a screw in through the hole in the vest to attach to the backpack. A gentle, slow speed was needed for the drill.
The result turned out nicely. I can easily load up the gear onto this new RnR. The only real problem with this gear, like with the poriginal figure, is that he really can't hold it very well. The stocks on the guns are a bit too short to fit under his arms and keep the guns straight.
Plus the swivel wrists don't help much either. I think that one possible solution would be to use a couple of those tiny rubber bands looped into the ends of the stocks of each gun and then loop them around his upper arms.
I'm pleased with how the vintage weapon system is progressing and I'm pleased with how Rock n Roll turned out.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Best of the GI Joe Club Membership Figures!

I still think that Cross Country is the best membership figure that the Club has released and a strong contender to be one of the Top Ten of all of the figures released by the Club!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Roadblock Returns!

The mystery 13th figure came to me with a bit of an issue. He had two upper right arms! Thankfully, the Club's customer service is top notch and they took care of the issue. I had emailed them on the day that he arrived and shipped out my wonky Roadblock on the following day.

In just a little over a week, a new Roadblock was sent back to me and he's in great shape!
Well, almost. That left knee is a little wonky, but I can live with that. Some repeated, careful bending will take care of that problem.

Now that I've got him back in hand and I've had a chance to look him over, I think that the Club did a fine job with him. There always sees to be an issue with nearly every Club figure and,, unfortunately, Roadblock does have an issue. The skin tone on his head and his body are two different shades. Just barely. Enough to notice, but not terribly bad.

Oh that head sculpt. I don't know the story, but the head sculpt is supposed to be from a cancelled Hasbro release of Roadblock. Such an amazing treat that Hasbro was able to make this mold available for the Club to use.

Overall,, he's a fine figure with decent accessories. There are issues with the gear that actually go all the way back to the original TF Roadblock. I've seen a comment about how the helmet doesn't really fit that well on Roadblock. Yeah, so what? The original Roadblock couldn't wear a helmet either.

I've always had an issue with the huge 50 cal machine gun that Roadblock carries around. Yeah, i get it, he's a big dude. But seriously, how long could anyone continue to carry that beast around? Plus the rate of fire and maintaining adequate ammo supplies would be additional issues to deal with.

My next issue is which figure becomes my "default" Roadblock? I really really like the Renegades Roadblock and this Club version is also so cool! 

Hey, maybe one of these guys is a dimensional crossover from another reality, thanks to Dr. Mindbender's failed dimensional travel experiments.

I think I need to do a post on all of the "big guys" from the past few years of GI Joe figures. Starting off with Rock/Roadblock fro Retaliation. Then from the Club and Hasbro, there's Leatherneck, Repeater, Salvo, Big Lob, Heavy Duty... anyone else? I've done a custom with Gung Ho, increasing him to the "big guy" scale. Could be an interesting post!