Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Thoughtful Toys: Halo Mega Bloks Mecha (Mantis/ Quad Walker)

Continuing our discussion on toys to use for inspiration of illustration or other forms of creation, I wanted to start talking some building block sets. One could easily just talk about "lego" and be done. It is more or less the ultimate creation toy. Since one of the main goals of this talk is to find ways to come up with robots or other sorts of machines, I wanted to talk about the set that pulled me in to lego again personally.
When I had a kid I started going on a building block buying binge. I want her to have toys to explore her creativity. I knew it would be a few years till she could play with these, but as I saw sets on clearance or at close out shops like TJMaxx, I started picking up various sets. Everything from Hello Kitty, to Transformers Kreo. I am big in the mechs, so I decided to get the Halo Mantis kit for myself. At the time it was the only way to get a physical form of the design, and I am very glad I did. Mega Bloks did something very special with this kit, and I hope they continue this trend. They came up with the equivalent of revoltech joints for building block systems. In other words they produced a ratchet joint that can bend, and rotate. It is exactly what the robot builders needed. The other thing great about this kit, is the olive drab color that is perfect for military style vehicles.

I decided to add another kit to this review due to being under the Halo brand, and using the same style of joints. The quad walker also has a good color for robot designs, and has a good assortment of these joints. While I got my Mantis kits new on Amazon and TRU, I got the Quad Walker at Ross and someone had taken many of the parts out of the box. Luckily it had the joints which were the most important parts of the kit for my purpose.

I did notice that some of the joints from the Quad Walker were not as nice as the ones from the Mantis kit. Some pop apart. They also have only one type of ratchet joint where the Mantis has a great double joint for the chicken walker look. One note is the blocks these go into come in a couple varieties as well allowing you to come up with different limb sections.

You can see here where the joint has a 180 degree bend, as well as 360 degree rotation where it connects in the special blocks giving lots of possibility to the robot. 
Note the double joint at the knee. 
Since I did not have the full Quad Walker kit, I wanted to use what I had to do a quick simple bot. Going with the simpler design I am able to give the bot some character and make him a cute little machine of destruction. 

Like I said, I had been collecting a lot of building blocks lately, and a few of those kits have been for my daughter. But having them in hand gives me the opportunity to make a Hello Kitty Mech. What a great way to accessorize that cute kitty by making her a harbinger of doom.

Includes a cockpit that opens and closes to keep kitty safe. 

While I was limited on the vibrant colors to work with, due to the HK kits being somewhat stingy with pieces, I was able to cover and integrate much of the mechanical bits into the overall look.

Halo Kitty.... I am right? 
As you can see, for building bots, these joints are a must. Lego has started producing something similar, but they are sparse in their kits, and they still like to rely on their ball joints. I don't care for the look of their ball joints, and of course they don't hold the weight near as well. The mantis kit is getting harder to get, but it is the most desirable of the two. The Quad Walker is however still quite plentiful and comes with some great parts.
I will touch on other types of building toys as time goes on, but like this post I will be covering specific lines of building block toys on their own for interesting parts they bring to the creators tool box. I will continue to also build with these parts and share them here and on instagram, so stay tuned for more reviews of great creative toys for the artist. And if you have not already, check back in the blog for reviews for other creative toys. Until next time...

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Trofeu 1/43 Diecast Gtfour Custom

Being a huge fan of the Gtfour, and having owned one as a project car for some time I have gathered a few collectibles. Years ago, when my car had different wheels, I was contacted by someone telling me they had my car. He sent me a pic of this Trofeu Diecast toy, and I bought it on sight. As the years went by, and I have modded the car I decided to let this toy be its own thing and make a small mod to it. The wheels are somewhat boring, and there are not really any "tuner" style toys of the Gtfour, so I decided to make my own.  

The Trofeu as it originally looked. 
I used to have a Z car, but have since moved on. I liked this diecast car alright, but it became the donar because I could not find a set of wheels, with brakes this detailed in this scale. 
The modification was simple. I had to grind off the rivets on the bottom of the 350z to remove the panel, then use a soldering gun to heat the tiny metal axles to remove them from the wheels. I then used a jeweler drill to make the holes on the wheels larger and cut some plastic rod for new axles. I was then able to slide these new wheels right on. Check out the pics below for the final project.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Product inspiration: WFC Optimus Prime

I want to start a new segment where I talk about missed opportunity with product lines. Since I collect a lot of Transformers, lets talk about War For Cybertron's Optimus Prime. If you don't already have this figure, you missed out on one of the best action figure Prime figures since the classic mold. I would put this guy in my top 10 Primes for sure. This is when Hasbro was still using the more advanced engineering brought on by the early movie line, but with a much nicer classics inspired ascetics. This first wave of the video game line, was actually fairly hard to come by. This also began the age of the hunt for me, as with this release transformer toys I liked started getting harder to find, thanks to movie Bumble Bee figures clogging up the shelves and the distribution of the desired figures went to crap.

The missed opportunity I wanted to talk about was the weapons done for these. This line could had lent itself to many accessories as one of the main mechanics in the game was all the various weapons. Between the scale discrepancies, and lack of similar weapon mounting the line as a whole had some lacking, even though the individual figures stood great on their own. The Prime from this line actually lent itself to the idea more than others. I feel that the characters could each had come with one of the weapons with the game, and you could mix or match. Hasbro could had even done accessory packs that came with a few weapons from the game to outfit your robots. Since this was not something in the plans for the line I made a gallery of various Weapon combinations that just make this already battle ready looking prime, even more prepared for war for cybertron.

Bonus: FOC Optimus Prime with Bulk Head Micon Fists.
Here is a video where I talk a little on the subject, but spend more time trying out these and other accessories on  this WFC Optimus Prime.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Jled Ice Bunny for sale (And Review)

Trying to gather funds for another project, so I am putting my Ice Bunny by Joe Ledbetter on eBay. Here are an assortment of unedited photos of the figure, as well as a review video. The first photo is the only one that was corrected and adjusted for lighting. Go here to check out the auction and get your chance at an Ice Bunny.

Check out the video here: