Friday, March 31, 2006

Danny Choo and Pals Launch Figure.FM Site!!

That Groovesome guy with the cool site is launching another site for all of us toy fans that let's you upload all your favorite pics of all your coolsome toys! Danny and his buddies have written a new platform called "Carrot" which allows you to see the same content in different "views". It's pretty cool and I encourage all of you to check it out and add your pics!!!


"It gives me great pleasure to announce the beta launch of Figure.FM
- a community site dedicated to coolsome Japanese toys n figures. The idea is simple - post photos of your groovesome Gundams, fruity figures and share information on the latest Japanese toy n figure news. runs on a platform called Carrot which is being developed by Gunpla-san, Otsun-san, myself and a few other developers who want to remain in the dark (for now ;-). We've been working on this project for a while now and are near Alpha.

Carrot is still in beta and we are constantly working on improving the caching system while bashing those peskly bugs. Things I think you may like about Carrot are the different views - main view, category view and blog view. Each of these views has its own RSS feed. Apart from the feeds, each view also features a thumbnail mode to enable you to find what you are looking for quicker.

Take a look, sign up, post away and tell me what you think - hope you enjoy it.
Before I forget, thanks to Sbebiwan and NickC for giving the site a quick QA ^^. "

Below: normal view.

Below: thumbnail view.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Toy Photographer Spotlight: Kelvin Tan

For my next international toy photographer spotlight, let's focus our lense on Kelvin Tan (who is not from Flickr by the way). I noticed Kelvin's photography when doing a search on Zeonography and his many toy galleries on photosite pbase came up. I like his...ahem! attention to detail if you know what I mean! It's definitely worth a visit so check him out!!!

Name : Kelvin Tan
Location : Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Occupation : Product Manager
Age : 33
Toy Photo Homepage : Kelvin Tan Toys

Hobbies : Watch collecting, pen collecting and toy collecting.

"Why I like taking pictures of toys? Toys make the best models. They can be lifelike and are already in the best shape they can be. They are very expressive because they are an extension of their creators' vision of art. My approach to toy photography is to capture the toys in their best with minimal touches of photoshop manipulation. "

If you a great toy photographer or know great toy photographers specializing in Japanese toys, send me a note with a link to your or their photography and maybe they will show up on a spotlight here on toybot studios!!

New Streetfighter Minimates Review and Gallery!!!

It seems like I pre-ordered these little suckers ages ago! I realize now that I did! Originally pre-ordered way back when they were first announced in October, these little guys finally showed up! What can I say about minimates??? I love 'em!! I could eat them by the spoonfull! They are tiny, don't cost that much, but have tons of character and don't take up a lot of space! They are the toy equivalent to potato chips: once you've had one, you can't stop yourself from buying more! Cousin to the Japanese Kubrick, the Minimate are American in design, but both are made in China of course. Minimates are well known in the Marvel Universe for the much acclaimed Marvel Minimate series so it's refreshing to see them pick up rights to the Streetfigher and Darkstalker series from Capcom! Minimates are slightly smaller, yet more detailed than Kubricks in my opinion. They also have a bit more articulation as they flex in the knees and elbows which make for much better photography posing! I'm still waiting with great anticipation for my Streetfighter Series 2 Minimates to show up!!!


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tekken 5 Trading Figure Review and Gallery!!!

Back in December, I previewed this set of Tekken 5 Trading Figures. I pre-ordered them not too long afterwards and they have finally showed up. I was pretty excited about these little buggers as they looked really, really detailed in the photos plus they came with these funky accessories which are meant to emulate the extra items you can unlock in the video game. Pretty neat little treat if you ask me. So they showed up a few days ago and they look every bit as good as they did in the box except for the "color ways" (that's toy speak for color variations). I was expecting the color ways that I saw in the pictures so when Heihachi showed up in this kinda weird greenish/blue colored Gi, I was not happy. The worst offense was Raven who was supposed to come in black, but instead came in this space-age silver outfit which was not cool. The little accessories that came with each figure were pretty cool and showed some interesting diversity. The detail, paint and sculpting is very good so no disappointment there. My only other complaint would be that they don't really stand up that great without their plastic bases, which is not great for taking pictures or group shots. At $44 for the set, it's not a terrible investment as I have seen them much higher than ToyWiz. $7 per mini figure is about right. I certainly have spent more! I can hardly wait for the Soul Caliber figures which I also pre-ordered at the same time and they should be arriving any day now!! Those look great. Keep on checking back for that review and gallery!










Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Samurai 7 Anime Preview!!!

I'm not one to preview anime here at toybot studios. This is why when Danny Choo posted a link to check out "Samurai 7", I was like "meh", another Anime from the Tokyo Anime Festival. However, Danny's description did catch my eye: "just imagine a samurai theme with mechas and sengoku style battleships in the sky - well you need not imagine because you can get yourself along to the official Samurai 7 page and have a look yourself" So I did and OMG, what an impressive trailer it is indeed!! Think of it as a cross between Gundam, Ninja Scroll and Ghost in the Shell. Very groovesome indeed. Now if they can only keep the action high and the talking and existentialism (which all Japanese Anime are known for), then we will have a real winner here. Looking forward to it's release.

You guys are free to debate the greatness of "Akira" or the "Gundam" series, "Macross", "Cowboy Bebop", "Trigun", "Evangelion" or any others. I welcome your feedback. These top four, however, are the ones that stand out in my mind as some of the very best Anime ever produced:

The Original Ghost in the Shell

Ninja Scroll

Appleseed the Movie

Final Fantasy Advent Children

The Smallest Transformable Getter Dragon Review and Gallery!!!

Way back in December, I posted this article spotlighting Studio HalfEye: Led by Mr. Hajime Takashima who is perhaps THE best engineer in the toy industry, Studio HalfEye is a little known, garage toy company that produces some of the most amazing, intricate, and expensive toys on the market today. Studio HalfEye is known for it's $500 transforming die-cast Getter Robots. I have posted a couple of their fantastic feats of engineering marvel before including their stupendous transforming Go Dannar Robot. They should also be known for what they bill as the "smallest fully transforming robots" including the tiny four (4) inch Getter Robot below. Yikes! That's like a transforming mini figure!

Text and pictures courtesy of Hobby Link Japan:

"Studio HalfEye's engineering in making Getter Robo's transformation a 3-D reality is second to none--but such precision work doesn't come cheap, with their masterpiece sets usually priced at over 25,000 yen. Now Studio HalfEye comes through with a transformation of a different sort: a line of mass-produced, more affordably priced Getter Robo sets! This entry in the line is the transformable 11cm Getter Dragon, formed by combining the Dragon, Raiga, and Poseidon vehicles. Add the included two Getter Tomahawks, and Getter Dragon is ready for action!" 5 inch transforming Getter Dragon above for $73 not including overseas shipping.

At the time, this little gem was backordered and only recently did it arrive on my doorstep. I am impressed with Studio HalfEye's more expensive transforming robots so when they came out with a line of mini-transforming robots at a somewhat affordable price, I coudn't resist, but didn't quite know what to expect. The first thing I noticed when i pulled it out of it's plastic box was that it was made out of some kind of plastic-resin material. It was separated into the three vehicles and I immediately picked up the red one which forms the head and shoulders of Getter Dragon. I was a little thrown off when I realized it was just a shell of a vehicle. There wasn't any mass to it at all. The same could be said for the other two vehicles. Like I said, I wasn't sure what to expect, so when the three vehicles actually turned out to be what seemed like three, cheap, flimsy gumball toys, I was slightly put off. However, I decided to put my judgement aside and transform the vehicles and form Getter Dragon. A few origami-like moves of twisting, turning and folding the various parts of each vehicle and it was in a state where you could put each piece together to form Getter Dragon. The head/shoulders of the Dragon Vehicle combined the best with the blue Liger vehicle arms/torso section. The bottom and legs formed with the Poseidon Vehicle but was not secured very confidently. The resulting Getter Dragon is about 4 inches tall so indeed very small and much like a mini-figure. Add the hands, feet and weapons and it looks very much like an action figure with very little hint of it's Frankenstein pedigree. Sacrifices were made with the separate vehicles to make a very compelling Getter Dragon figure in the end. Like I said, I didn't know what to expect, but am overall impressed with the engineering of the whole thing, especially given the size. However, I think being raised on old-skool transforming die-cast, I would have preferred the meatiness of transforming die-cast vehicles to make up a die-cast Getter Dragon.

At over $70, it's quite expensive for what you get, but if you're into the novelty of transforming mini-figures and a hard-core Getter collector, this is not a bad addition to your collection. I think my investment of $35 for a set of 3 inch mini transforming Votoms was a much better deal. What do you guys think? Leave me a comment with your opinion!!



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