Saturday, April 28, 2012

Playmobil Figures Series 2 and 3: Randomization and Customization

The Playmobil Figures (actually called Fi?ures) series 2 is out in stores now. I managed to pick up a few packages at my local Five Below for about $3.00 each. 

These continue with a similar feel of iconic character types as the Lego mini figure series does, but at the same time they really branch out on their own... into some seriously bizarre territory.

Click through the jump for a deeper look at what Playmobil is up to. I have images of the figures I received, the other crazy/awesome/strange Series 2 figures, the upcoming Series 3 figures, and some ups and downs of Playmobil customization. 


Springtime brings about of my favorite hobbies: going to yard sales.  My town’s annual yard sale was this weekend, and I was able to get some pretty weird and interesting stuff.

This boxing nun was for free, because the guy knew me from bar trivia, and because I couldn't find change smaller than for a five. I think I'll have her fight Lady Elaine Fairchilde.

Lego Exclusive Minifigure Promos! and official Lego stores are running some very tempting promotions in May.

First on May the 4th (Star Wars Day) and the 5th, you can get a free minifigure of TC-14, the silver-plated C3-P0 dopplegänger from The Phantom Menace. It's not really free though. You need to spend $75 US on Lego Star Wars sets. This is tough considering there aren't any new sets for a few months... but I want that damn silver droid!

May 4th-5th: Free TC-14 minifigure with $75 (US) Star Wars set purchase (in-store & on-line)
Then from May 16th-30th, you can get a cheaper (but still not free) standard sized Hulk minifigure with any Lego purchase of $50. Forget the massive Hulk figure that comes in the Superhero sets... this tiny figure, with hair bigger than his muscles, is the one that I need! Although I prefer TC-14, I think this purchase will be much easier to justify. I'm behind on a ton of sets, so it could be a good chance to pick up some of the Superhero sets, or even some of those cool Dinosaurs.

May 16th-30th: Free Hulk minifigure with $50 (US) Lego purchase (in-store & on-line)

Avengers Assemble! Hot Toys Captain America Pre-Order.

Although I ragged on his on-screen costume in my Avengers review, this upcoming 6th scale Captain America from Hot Toys looks pretty incredible. All jazz ballet jibes aside I have to concede that this is an amazingly crafted figure, and anyone managing to actually collect all of the team members is going to have a very impressive (and expensive) display on their hands. I have the Hot Toys Batman Begins Bruce Wayne/Batman and can attest to the quality, detail and uncanny shrunken likenesses. Admittedly I won't be rushing out to get Cap, but I think I'll be very tempted to grab Black Widow when her pre-order is up for grabs shortly.

I imagine that these will be popular (especially once the movie opens in the US) so if you're going to take the plunge then you probably should  check out more images and pre-order him at Sideshow Collectibles:
Hot Toys Movie Masterpiece Series Captain America Sixth Scale Figure - The Avengers

They also have limited stock of the First Avenger World War II version as well:
Hot Toys Movie Masterpiece Series Captain America 12-inch Figure - Captain America: The First Avenger

Join me after the jump if you need a reminder of what the equally amazing Hawkeye and Nick Fury pieces will look like.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mr Foley

A man tries to escape his soundtrack

ThreeA Toys Showcase Portal Robots and More!

I'm consistently entranced by the work of ThreeA toys, spearheaded by phenomenal artist Ashley Wood (who hails from right here in Perth!). ThreeA are now in the midst of their Re-Venture toy and art show and there's some simply stunning future product images spilling onto the web. One of particular note is their incredibly detailed figures of Atlas and P-Body from Portal 2:

For more on ThreeA and their releases and where to find them, join me after the jump!

Review: Mass Effect 3 Action Figures Wave 1 and 2.

You know what I love? Bioware’s epic space trilogy Mass Effect and collecting things that I don’t really need. So when I saw that Big Fish Toys were releasing their second wave of action figures - this time based on Mass Effect 3 - I faced the inevitable realisation that I would have to have them all. For some reason. Then I could lie on the living room floor and use them to re-enact all my favourite Mass Effect moments and awkward, inter-species sexual relations.
Well last week the first eight figures arrived. What do they look like? Are they any good? Which characters are present and who is still missing? Find out all this and maybe some more... after the (mass effect relay) jump!

Thank GIF it's Friday

I would love to know the origin of this.

Tarantino's Django Unchained Looks Finger Lickin' Good.

Not every highly-anticipated film this year involves spandex-clad muscle-men saving the world by punching each other in the face. Let's not forget that Sir Quentin Tarantino also has a new movie releasing in 2012: Django Unchained, his riff on classic westerns.

Those gadabouts at Entertainment Weekly seem to somehow have beaten us to the scoop by scoring the first official shots of the three main characters in costume. Check out Jamie Foxx as the titular character Django at the link, as well as Christoph Waltz as some kind of wild west hairy galoot. But the image that really surprised me was to learn that dreamy Leonardo DiCaprio appears to be playing the young Colonel Sanders:
I'm a big fan of your chicken.
I can only assume that this film is largely about the young Colonel's quest to gather 11 secret herbs and spices with the aid of his trusty hammer. It's exhausting work and it also results in the invention of the refresher towelette. Which basically changed the way we view the world today. I'm a huge fan of designer facial hair in films - especially on villains - and this appears to be some fine work from Leo. I may cosplay as him in the future.

If Tarantino manages to entertainment even half as much as Inglorious Bastards then this will be one to look out for. Assuming modern audiences are still capable of sitting through a film which doesn't contain a Hulk.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pokemon Battle Royale: 151 Pokemon, Illustrated By 151 Different Artists

If I could get to Minneapolis, MN before May 11th, I would TOTALLY have to see the Pokemon Battle Royale exhibit in person. Just the name alone sounds awesome, POKEMON BATTLE ROYALE.

#2 - Ivysaur by Andrew Kolb

Light Grey Art Lab commissioned 151 artists to design/paint/illustrate an 8x8 image of the first 151 Pokemon characters (a/k/a the best 151 Pokemon characters). The art styles vary so much, and it's such a joy to look at these images, and find your favorite Pokemon.

Many of them are available as prints for just $40! I can't decide which one I need the most... so I'll probably just have to get them all. Did I mention that I'm a huge Pokemon fan? My Dewgong deck will destroy you.

Visit the complete gallery online at

...and you can buy prints at

Click through the jump for a selection of favorites!

Shadowrun Returns - Kickstarter Campaign Final Hours

Back in the day, Shadowrun was (and still is) one of the coolest tabletop RPGs out there. A fusion of a modern day D&D and cyberpunk set in a future version of America, the game was streets ahead for its time (early 90s) where you could play Street Samurai, Riggers, Mages, and Deckers. During that time, several video games were made based on Shadowrun, the best among them being for the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis, both with their own unique storylines and characters. Since its origins, its seen 4 editions of the tabletop RPG, and some less than stellar video games, but that is all about to change.

 Jordan Weisman, the original designer of the original Shadowrun game/concept, has licensed back the game and is about to embark on a recreation of his original work in another video game aptly named Shadowrun Returns, and will be released for the Mac, PC and Linux (for the true Deckers out there). They asked for $400,000 to make it, and with just under 60 hours left in the campaign they are currently over $1.5 million.


You can pledge your $15 here for whats likely to be a fantastic game, or more for some awesome swag.

Don't know much about Shadowrun? Oh son, read on and learn

Robot Chicken DC Comics Special!

Too bad it'll have to wait for fall but look what was announced today!

Get all the information here at!!  Sweet!

The Readthrough of Time: The Dragon Reborn

The Readthrough of Time continues this week with The Dragon Reborn, the third volume in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. As with the previous books thus far, I won't be doing a traditional review, although it is worth noting that this is the first book I've encountered that mirrors a lot of the complaints that I've heard over the years about the series. We'll dive into that and more beyond the jump.

Hot Problems: "Party with My Friends" A Star Wars Sing-Along

If you can get Ackbar to sing your song, then you know you've made it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Avengers '78

Of late it seems like we've been Avengers HQ, so in continuation of this trend, here's an oldie but a goodie - Avengers '78. In which the Avengers meet for the first time, fight Loki and KISS and are generally bad ass. 

This may or may not be real.

Tom Hiddleston defends superhero movies and is smarter than you

Tom Hiddleston (i.e. my latest dishy Englishman, also Loki In Thor and The Avengers) flexes his Cambridge muscles in an article posted in the Guardian about the appeal of Superhero movies. I'm rather gratified that my instinctual belief that he was one smart bastard has been proved true. Totally impressive and profound piece by a dude who knows his shit. Respect.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What's Out? 25th of April 2012

If you're in Australia it's a public holiday and you'll just have to make do with watching The Avengers movie until tomorrow. For everybody else, here's what you can get:

Review: The Avengers.

There are so many smug one-liners in the first half of Joss Whedon's The Avengers that you could seamlessly add a continual sitcom laugh-track, complete with "Wooooos!" and cheers every time somebody enters a room. Sure, Tony Stark is jokey, but now everyone is jokey and quirky. Thor drops one-liners. Coulson is crazy quirky. The random guy working on the computer in the background on the hellicarrier is quirky and jokey (I'm not exaggerating here - you'll see for yourself what he's doing). At times it's like watching an episode of Friends set at a cosplay convention. I guarantee that at some point in the future someone WILL cut it together with a laugh track and we'll all laugh again but for a different reason.

Is that a criticism? Well, yes and no. Because it also makes the movie a lot of fun. It jets along at a solid pace, always thrusting new characters and conflicts into our face (literally if you're watching it in 3D - more weapons break out of the screen than any modern 3D movie I've seen prior to this) and the script is generally quite funny. The jokes don't always work, but there's enough of them flying around for many of them to stick. 

And that's a perfect example of the mixed feelings that I have about The Avengers, a film that I was desperately excited to see, and am still kind of buzzed about in its wake. It's story is messy bordering on non-existent, the tone is uneven, many things happen purely because the advancement of the plot demands it or - even worse - because it services a punchline. And yet this movie is incredibly entertaining. There's no question that it's a must-see on a scale that dwarfs its predecessors, and with an action-packed second half that will be sure to appease anybody with a pulse. The midnight crowd I saw it with were certainly appreciative and I would guess that most adored it. 

If you can relax, switch off and have fun then it's a perfect popcorn adventure. But we're going to try to go a little deeper than that. Because remember Michael Bay? He makes movies with paper thin, jumbled stories; quirky, jokey characters, and huge action scenes, but we don't give him a free pass, right? We pull it all apart and talk about what does and doesn't work. Whedon is certainly no Bay but this movie perhaps skirts that arena a little more than you might think. Nobody pulls down their pants or humps anybody's leg though. We can still love Whedon for his wit.

Both spoiler-free and spoiler-filled reactions after the jump.

Celebrity Apprentice Recaps: Episode Ten. Bullshit.

It’s another infuriating episode of the Celebrity Apprentice this week, with an outcome that will make your eyes roll so far backwards that you’ll be able to wink at your brain. 

Seriously, if the reasons for firing contestants were any more random, Donald Trump would just close his eyes, spin around, and point somewhere across the table. The show once again proves that it’s not about business, it’s not about ability, it’s not even really about personality... it’s just a jumbled farce where an old rich guy pokes randomly at celebrities, trying to elicit some sort of reaction or drama, like a raccoon rummaging through the trash. (A reverse raccoon, of course, because Donald is completely tanned except for around his eyes).

To find out what made my blood boil and buttocks clench, join me after the jump!

Moebius x Cindy Crawford x Japanese soft drink

These are pretty great. Two old Japanese adds featuring designs by the late great Moebius and staring a young Cindy Crawford for a drink called "Pocari Sweat".

Now my translation of things Japanese isn't great but I'm sure this drink is made of magical supermodel sweat. MMMM... salty

Stryder's Favourite Comics - 4/18/2012 Part 2

As promised yesterday, here's the rest of my favourite comics!  Check out Part 1 if you haven't yet and enjoy!

All set?  Ok let's get right into the official begging of "Night of the Owls"!!

Batman #8 "We're in the HEART of your house, Bruce!  The House of Wayne!  And of BATMAN!"

"Night of the Owls" officially kicks off with a bang!  A heart-to-heart between an injured and subdued Bruce Wayne and the ever-faithful Alfred is interrupted when an ARMY of Talons invades the mansion!!  Bruce has been nearly killed several times in the last bunch of issues by a SINGLE Talon.  Now we have a multitude!!  This is not good...

Luckily, while Bruce may not be at his best physically, his brain is still working.  He leads the Talons on a chase through mansion and Bat-Cave, giving both himself and Alfred some space to move, and then he quickly suggests a tactical retreat into what may be the most useful room around...the Bat-Cave Armoury!

The thing about this book, and the Talons and the Court of Owls...the thing about it is, it's so creepy and urgent and threatening and familiar all at the same's just unsettling.  I don't remember when I've been this interested or this creeped out by a comic book story, EVER.  Maybe Neil Gaiman's Sandman back in the day...Great Work DC!

We are also treated to a back-up story this issue that will continue and follow Alfred if the rumours are true.  For this issue it continues directly off the main story.   In part one here, Alfred manages to decode a list of targets from one of the Talons and call all of the Bat-Family in for back-up!  I don't know if they'll be in time to save him though.  Oh, this story is titled "The Call" but the overall story ark is called "Fall of the House of Wayne"!  Like I said above...Unsettling!

Of course it doesn't stop there!  More Owls after the JUMP!

Nerd History: Emmy Noether

I'm not really much of a math guy - it's a wonder I can balance my checkbook. So if someone asked me to name even one famous mathematician, I'd probably be lost for words. With that said, so many unrelated people shared this story from the New York Times about Emmy Noether that I would be lax in sharing it here.

I am not one to be able to speak of her accomplishments, as I don't really understand them. What I can tell you is that Albert Einstein considered her one of the most significant mathematicians, and her work is at the root of various mathematical and scientific theories ranging from Einstein's theory of relativity to the current search for the Higgs-Boson. Given that her heyday was back in the early 1900s, it's impressive enough that she was able to come up with so much advanced theory, never mind being a woman at that time in history - heck, the women and math stereotype still persists in 2012, and Noether was busting that up 100 years ago.

Noether's someone more of us should know. Share this with the people in your life, because it really is a pretty inspiring story.

F**k Yeah Game of Thrones! Episode Four: Garden of Bones

ZOMGWTF Game of Thrones!!! Any misgivings about the expository/introductory nature of the first few episodes are quickly dashed as we are bludgeoned by what might be the most messed up episode of Game of Thrones episode ever. And for more reasons than one! Holy crap! I can think of at least three reasons to cower during this one!

Pew! Pew! Pew!
To find out more about the dark depravity that lies before you, join me after the jump where we will shiver and squeal like tiny girls. (And, as always, remember that I have never read the books and all of this is new to me!).

The Book Was Better Podcast: Episode 16: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom!

Did you know that Jessica McLeod and I have a podcast where we discuss, debate and mock movie novelisations!? Well we do! And this one is about my favourite adventurer: Indiana Jones! It is guaranteed to give you all Indiana Jonesers boners!

Here's what Jess had to say:
"Much like Indiana Jones and his paramour Willie Scott, Luke and Jessica yell at each other a lot in this one. But you, the listener, are their beloved Short Round, and by the end of the episode they will get married and take you back to America with them. Or Jessica will stab Luke with his own Indie action figure. Listen and find out!"
Ha ha, it's true! She nearly murders me during the recording of this one.

You can grab it on itunes or download it now from the official site!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Avengers Trailer (sweded)

Avengers is out this week time to get amped by watching the trailer again

...those budget cuts are starting to show.

Stryder's Favourite Comics - 4/18/2012 Part 1

My big week for comics this week and so once again I split this thing into 2 parts!  No one wants to read about 8 comics all at once right?  Even if 5 of them at least MENTION "Night of the Owls"?  There's a topic that's mostly going to show up tomorrow...for now, let's see who (besides me) thinks Green Arrow's a little silly?

Justice League #8 - Green Arrow is such a wannabe stalker.  He's following the Justice League around trying to get them to let him join up.  Seriously!  They, like I, feel that arrows are not going to be the most efficient solution to the problems one encounters whilst crime-fighting.  Even Green Lantern and Batman (uncomfortably) agree about this!  C'mon can barely carry your own book and now you want in the League?

The story was super interesting though in that the places and events that Green Arrow "stalked" ran almost like a clip show for the League, showing stuff that has happened in the gap between the original 6 issues (5  years ago)  and the "present day" stuff.  In particular there is a crazy two-page spread featuring the Justice League battling a VERY cool looking foe.  I don't want to spoil just WHO it may be, but let's just say there's some impressive historical impact here.  Oh, and of course we also get a brief "Night of the Owls" reference!  Gotta sell that epic crossover goodness!

In other news, Shazam! returns this month.  Well, actually, Billy Batson's back...he still doesn't have the power to change into NOT-Captain Marvel.  We do get to see him meet his foster family while we learn a little more about his character.  It's all well and good, I guess, but I feel like this story belongs in it's own book rather than in Justice League.  Still, it's not taking away from the rest of the comic so I don't mind.  More bang for the buck, right?

What's going on elsewhere in the DCU?  Find out after the JUMP!!

First Impressions: World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria Beta Demystified!

Blizzard has earned a fair bit of Internet snark for following up its death, dragons and destruction-based expansion, Cataclysm, with the upcoming rolling, Kung Fu panda-based expansion Mists of Pandaria. In a fantasy world of orcs, goblins, dwarves and werewolves, playing as a cutesy, walking panda bear does seems a little out of place. You may as well just call it: World of Warcraft: Ewoks of Asia.

That said, having recently committed to a 12 month Warcraft subscription, I was gifted a special mount, a free copy of Diablo III on release, and guaranteed access to the Pandaria beta. Yes, I have now officially donned my panda skin and traversed the suspiciously non-existent mists of Pandaria! Seriously... I don’t remember much mist at all. Misleading, Blizzard! Disappointing!

So what do I think having actually played (a very early) part of the game? Join me after the jolly, chubby panda jump to find out!

Kickstart the Week: Snapstagram - Just Prints

If you're in love with Instagram as much as I am, this week's featured Kickstarter project should make you very happy. I've always said that Instagram is my second favorite social network (behind Twitter), but it may be creeping towards #1. The instant access to a mini-photoshop style effects toolbar is awesome, and then sharing the photos with friends/followers takes it to that social network level of interaction and excitement.

Snapstagram is a high quality printing service for your Instagram photos. It's already doubled it's $3000 funding goal, but there are still benefits to pledging. All backers will get rolls of their images delivered to them once the service goes live, but backers at the $25 level and up get early beta access to the site and services.

And while we're on the subject, I'd like to announce that we've setup a Fruitless Pursuits Instagram account! Our username is fruitlesspursuits and you'll find images from all of the topics we cover here on the site, as well as photos from events that we cover, and much more. It's gonna be lots of fun.