Kool Kollectibles content

23 Jun 2017

Transformers Masterpiece MP-37 Artfire

For me, the Inferno and Grapple molds were pretty amazing efforts from Takara in terms of engineering design and G1 cartoon accuracy. So the inevitable mold repaint in Artfire was a no-brainer preorder for me despite me having no memory or nostalgia for Targetmaster Transformers.

This Artfire and Targetmaster sidekick Nightstick were originally a Japan exclusive repaint back in 1987 I believe. With Takara going back to their roots in Diaclone repaints and other homages to classic colourways, I could not resist!

Click through below for my full video review over on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel! :)

Box art is same usual style. The accessories aren't as numerous as Inferno and Grapple, but Nightstick is a decent stand-in. I preordered this from Amiami in Japan, so it did not come with the collector coin. I had thought the coins were no longer made since they changed to the silly little diecast figures. But it now looks like the coins are back, so I had to order the coin separately from eBay. And with the coins back, I'll be making future orders from Robotkingdom in Hong Kong where the coins are always included for free!

The biggest relief with this figure is that all the unique decals are tamped on, and not stickers! I was worried that they would include a sticker sheet like with Inferno and Shockwave, but thankfully Takara did the right thing!

And the overall quality of the decals is very well done! They add to the unique look and add nice little details over the figure. The figure looks great in bot mode, and I do like the metallic silver face plate. But I always display my repaint figures in vehicle mode.

And luckily he looks great in vehicle mode too! The use of chrome on various parts is nice, and there wasn't too much paint slop apart from a couple of minor scratches on mine. All in all, it's another great addition to the cast of repaint characters. Now I just hope they announce more of the Diaclone colours like Black Ironhide (and a red Sunstreaker once MP-39 comes out!)

18 Jun 2017

Transformers Masterpiece MP-11ND Dirge

When Takara finally announced all the Seeker coneheads in MP form, I was so happy just to finally be able to complete the original G1 cartoon Seeker cast in MP form. The releases of Ramjet and Thrust were plagued with controversy over QC issues that resulted in incorrect shoulder assembly on Ramjet and loose hips on Thrust.

For the most part, the Dirge release has rectified those previous issues, but it's still not a perfect figure by any means. Click through below to watch my full video review on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel. More pics and my thoughts are also further below.

The box art is the same classy MP design (thankfully they haven't decided to change that like they did with the collector card art!). Accessories are a bare minimum with the recent MP-11 releases. The cluster bombs are a nice addition for jet mode, but pretty useless to me for bot mode.

Jet mode looks pretty nice, but mine did have a weird issue with the knees that prevented me from being able to get the brown wide panels to sit flush with the wings. I tried various knee angles, but just couldn't get it right. I gave up in the end since I always display the core cast in bot mode.

And overall in bot mode Dirge does look pretty nice. I do wish they had given him more paint application, since he does seem very plasticky. Some premium glossy or metallic paint would've given him a more premium feel.

At least this time there's no issues with the shoulders and loose hips. Everything feels firm and sturdy. I would be very careful with the folding joints on the wings though. I've barely touched mine, but can see small stress marks on some joints already, so be careful there.

I do like the head sculpt, and the overall body proportions I think are the best out of all the conehead variants on the market. The 3rd party choices all have something off about them for me, such as heads that are too small, or bodies that are too short or too tall. I think the MP-11 mold strikes a decent enough balance for cartoon accuracy. Some hate the large knees, but I think they look pretty great.

Together with his conehead brethren, they look awesome on display. There's enough mold retooling to make them interesting, and the differences with the standard MP-11 Starscream mold also sets them apart nicely.

For now, I'm glad they've completed the Seekers I wanted in the MP series. No doubt I'm sure the future will hold some new design, but hopefully that's a few years off and Takara can release more characters from the G1 Season 1 and 2 character list. Definitely looking forward to Sunstreaker!

15 Jun 2017

Lego 75144 Star Wars Ultimate Collector's Series Snowspeeder

After getting the original Lego UCS X-wing and TIE Interceptor back around 2000, I passed on most of the others, including the previous UCS Snowspeeder. But once Lego announced a new version of the X-wing, TIE Fighter, Slave 1, and now the Snowspeeder, I just couldn't resist!

I was actually hoping this year's release would be a new UCS Millenium Falcon, but that was not to be. But Lego have still done a stellar job with this new Snowspeeder!

Click through below to checkout my video review of the new Snowspeeder. Scroll on down for some more pics and thoughts :)

I ordered the set directly from the Lego online store using VIP points that I accrued from the previous UCS sets. They threw in the new 30611 R2-D2 set, which was a nice little build. I thought it was actually just a mini-figure, but the build was a nice treat.

Here's the finished R2-D2, which is pretty nice for a freebie given out with the Snowspeeder! Shame the centre leg can't really retract, but that's a minor nit to pick.

But onto the main attraction! First up, I had no idea who the mini-fig pilots were until I read the instruction manual. I never realised Rogue 2 from Hoth (who located Han and Luke in the snow) was called Zev Senesca. I don't think his name is ever mentioned in the movie. He has the darker helmet of the two, and I still have no idea who the other pilot is meant to be. Both have nicely printed labels on their outfits, and suit the display stand well.

The build for the Snowspeeder was pretty straight forward, and throughout Lego made sure to include some nice moments. There were definitely some engineering design elements that surprised and impressed me. Of note were the way in which the ball joints are used to create the angles at the front of the craft, the way the gears and rear thrusters rotate together to open up the wing flaps, control within the cockpit of the rear harpoon gun, and the design of the cockpit itself.

A controversial point was the use of rubber bands to close the gap of the underside wings against the top folding wings. I worry about the longevity of the rubber bands, but there's not too much tension in them. I still think Lego could've used the usual angle brackets, but I guess they used the bands to make a perfect alignment of the top and bottom wings.

The rear vertical fins fit in nicely and were a separate component to build. Inserting them into the main body was a bit of a pain, so be careful where you put your hands to apply pressure.

As I mentioned before, the front angular panels were created using ball jointed panels, which was a great idea to allow easy adjustment of the panels. Overall I think it makes the front look better than the original set. I also love the subtle angle of the laser cannons on top of the wings. It was great seeing how all the separate parts connected together along the length of the wing.

Perhaps my only other nitpick is Lego's continued use of stickers. I really wish they would just tamp all their decals and save collectors the hassle of trying to align things perfectly. But again, in the overall scheme of things, that's not too big a deal.

On display, the size and detail are right up there with the other recent UCS sets, and make for a great Star Wars display. Hopefully they announce a new Millenium Falcon soon so that I can start saving!