Kool Kollectibles content

22 Feb 2020

Hot Toys MMS511 R2-D2 Deluxe

I have the previous Sideshow Collectibles R2-D2 Deluxe figure set, which is still a pretty decent set with some great accessories. The first couple of Hot Toys releases for R2-D2 didn't really interest me too much, but their announcement of their own Deluxe version finally sold me with the Leia hologram accessories.

Check out the link below for my video review over on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel. It's a great set that has definite improvements over the Sideshow version.


The set comes with a decent array of accessories. Many of the attachments are magnetic, which makes them very easy to attach to Artoo when you open up the panels. The detail and paint application on the attachments are much better than the Sideshow version. The only accessory I think the Sideshow version has that is worth using now is the drinks tray.

The little lamp is similar to the one that came with the Yoda set, but this time has an chord that also attaches to Artoo. The light is not too bright, but is good enough for what it is. The Star Wars logo remote control is nice, similar to the one that came with their first Darth Vader figure. It controls the lights and sound effects on the figure, which I surprisingly liked a lot more than I thought I would! I usually hate electronic features, but the iconic sounds from Artoo really did put a smile on my face.


The Leia holograms were the accessory that finally sold me on this set. The Sideshow Deluxe set had one too, but it was just transluscent blue plastic with not too many facial features. This upgrade from Hot Toys gives it a much better sculpt, and looks far more accurate to the scene on Tatooine.

The little base that provides the light is decent, and is quite bright. Unfortunately the light piping in the holograms really only allows the light into the lower half of the body. But the overall effect is decent.


The Sideshow version came with a more movie accurate table from that scene in Obi-wan's hut. I think using the new Hot Toys hologram on the old Sideshow table is the perfect combination! I haven't tried the light up effect of the Sideshow table to see how it looks with the new hologram, but I'm sure it'll be a decent enough effect.


The biggest improvement on the figure itself is the use of the diecast medal dome. The brushed finish is much nicer, and there is no longer an ugly plastic seam like the Sideshow had. The difference in the domes side by side is quite striking.

The body itself is pretty similar, but the internal detailings within the panels and the way the accessories attach is quite different. The Hot Toys version has much more subtle weathering, which I think is fine. The deeper blue also seems more accurate, and certainly looks better on display.

For now, I'll be keeping both versions, with the Sideshow Artoo and Threepio figures being my Return of the Jedi versions with Hot Toys Jedi Luke. The new Hot Toys version will go with my other Hot Toys figures from A New Hope.


If you're on the fence about getting this new Hot Toys, I think it's worth getting as an improvement over the Sideshow version. Side by side, there's no doubt it's a better looking figure on display. Whether it's better than the Tamashii Nations Artoo is debatable. I prefer the Hot Toys version since the Tamashii is far too clean, and I don't really like the rivets in the sculpt of the body.

Together with the rest of the core hero cast from A New Hope, I think this R2-D2 looks fantastic. Now I just hope Hot Toys gets off their arse and announce a decent version of C-3PO to complete the photo below!


17 Feb 2020

Toy Collecting and Affordability

An interesting discussion on a Facebook toy group recently made me think about one aspect of toy collecting that is always a bit controversial - affordability. To set the scene, the original poster stated that they had chosen to buy one item because they thought a different version "was too expensive". There were many comments from collectors affirming that they believed the poster made the right choice. Some other collectors commented that the poster should have considered another option altogether from the two that were compared. And I chimed in with my reasons as to why I thought the better option was actually the item they chose not to buy.

A response to my thoughts essentially chastised me, where they indicated that the original poster "clearly said he didn’t have the money for it" and that "some people don’t have $350-$400 to pony up for one figure". That got me thinking about affordability for us collectors, and whether that's even a valid argument in this particular debate. For context, it should be noted that the item the poster decided to buy is roughly about $250 brand new going by ebay sold listings, so is not cheap in itself, which added to my thoughts.


We collectors are a fickle bunch, making snap decisions and changing our stance on things all the time. Affordability, pricing of figures, and whether some thing is "worth it" always generates some times heated discussion. In this instance, the original poster did NOT say that he couldn't afford the item, but simply said that they thought it "was too expensive" and so decided to buy another version. That to me is not an affordability issue, but a conscious collecting decision to buy something else that is "more value for money" in their eyes.

Collectors need to remember that we're just spending disposable income here (assuming we have our priorities straight in life!). The fact the poster spent $250 on an item instead of $350 is NOT an affordability issue. If they truly could not afford the more expensive item, then I'd be questioning why they're spending $250 on a toy at all! If you have $250 in disposable income, one could assume that you'd have more disposable income next week, or next pay day. So they could have simply saved that $250, waited to the next time they have more disposable income, and buy the better, but more expensive item!

Affordability to me is when your income is NOT enough to cover life's essentials! If you reach pay day, but you can't cover your mortgage/rent, put food on the table, and pay your bills, then you have an affordability issue! But after all of those essentials, if you have disposable income, then it is no longer an affordability issue, but one about the collecting choices you make and how you spend that money. Saving up for a more expensive figure above is just one example - I'll give some other examples below.


I have spoken to many collectors who say that they cannot afford 1/6th scale Hot Toys figures, that generally range in price from $220 to $300. They say that in the same breath as saying that they just received their haul of five smaller 1/12th scale figures that range in price from about $50 to $80 each! In reality, they have spent pretty much the same amount of money, just on different items. It simply cannot be an affordability issue! It is purely a collecting decision they made that they would rather have five smaller figures than one larger figure.

It comes down to what is "more value for money" in their eyes. Just use the Luke Skywalker picture above as an example. In almost all discussions, I would recommend to collectors that spending $300 on the larger figure, rather than buying 5-10 of the smaller figures would be the better option. Many collectors still choose to buy the smaller figures, and that's perfectly OK. They get more enjoyment buying more figures for their collection. But they shouldn't then come out and say that they can't afford the larger figures, because they certainly can!

The same analogy applies to Lego collectors. I've had collectors say that they cannot afford to buy the $1000 UCS sets, but then I see them posting photos of the many $100 sets that they got in a recent haul. Again, they have essentially spent the same amount of money, but they view more smaller sets as better value for money than just one large set. That again, is not an affordability issue, but a collecting decision they made, just as I made the equally valid reverse decision to buy one large set instead of many smaller sets.


In the end, we collectors make decisions on what we buy, and whether the things we buy are "worth it". It's all subjective, and what is value for money for one person may not be for another. But that does NOT mean one person can afford it, and the other cannot. I've made the mistake myself by saying that I can't afford a particular item, but what I really should have said is that it's not worth it to me.

That is, there are many things that I simply cannot justify the price to buy, but then there are some things that are more expensive that I strangely can justify! The large and expensive Ryu statue above is a case in point, where I could justify that price in my head, but cannot justify spending $50 on a new shirt! It's not about affordability!

I think many collectors, myself included, need to think about what they realistically can and can't afford, as opposed to what they can and can't justify collecting. I mean, it's just toys we're talking about here, with disposable income that we have to throw at them! A first world problem if there ever was one! 😂

6 Jan 2020

2 Jan 2020

End of 2019 Collection Update

Well it's the start of a new decade now, so here's my end of 2019 collection update video. It was actually a slower year for me in 2019, with a bit more focus on some major pieces instead of getting lots of items this year.

Thanks again to everyone that has tuned into the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel and interacted with me on the Facebook page. It's always been fantastic to be part of such a great collecting community. Hope you can all stick around to see what I have coming to my collection in 2020 and beyond!


Bandai Soul of Chogokin GX-88 Dairugger XV Vehicle Force Voltron

Back in 2013 I got the Miracle Productions MA-01 Vehicle Force Voltron. That was perhaps the best representation of the character in diecast form for many years. Unfortunately the release was plagued with quality issues (albeit mine were minimised since I had the subsequent version that had some QC issues fixed from the very initial released version).

Then of course Bandai released the Soul of Chogokin GX-71 GoLion (Lion Force Voltron) in 2017, which showed how amazing they are in making diecast metal robots! Every fan was praying for them to also make the Dairugger XV Vehicle Force Voltron. It took them over 2 years to get there, but this GX-88 Dairugger XV is a phenomenal figure, and really does blow the Miracle Productions version out of the water.

Click through below to watch my full video review over on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel. Hope you can give the video a thumbs up, and also subscribe to the channel!


Just like the GX-71 GoLion, this set is beautifully packaged, with gorgeous box art and all the accessories you'd want to have with this figure! The display stand with the accessories is again a nice touch, but I just don't have the space to display it. So both the stands and most accessories for this GX-88 and the previous GX-71 are back in the box.

The chroming on all the relevant accessories is very nicely done. It's all very clean with little to no sprue marks that I could see. The array of hands suits all the poses and fits the applicable accessories nicely.


The Ground Team (Land Division) comes together nicely. The overall assembling experience across all the teams is far more enjoyable with this GX-88 than with the MA-01 version. I never felt like I had to struggle and use excessive force to peg or connect components together. The design of the features to assemble the teams is far more intuitive and easy.

The only thing I don't particularly like about the Ground Team components is the large front bumper on the cars. It's definitely more noticeble when they are separate components, but become less noticeable when fully assembled into Voltron. Since that's the way in which I'll be displaying the set in my collection, I'm overall OK with it.


The Sea Team (Sea Division) are also nicely done. I love the chromed pieces that can be attached to the vehicles to give that extra bit of detail, and then removed for the full Voltron mode. The metallic blue is a beautiful shade, and the overall paint application is sharp with no colour bleed. Again, the way in which the components come together is much cleaner and simpler than with the MA-01 version.


The Air Team (Air Division) look great too. The helicopters are painted more accurate to the cartoon than the MA-01 version, and the pieces come together nicely. The only aspect of the MA-01 version I prefer is the magnetic base to the Falcon Jet Fighter. The use of magnets makes the connection to the chest piece much easier. There were a couple of times where the clips on this version made me feel like I was just about to snap something trying to get it off.

Whatever material they've used is pretty strong, so I haven't had any issues. But a simpler mechanism would've been much better. But at least the head piece is a huge improvement.


 The experience to form Voltron is very enjoyable, with simple clicks and pushes to get everything solidly assembled. I didn't have to break out in a sweat, swear, or hurt my fingers like I did with the MA-01 version!

The articulation and stability of this GX-88 is also amazing. Bandai really does know how to use diecast in all the best strategic places. This maxmises strength and stability in the figure, such as the hips and ankles.

Getting this into some heroic and quite dynamic poses is a joy, and it holds up beautifully next to the GoLion. I'm so happy that this can even get both hands together to hold the sword in front.


My favourite part of the articulartion would have to be the hips, where there is strength to allow some wide poses and more natural stances. The ankle articulation allows the feet to be flat in most poses to help with stability.


Posed next to GX-71 GoLion, you can't help but think that these two sets really are the definitive versions of the two Voltrons every released. They scale quite well together, and the quality of both sets is visible to anyone that sees them.


These two will be proud additions to my collection, and won't ever be leaving it! I still remember all those Saturday mornings and afternoons after school watching classic 80s cartoons, and the Voltron series were among my favourite. It makes me so happy that Bandai have released such high quality versions of these two that I'll be able to enjoy for many years to come!

Storm Collectibles Guile from Ultra Street Fighter 2

Just like the Sagat figure, this Guile is another fun figure in this Street Fighter 2 series by Storm Collectibles. The whole package I think is excellent, with lots of aspects that really bring back memories of the character in the arcade game.

Click through below to check out my full video review on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel.


The set is again jam-packed with accessories. The head sculpts are a stand out as usual, with fantastic paint application. The blood and the eyes are really nicely done. They suit the array of hands and fight move effects like the sonic boom and flash kick.

You'll need a different figure stand to hold the figure upside down if you want to use the flash kick accessory. But one of the Bandai action stands should do the trick. The two sonic boom effects are nicely molded too and look great posed with the figure.


Articulation is pretty good, although there is significant gappage in the torso area. The soft rubber upper torso tends to fold and get caught in the gap, which is unfortunate. Other than that, the other aspects of articulation are pretty good.

I love that they included the comb to get him into that classic combing hair victory pose. The colour and style of the figure just bring back so many great memories of the various Street Fighter 2 variants.

I really hope that Storm continue this SF2 series, and announce characters like E.Honda and Blanka. Here's hoping for announcements soon in 2020!


Storm Collectibles Sagat from Ultra Street Fighter 2

I love that Storm Collectibles are making Street Fighter 2 figures. That's the arcade game that started it all for me back in the early 90s, and these figures bring me so much nostalgia. It's great that the quality of these figures is pretty damn good too!

Click below to check out my full video review over on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel!


These Storm figure sets come jam-packed with accessories, which are all of high quality. I especially love the alternate head sculpts that really gives a lot of options for poses and photo opportunities. The sculpting and paint application on each head sculpt is excellent for this scale.

The array of swap out hands, display stand, and the Tiger Shot flame give all the options you need for the action poses.

The articulation of the figure is surprisingly good. And the balance is beautiful too, which joints that are firm enough to hold a decent fighting pose without toppling over. The only area of concern when posing are the ankles, where using the tilting and rocking motions may scratch off the white paint of the feet straps.

Other than that, all the joints give a very wide range of motion that can get him into all the classic fighting move poses for the character. The figure scales pretty well with the Ryu too, and the body proportions look nicer unlike the more stocky, short-legged style of Ryu and Ken.

If you're a fan of Street Fighter 2, and played in the arcades like I did, I think you'll love these figures. It's just a lot of fun posing them together to try to recreate those fighting rounds that are ingrained in my memory!


Bandai Star Wars Movie Realization Kylo Ren

They timed the release of this Kylo Ren pretty well with the release of the Rise of Skywalker. The figure overall looks pretty nice and fits in well with the others in the series. There are a few annoying aspects to the figure though.

Check out my full video review over on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel below.


Contents out of the box are the standard fare, with just a small selection of swap out hands and his broad sword. The style of the sword isn't really Japanese, being more medieval Europe in design, but I think it still looks pretty nice.


The mask is quite nicely done, with decent protruding spikes to give it that menacing style. It would've been interesting if they had made the eyes somewhat visible, but they went with an inset look that doesn't reveal anything underneath. That works better for Vader I think.

The main issues for me with the figure are around the cape, the elbows, and the kama. The cape really hinders the shoulder articulation and can't really be moved out of the way. It's all one big hard molded piece.

The elbows are the new style of massive single hinged ball joints that really break the design of the arms. The previous elbow designs for the likes of Vader, Boba Fett, and the troopers is a far better design. This new design for the sequel trilogy is a step backwards in aesthetics, and I hope they don't continue this with any original trilogy figures they have planned.

The kama I thought was on ball joints like the Phasma figure, but it actually seems to be glued together at the top of the waist with the other floating piece. It just feels really difficult to move around due to its length. The weathering is a little heavy handed, but the patterning is pretty good.


All in all, the figure does pose well, with nice ankle articulation. I wish the arms could get just a bit higher to reach some of the poses I'd prefer for Kylo. But posed together with Phasma and the First Order Trooper, they do make for a nice addition to the series.