Popular Culture Collectibles Reviews

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Magazine Of Fantasy & Science Fiction, #729, January/February

The Magazine Of Fantasy & Science Fiction


NOVELLAS
Homecoming

NOVELETS
Vinegar And Cinnamon
One Way
Dunnage For The Soul
There Used To Be Olive Trees

SHORT STOIRES
The Regression Test
A Gathering On Gravity’s Shore
On The Problem Of Replacement Children: Prevention, Coping,
And Other Practical Strategies
Alexandria
Wetherfell’s Reef Runics

POEMS
Kingship

DEPARTMENTS
Books To Look For
Books
Science: Brainless Robots Stroll The Beach
Television: Stranger (Yet Oddly Familiar) Things
Coming Attractions
Curiosities 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Air Combat and Land Combat


When I was a kid my friends and I loved to play war.  We’d either play war ourselves with our toy guns, sticks or bats or gather our G.I. Joe 12-inch action figures together and have at it.

The Indian Wars, the Civil War, WWI, WWII or the Korean War-it made no difference; we prided ourselves on our combat readiness.

Collectively we preferred WWII so we could fight those dirty Japs and Nazi.  It was all fun and games.

Of course later when I grew to draft age, the Vietnam War was in full swing.  Many of my friends took part, some didn’t come back.

Suddenly war was real, people died, buildings and homes were destroyed and the horrors of war breathed down my neck.

While I was still fascinated by the machinations and equipment of war I grew to appreciate the scope of war and its consequences.

Amber Books has two outstanding books all about the weapons, uniforms, equipment, key battles, history and the human cost of wars from WWI to present day.

Land Combat by Martin J. Dougherty delves deep into the causes, campaigns and ultimate outcomes of each ear.

Archival photos, drawings, maps, documents and in-depth historical and observational text bring the wars to a personal level.

Much like the Land Combat book, the Air Combat book, edited by Thomas Newdick, explores each war from the air, their combat missions, successes, failures and technological advances.

Learn all about the key players, strategies, victories, crushing defeats and the airborne weapons that took part in each war.


For a fascinating tour of wars from the turn of the last century I highly recommend you purchase a copy of each book and immerse yourself in their pages.  Once you do, like me, you’ll never look at war the same way again.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

James Bond Archives Spectre Edition

Relive the excitement and suspense of the latest James Bond film: Spectre, in a brand new Trading Card Set from Rittenhouse Archives/Sci-Fi Hobby.  The entire story is retold scene-by-scene through the entire Base Card Set with text (I assembled a full Set with enough leftover for almost a complete second Set).

Five Cards come in Foil Packs with 24 Foil Packs per Box.  Two Autograph Cards are guaranteed per Box (mine are Christina Hui from Moonraker and Alessandro Cremona from Spectre).

Randomly inserted Bonus Cards include:
  • Prop Cards (Oops! None for me)
  • Gold Parallel Sets of Spectre and The Living Daylights (Zip for me!)
  • Parallel Sets of Moonraker (I received four), The Living Daylights (Five of this Set) and Diamonds Are Forever (Four again)
  • Mirror Cards (Nope!)
  • Metal Cards (You Only Live Twice for me) 
  • Wardrobe Cards (Rats!)
Also, look for other special surprises.

Case Incentives are also available.  The more Cases you buy, the more goodies you get!

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Monster Calls and Dungeonology

The Special Collector’s Edition of author Patrick Ness’s ‘A Monster Calls’ from Candlewick Press, includes the original novel with new material and art and photos from the upcoming movie.

The movie is based on the beloved children’s novel that chronicles the life of young Conor whose dysfunctional family life is interrupted by a monster at his window.

The monster befriends the boy and proceeds to take him on a journey of faith, fantasy, truth and reality.  Inspired by Siobhan Dowd, the novel has garnered praise from all over the world.

The Special Collector’s Edition includes haunting illustrations by Jim Kay and an entire section on the making of the film based on the novel.

Cast and crew from the film are interviewed and offer their own commentaries and the full-color photos of the making of the film includes behind-the-scenes shots, glimpses of the special effects used in the film and much more.

Pre-production photos and concept illustrations, set designs and all the various stages for developing a film based on a novel are present. 

All of it combined makes for a fascinating read and exploration of how literature is turned to a film.

Long before ‘Magic’ collectible card games and role-playing games of all sorts there was the first and original Dungeons & Dragons.

Dungeonology by Volothamp Geddarm examines the Forgotten Realms in a beautiful hardbound book featuring a foil-stamped and embossed cover.

Inside readers and game enthusiasts can feast their eyes on maps, character designs, weapon galleries, magical items and magic, schematics, a large fold-out map and all the other various components, places and creatures that populate the Forgotten Realms.

Cleverly designed with tipped-in inserts, fold-out surprises, a special guide and even a prismatic insert, the book is filled with gorgeous illustrations and paintings accompanied by informative and historical text.


It’s a real visual treat for any diehard D&D fan and makes for the perfect complement to the famous game.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Decisions


I’ve heard the word ‘epiphany’ used in various conversations over the years.  Up until now I wasn’t really sure what it meant.

This is what I interpret it as meaning: a sudden realization that has life-changing consequences.

I believe I’ve discovered my own epiphany.

It goes like this. For my entire life I’ve been struggling to discover what my gift or muse is.

For years I dabbled in drawing and art only to discover that while I am very proficient at it, I don’t possess the inner fire, or drive, to apply myself completely to art.  Although I made a successful career in graphic design, drawing and even teaching drawing and Commercial Art, my heart was really never in it.  It was a job.

I’ve written a number of stories-some unique and quite good but again the fire was not there.

For about a week I’ve been getting subtle hints from God as to what my gift is.  From reading the Bible, conversations overheard from other Christians to messages seen on the TV-all of which mention discovering spiritual or personal gifts.

My gift or talent has been staring me in my face for decades.  It’s quite simple really.

I love writing reviews.  I enjoy talking about collectibles such as toys, comic books and the like.  I get a big thrill when the latest review object sows up vial the mail, UPS, Fed-Ex and DHL.

There’s nothing more satisfying to me that getting a confirmation from a publisher or manufacturer when they notify me that review objects are on the way.

Here’s what it all boils down to.  With God’s grace and help I hope to intensify and expand my reviews.  I pray that more material shows up on my doorstep and that my review writing capability improves.

It's so simple and yet so profound.  My only question is, “Why did it take me so long to realize it?”  “Go figure!”

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

World War II In Cartoons and Lutwaffe In Color


I was born in 1953, a mere eight years after World War II.  By the early 1960s I often would sit around with veterans of the war who lived in my hometown and be enthralled by their tales of the war, both in Europe and in the Pacific.

There was still a grudging acceptance of the Germans and Japanese’s at the time.  Many veterans of the war avoided both nationalities like the plague.

Understandably so, because at one time they were the enemy, or at least their nations were.  Today that attitude seems a bit harsh, but the reality of the war cemented long held grudges and prejudices.

During my childhood much of the literary material from the war could still be found: old comic books, newspapers, brochures, fliers, poster and other propaganda material from both the Allie and the Axis powers still existed.

Much of it was racist, cruel and peppered with lies and half-truths.  Nowhere else was the war more lampooned that with cartoons printed in comic books, newspapers and magazines.

Casemate Publishers and author Mark Bryant present ‘World War II In Cartoons’ that compiles cartoons from the Pre-War Era to the final days of the conflict. 

Ripe with political and social commentary cartoons lampooning military and government figures, the book successfully captures the fears and concerns from both sides of the war.

Some cartoons are hilarious put-ons of the war while others capture the horror of war in all its various manifestations.  It makes for a fascinating and often disturbing look at the war that defined the 20th and 21st centuries.

In the ‘Luftwaffe In Color: The Victory Years 1939-1942’ authors Christophe Cony and Jean-Louis Roba and Casemate examine the German Air Force and its technological superiority over the Allied Forces.

Despite what you may think of the Nazi, no one can question the incredible technological advancements and superiority they held over the Allied Forces just before and during most of the war.

This book illustrates, using full-color photos, the incredible air power the Nazi commanded during the war used in all sorts of climate and environmental conditions.

Explore the war in full-color and come away with a new appreciation of the superior military air power the Nazi employed.  

Given more time and fewer defeats the Nazi could have won the war.

Previews, January

COMIC BOOKS & GRAPHIC NOVELS
Amerikarate #1 l ACTION LAB - DANGER ZONE
Animosity Volume 1 TP l AFTERSHOCK COMICS
Hillbilly Volume 1 TP l ALBATROSS FUNNYBOOKS
Hatchet #0 l AMERICAN MYTHOLOGY PRODUCTIONS
Little Archie One-Shot l ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS
Grass Kings #1 l BOOM! STUDIOS
Coady and The Creepies #1 l BOOM! STUDIOS
Saban’s Power Rangers Original GN l BOOM! STUDIOS
Hellina: Scythe #2 l BOUNDLESS COMICS
James Bond #1 l D. E./DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT
Charmed #1 l D. E./DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT
Nancy Drew & The Hardy Boys: The Big Lie #1 l D. E./DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT
Vampirella #1 l D. E./DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT
Disney Gravity Falls Cinestory #1 Shorts l JOE BOOKS INC.
Redline #1 l ONI PRESS INC.
Anno Dracula #1 l TITAN COMICS
Supermansion #1 l TITAN COMICS
Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Volume 1 GN l VIZ MEDIA LLC


BOOKS
Carnival of Astounding Art: Beauties/Beasts SC l ART BOOKS
Legion of Regrettable Supervillains HC l COMICS
Taschen: 75 Years of DC Comics Slipcased HC l COMICS
Doctor Who: The Companion’s Companion HC l DOCTOR WHO / TORCHWOOD
Doctor Who: T Is For Tardis HC l DOCTOR WHO / TORCHWOOD
MAGAZINES
Doctor Who Magazine #510 l DOCTOR WHO
Monster Memories Yearbook 2017 l HORROR
Marvel Super Heroes Magazine #27 l SUPER-HEROES
TRADING CARDS
Bowman 2017 Baseball Trading Cards l TOPPS COMPANY
Game of Thrones Season 6 Trading Cards l RITTENHOUSE ARCHIVES
Topps 2017 Star Wars: Rogue One Series 2 Trading Cards l TOPPS COMPANY
APPAREL
Luke Cage: “Genghis Connie’s” Black T-Shirt l PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE WEAR
Luke Cage: “Pop’s Barber Shop” Heather Grey T-Shirt l PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE WEAR
SHIELD & Hydra Symbol Split Side Snap Back Cap l PREVIEWS EXCLUSIVE WEAR
Batman: Limited Edition T-Shirt l GRAPHITTI DESIGNS
Harley Quinn: Skull Bags T-Shirt l GRAPHITTI DESIGNS
Star Wars Episode 5 Opening Credit Crawl Scarf l #OOTM
Star Wars Episode 6 Opening Credit Crawl Scarf l #OOTM
Five Nights at Freddy’s: Freddy Fazbear Union Suit l APPAREL
TOYS & STATUES
Marvel Gallery: Old Man Logan PVC Figure l DIAMOND SELECT TOYS & COLLECTIBLES
DC Superhero Best Of Special #2: Mega Joker l EAGLEMOSS
POP! Marvel: Iron Fist Vinyl Figure l FUNKO
POP! Marvel: Black Bolt Vinyl Figure l FUNKO
POP! X-Men: Logan Vinyl Figure l FUNKO
POP! Stranger Things Vinyl Figures l FUNKO
Five Nights at Freddy’s 5-Inch Action Figures l FUNKO
IMPORT TOYS
Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale: Asuna SQ Figure l SWORD ART ONLINE
Marvel Universe: The Vision Fine Art Statue l KOTOBUKIYA
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Rey & Finn ArtFX+ Statue 2-Pack l KOTOBUKIYA
DC Comics Variant Play Arts Kai: Batman Rogues Gallery: Mr Freeze Figure l DC COMICS
Final Fantasy XV Kingsglaive: Regis Lucis Caelum Static Arts Bust l FINAL FANTASY
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder PVC Figure l TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
2000 AD X ThreeA: Judge Dredd 1/6-Scale Figure l THREEA/THREEZERO
One-Punch Man: Saitama 1/6-Scale Figure l THREEA/THREEZERO
COLLECTIBLES & NOVELTIES
Jurassic World: Inflatable T-Rex Costume l COSTUMES & PROP REPLICAS
Doctor Who: TARDIS Swirl Coffee Mug l DOCTOR WHO
Doctor Who: All Doctors and Companions Coffee Mug l DOCTOR WHO
Barrel of Monkeys l POP CULTURE
GAMES
Magic the Gathering: Shadows Over Innistrad Board Game Expansion l HASBRO - BOY’S GAMING
Star Wars: The Black Series Trivial Pursuit l HASBRO - BOY’S GAMING
Honshu Card Game l RENEGADE GAME STUDIO
Marvel HeroClix: The Avengers/Defenders War Booster Brick l WIZKIDS/NECA
Tournament at Camelot Card Game l WIZKIDS/NECA

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

DC Comics Secret Hero Society Fort Solitude

Join Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, Diana Prince and all the future members of The Justice League when they were kids in a brand new Secret Hero Society adventure: ‘Fort Solitude’.

Scholastic, along with writer Derek Fridolfs and artist Dustin Nguyen, bring readers their latest adventure as the future heroes reunite at a local Summer Camp: Evergreen Adventure Camp, and find themselves in a brand new adventure and mystery.

When kids start disappearing around campus only Bruce Wayne thinks something serious is going on.  Eventually, after several disappearances, the rest of the young heroes suspect something strange and dangerous is at play.

Only after several of the missing children turn up as robots do things go into full swing.

See what DC Comics stalwart heroes were like when they were kids as they take part in a new mystery and endure the trials and tribulations of Summer Camp.

Along the way readers learn about the outdoors, get a sneak peek in some the kids private journals, scrapbooks and even take part in a talent show!
It’s DC Comics superhero fun like you’ve never seen it before!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Alice, Thomas and Rock

To quote the White Rabbit, “I’m late!  I’m late!  For a very important date!”  While it’s true the White Rabbit is late don’t you be late when it comes to picking up a copy of Carlton Books’ ‘Alice In Wonderland: A Curious Collection Of Puzzles’.

If you love Lewis Carroll’s classic child’s tale then join him, Alice, The Mad Hatter, The Cheshire Cat and the rest of the denizens of Wonderland in a delightful and fun collection of puzzles and brain teasers.

Contained in a classic Alice In Wonderland illustration decorated box the collection includes 120 Puzzle Cards in four levels, 11 Eat Me and 11 Drink Me Cards, a Rules and Solutions Book, a Player’s Score Book, Checklist Cards and an Egg Timer.

Created to be played by up to four players the game features brainteasers and picture puzzles, some by Lewis Carroll himself! “Curioser and curioser!”

I discovered Thomas & Friends over twenty years ago while flipping through TV stations and landing on a local PBS station.

I was immediately intrigued.  What a curious and unique show for children.

Imagine! A world populated by talking trains!?  Originally the show featured handmade miniature sets and trains animated by hand.  In keeping with the times the show has now transitioned to computer animation.

‘The World Of Thomas’ Celebrating 70 Years of Friendship comes courtesy of Carlton Kids.
Besides introducing kids (and adults) to world of Thomas, his friends, various locations and additional fun stuff the book is a joy to read.

Download the free Thomas AR World app and kids can watch the World Of Thomas come alive on their mobile devices!  They can even make friends with a life-size Thomas!

With the ap kids can blow whistles, fly Harold around their rooms and even drive the engines.
Write Paul Grushkin and Carlton/Goodman present the Rock and Roll memorabilia collection of Rob Roth.

Posters, album covers, promotional fliers, ads and much more memorabilia highlight the careers of The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, The Who, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Elton John and Queen.

If you ‘dig’ Rock and Roll then you’re sure to love ‘The Art Of Classic Rock’.


The 70s, 80s and 90s come alive in this spectacular visual collection.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sully and Storks

Warner Bros. has just released two Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD Combos Packs that feature flying: one a drama and one an animated comedy.

Tom Hanks the actor is considered by many in and out of the movie business as one of the nicest people you could meet.  Written and verbal testimonials by fellow actors and associates describe how generous and kind he is, especially to his fans.  

He’s also a chameleon!  At least, I think he is.
 
Looking back over his long career it’s easy to come to that conclusion.  He’s played everything from an astronaut, castaway, slightly retarded man, gay man dying of aids, a hitman, a little kid-the list goes on and on.

In his latest movie he stars as Captain Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot responsible for saving the lives of 155 people when his aircraft suffered engine failure and he successfully landed the aircraft in the Hudson River.

The film examines the entire incident and the investigation into the accident.  Sully’s entire reputation is put on the line as an investigation threatens to destroy both his life and career.

Hanks deliver a tour de force performance as he successfully transforms himself into the quiet, unassuming pilot who copes with his newfound fame and an intense investigation.

The Combo Pack includes several featurettes about Sully and the making of the film directed by Clint Eastwood.

Storks have delivered babies since the dawn of time.  It is a long and honorable legacy.  Storks—babies---it’s the perfect cooperative situation---until now.

Storks now deliver packages for the global internet retail giant Cornerstore.com. 
When Junior, the top deliver stork, is up for a promotion somehow the Baby Factory is activated-producing an adorable baby girl.

Desperate to deliver the baby before his boss finds out he teams up with his human partner Tulip to deliver the baby.

What started out as a simple delivery winds up being a wild adventure and eventually reunits a family and places the Storks back on their original mission of delivering babies.

It’s fast and frantic fun as Junior and Tulip pull out all the stops to deliver the baby while hiding their mission from their boss and fellow Storks.


Extras include several featurettes, a music video, outtakes, commentary, deleted scenes, a LEGO short and more.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Bizarre & Outlandish Gadgets & Doohickeys

You see them almost everyday on TV.  Every kind of conceivable gadget and household, yard, outside and automotive doohickeys that are designed to do almost everything-including walking your dog
.
Nowadays it seems there is a gadget for everything-some needed and some created for things you didn’t even know you needed.

With the advent of miniature, computerized, programmed, mechanized and customized items there seems to be a gadget for every whim and perceived use.

They just keep proliferating with no end in sight.  But, did you know that gadgets and doohickeys have been around from decades, starting approximately the same time as the Industrial Revolution in the mid-19th Century?

Schiffer Books and author Maurice Collins present Bizarre & Outlandish Gadgets & Doohickeys’.

Starting with 1851 and ending in 1951, the book examines each and every type of unusual and somewhat bizarre contraption for the auto, home maintenance, men, women, children, the kitchen, transportation and on and on. 

A clock that makes tea to the Jubilee Souvenir Plate the book features full-color, photos, with informative text, about some the most bizarre gadgets and doohickey ever created by man.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Kung Fu and The Flash

In this age of Netflix, streaming, YouTube and dozen other video download applications it’s hard to find anyone who appreciates classic TV shows and the impact they had on society at the time they aired.

I’ve often stated before that I am a child of the 1960s.  I was born in the early 1950s, spent most of my youth and teenage years in the 1960s and fully matured as a man in the 1970s and 1980s/1990s.

I admit I am a man of my time.  I was practically raised on TV and many of its characters became heroes and idols, they influenced me as I grew up.

The range of TV programs I enjoyed encompassed every genre from Westerns to Dramas.
The 1950s/1960s TV series taught me the meaning of being a man: tough, resilient, resourceful and yet kind, gentle and compassionate. 

The 1970s brought new changes as I embraced the new tide of TV series that challenged my pre-conceived notions about justice, social responsibilities and what it meant to be a part of a larger whole.

The 1980s television shows reinforced much of what I had learned in the previous decades while still encouraging me to step outside my comfort zone and explore new frontiers.

If all goes as planned I will be reviewing several classic TV shows in a series of reviews as DVD collections become available.  Here are two what I hope will be a larger selection of reviews. 

In 1972 I was 19 years old and in my second year of community college.  Like many young people of that day I had began to question the validity of societal norms, traditions and values.

The Viet Nam War was still in full swing, Nixon was in the White House, Women’s rights had come to the forefront, racial equality was a hot topic and the young ‘Me Generation--Baby Boomers’ were shaking things up with their music, lifestyles and general disregard for authority.

I began to explore.  I never took drugs or drank or smoked but I did examine, although I did not participate in Eastern mysticism or alternate lifestyles but I did look for the meaning of life.

The country was in a time of change and turmoil and I, and my generation, were in the middle of it.

Ironically a generation that rejected commercialism and the ‘Man’ were being manipulated by both.

Manufacturers and businesses recognized a good thing when they saw it and began catering to a new generation of ‘drop-outs’.

One TV network: ABC, green lighted an unusual TV show unlike anything seen at the time.  As I mentioned earlier Eastern mysticism and religions were huge with young people.  The martial arts saw a huge upswing of popularity.

What better way to cater to young people than to incorporated Eastern philosophy and martial arts into one TV program?

In 1972 Kung Fu, starring David Carradine as Shaolin priest Kwai Chang Caine, a White/Asian half-breed raised as monk took the airwaves by storm.

The story of his turbulent life was first introduced as a TV movie, and then a TV series that lasted three seasons.  Twenty years later would reprise his role, albeit as Caine's grandson bearing his same name.

In the series Caine is on the run for a crime he committed in China.  Traveling to the United States he kept on the movie while looking for his father and half-brother. 

During his journeys he encountered various social injustices, mete out Eastern witticisms and proceeded to kick behind when the need arose.

Warner Bros. has collected all three seasons on DVD Collections that follow the saga of Caine as he searched for justice, not only for himself, but others as well.  Kung Fu made Carradine a star.

For a slice of the 1970s be sure to pick up all three seasons.  Extras include featurettes on the cast and crew, a look at the series, a commentary by David Carradine and much more. 

When the 1990s arrived Ronald Reagan was no longer President and his predecessor George Bush Sr. failed to maintain the bullish, the-buck-stops-here attitude Reagan deployed over his eight years as the Chief Executive.

Materialism and the acquisition of wealth was the mainstay.

Prosperity blanketed the U.S. and people were content.

U.S.S.R. Communism had floundered and fallen.  People were feeling good and it showed in their attitudes and pursuits.

Nowhere else did society’s attitude display itself more than on TV.   Shows were resplendent in their flaunting of wealth and fame and yet, many of the new series started to take a dark turn and examine the hidden shady comers of society.

TV was becoming more sophisticated.  With the advent of bigger budgets, new technology, the advent of computers and the birth of computer-generated effects, TV shows became more daring.

Superhero shows are incredibly popular today.  It seems like almost all the networks and cable have some kind of superhero show or a derivative of one.

One of the most popular superhero shows is The Flash.

But did you know it was not the first Flash TV series?

Coincidentally the man who played The Flash in the 1990’s version of the series now plays the father of the new Flash and his doppelganger, the original Golden Age Flash: Jay Garrick.

Many of the villains seen in the new series were first introduced in the old series.  In fact much of the inspiration for new series is derived for the first.

Warner Bros. has compiled the complete, original ‘The Flash’ TV series into 22-episode collection starring John Wesley Shipp. 

Although somewhat dated by today’s standards the original ‘The Flash’ TV series is notable for its visual and physical special effects and adherence to its comic book namesake.


 Here’s an interesting fact.  Mark Hamill played the Trickster in the original TV series and recently reprised his role in the new series.

It’s a light-hearted and loads of fun TV series to watch that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Another interesting fact: Dave Stevens—the creator of The Rocketeer, designed the first Flash’s costume.

Both Kung Fu and The Flash are interesting reflections of the times in which they were aired.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Tatsuta and Thunderbolt

In past model kit reviews I generally wrote about model kits from a strictly product information point of view.  That’s important but actually ‘building’ a model is far more important.

I’d like to talk about how I’ve gone about building Hasegawa Hobby Kits’ 1/72 Scale A-10C Thunderbolt II "104th Fighter Squadron" Limited Edition model kit.

While it would be easy to show the product box or a completed model all nice and painted and detailed I prefer to talk about how I went about assembling the model.

After opening the box I spread out the part trees and larger pieces on a floor mat.  I prefer a floor mat because it is heavy enough to held model pieces and sturdy enough so that I can move the entire model assembly if necessary.

Trust me, there is nothing worse than having a model spread out on a floor or table and your spouse insisting that you move it for more necessary things like vacuuming and sitting down for a meal.

Once I’ve familiarized myself with the instruction sheet I checked to make sure all the pieces for the model were present.  I needn’t worried about it since Hasegawa Hobby Kits’ quality control insures its model kits are packaged complete.

Once I made sure all pieces were present I followed the detailed instructions and began assembling my aircraft (in this case) model kit as instructed.

A special note: Some model makers prefer to paint pieces prior to assembly, others after a model is completed.  I prefer a little of both, depending on the model kit.

Using an X-acto Knife or small scissors I trimmed off any excess flashing from the model pieces, carefully making sure I didn’t damage any parts.

Smaller pieces usually require tweezers and snips from small trimming scissors or a special trimming tool.

Gluing the parts together can be tedious.  Be sure to use minimal glue and let it spread on model piece edges.  You don’t want any glue oozing over the edges and damaging the pieces.  Should you experience any oozing wipe it away quickly with a non-porous material.  Tissue and cloth tend to absorb the glue and can spread it over surfaces.

When gluing large pieces together I often use tape or small rubber bands to hold pieces together until they dry.  Be especially careful when assembling clear pieces such as windshields.  If glue gets on those pieces it is nearly impossible to clean off.

When building a model of any scale or skill level be sure to take your time, don’t rush things.
Once assembled and completely dry meticulously begin painting on one color at a time.  Use soft easy strokes and cover whatever surface requires paint evenly and smoothly.  Again be careful of using too much paint creating sloppy edges and runs.

Once painted decal applications requires a steady hand and tweezers.  Prepare the decals, detach one decal at a time from the decal sheet(s) and gingerly apply it to the model’s surface. Allow it to dry and proceed to the next decal.

If you follow the assembly instructions, proceed slowly and meticulously your model will turn out perfectly.

I discovered assembling the A-10C Thunderbolt II "104th Fighter Squadron" Limited Edition model kit to be a lot of fun and I felt a deep sense of accomplishment as I assembled it.  I still have a few more things to do on the model but so far everything is going as planned.

The A-10C Thunderbolt II "104th Fighter Squadron" aircraft is known for its many firsts.  First to be added to the Maryland Air National Guards’ 175th Fighter Wing.  First to be converted and updated 40 years later and the first to fly into combat.

After looking over this impressive aircraft with its huge twin engines, impressive fire power and twin tail wings it’s easy to see that its speed, maneuverability and sheer presence make it a classic.

For a model best suited to the seven seas be sure to pick up one of Hasegawa Hobby Kits 1/700 Scale Japanese Navy Cruiser Tatsuta "Super Details" Limited Edition model kit.

Known as the Iron lance of the Imperial Japanese Navy the Tatsuta saw plenty of action during WWII but was eventually was sunk by US forces.  Fast, long and thin the Tatsuta was part of the Tenryu class of Japanese destroyers/cruisers.  Unfortunately speed and maneuverability were achieved by lightning its armament.

If you are into minute details and have the patience to assemble the Tatsuta you’ll discover details galore from its deck guns to its railing, masts and tower.  The kit features two sets of decals and full photo-etched parts set.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Original Frontier Logs

As a parent I can’t stress enough that it is so important to teach your children how to build things, repair broken items, learn how things work and encourage them to step out and take chances.

Building a good life is much like building any structure.  In order to have a good solid building (or life) it’s important to start with a good foundation and build up from there.

Alex Brands/Ideal/Timeless Toys provides the perfect toy for children to learn about constructing and building.

The Original Frontier Logs Classic Construction 303 Piece Building Set is an excellent product that  introduces children to the inner workings on how to build structures.

Children are given all they need to build a Fort Frontier with walls, connecting buildings and towers. 

Included with the Frontier Logs Set are a variety of long and short real wood logs, roof slates, chimneys, a sign and several Indians and Frontiersmen, along with a horse.  Figures are designed in action poses with weapons at the ready. 

But don’t stop there.  Encourage children to build their own unique creations.  With such a huge collection of building material it’s easy for them to build large homes, storage and equipment structures and small single room dwellings-whatever their hearts desire.

Purchase additional Frontier Logs Sets to expand the possibilities.  Full instructions are included.  Pieces come in a large flip top cardboard box with a handle for easy carrying.

In this age of instant gratification, endless information at your fingertips and specialized products (ad naseum) for every purpose, it’s good to have a good old-fashioned toy that encourages children to use their imaginations and building skills.   

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

TMNT Ninja Superstars Raphael As Sting

When you think about it the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have a lot in common with professional wrestlers.  They have to stay in shape, be familiar with many different fighting styles, dress in elaborate costumes and most of all – have an attitude.

Raphael dresses up as his favorite professional wrestler: the one and only Sting.

Raph's face is painted in the distinctive whiteface of Sting along with blacked out eyes and stripes on his face and black lips.

Along with the face decoration Raph wears a long, black, leather jacket clipped at the shoulders, black arm and wrist bands, black trousers, black knee boots, brown belt and a bright red face mask covering his eyes and a red muscle shirt with a black scorpion graphic on its front.

Along with the fully-articulated figure are a wooden fighting staff, a black baseball bat and a garbage can lid shield.

Color application is smooth and seamless with no bleed over or rough edges.  Articulation points are cleverly hidden and incorporated into the figure for ease of positioning and action poses.

Sculpting is a delightful combination of TMNT and wrestling figure and the packaging with its open front clear plastic panel showcases the figure in all of its glory.

The three other Turtles are dressed as: Leonardo as John Cena, Donatello as Undertaker and Michelangelo as Macho Man Randy Savage.

Figures stand approximately six to seven inches tall and are securely fastened to their display boxes in form-fitting plastic shells courtesy of Playmates Toys.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Suicide Squad Extended Cut

Get ready for a superhero team-up movie unlike any you’ve ever seen before.  Bad guys are the good guys and (in some cases) the good guys act like the bad guys.
DC Comics/Warner Bros. present one of the most original movies ever created for the big screen: Suicide Squad.
Headlined by Will Smith as Deadshot and costarring fan favorite characters the Joker and Harley Quinn, the movie also features a bad guy cast that would even make Batman get the shivers.
Superhumans, aliens and supernatural forces can be potential dangers.  Amanda Waller determines to put in place a special, elite force to cope with such potential problems-under the radar.
When a powerful duo of mystical beings threaten to plunge mankind into servitude and reshape the world in their own images, Waller sends in the Suicide Squad to stop them.
Armed and dangerous, the hardened criminals comply with the promise of reduced prison terms, provided they survive.
Should they fail or succeed the government will take no responsibility for their actions and will deny knowledge of the Suicide Squad’s mission.
Each member of the Squad has a small explosive devise implanted in his or her neck.  Should they try to escape—bang!—no more head!
The unlikely comrade-in-arms suddenly find themselves in the thick of things when the situation goes from bad to worse.  Throw in the Joker and the Batman and what was to be a routine, down and dirty takedown suddenly becomes a lot more complicated.
The movie features a powerful soundtrack of popular tunes, often deep and personal exanimations of their characters and their motivations and a visual style that keeps audiences on their toes.  Spectacular physical stunts, mind-blowing special effects and a killer storyline make the Suicide Squad film a winner.
The Extended Cut Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD Combo Pack includes scenes not shown in the theatrical release that aid the storyline.
Other extras include several featurettes, a gag reel and more.
Experience a whole new world of extras on Vudu with free code for redeeming the movie digitally for your phone, tablet and other digital device, all courtesy of Warner Bros.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Constantine and SHAZAM!


Although the series lasted only one season on TV the Constantine series still played an important role in the DC TV Universe.  Constantine promises to return in an upcoming movie from Warner Bros.
Based on the Vertigo character from DC Comics the series follows the exploits of John Constantine form Britain.
Having sold his soul to the devil Constantine decides to use his mystical and magical powers to fight the forces of evil-reluctantly.
Filled with dry wit, stunning special effects and sure to shock the Constantine Blu-ray Collection shows a darker side to the DC Universe in which Constantine fights to save the innocent-whatever the cost.
The Blu-ray collection also includes several featurettes that DC fans are sure to enjoy from Warner Bros.
Long before the deluge of DC Comics TV series there was another DC character that starred in his own Saturday morning TV series.
Billy Batson as Captain Marvel (SHAZAM!) fought crime, supernatural forces and terrestrial and alien nemesis.
By simply uttering the word, “SHAZAM!” young Billy is magically transformed into the muscular and very adult SHAZAM, dressed in red and yellow.
‘The Big Red Cheese’ as he is affectionately known, possesses the powers of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury.  Along with his mentor sidekick they battle to save the innocent and right wrongs.
All 26 episodes of the series are available on DVD from Warner Bros.

CHOROGrip

I’m not a musician or a singer in a choir, but I am observant.

I’ve noticed when watching either a music or chorus ensemble piece that sometimes, unintentionally, while a musician or singer is performing, sheet music seems to have a mind of its own.
It could be a light breeze, bumping a music stand, music sheets with stiff pages or bad folds or a score of other annoying reasons the musician or singer suddenly finds themselves in a dilemma.
The sheet music or arrangement decides to either close, flip a page or waver between open or close.
I image it is very frustrating, not only for the performer, but the audience as well.
It’s a disaster waiting to happen.
CHOROGrip has the solution-two of them in fact.
The Original CHOROGrip Folder/Binder Strap easily snaps onto a binder. It secures in place with its Velcro grips and not only do you have your pages secure but you also have a handy strap that you can place your hand in for a study, secure grip on a music binder or folder.
The CHOROGrip Ring Adapter allows you to secure music pages using its ring clips that secure the pages so they don’t shift or movie.
Both devices are handy, easy to use and guarantee that your next music performance is not hampered by music sheets that seem to have a mind of their own.
For full instructions as to how each product, visit the CHOROGrip website: http://chorogrip.biz/.