SpartanNerd…I picked up these comics!

I was on vacation recently, and picked up these gems.

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I say I picked up these gems, but actually, I found a website while I was on vacation, mycomicshop.com.   I suppose relaxing gave me the time to find a site similar to TCGplayer but for comics.  I had been looking for these comics for awhile, with the exception of The Amazing Spider-Man 298, which I saw was up for auction and I won for $22!

The top left is The Origin of Skeletor.  I have every single issue of the DC Comics run of Masters of the Universe now.  This was the only one missing…I had a digital copy only.  On the right is the aforementioned Amazing Spider-Man 298.  This is the first appearance of Venom, as well as the first issue in Todd McFarlane’s run on The Amazing Spider-Man.  At the same auction, the mint condition signed copy went for $450!

The bottom two are what I believe to be the first ever non-minicomic appearances of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe in media.  MOTU is the backup story in these books…apparently it was in all of the titles in November 1982.  So I have more to collect!

I also picked up this one, which I may have been the most excited about.  I remember reading this issue of Spider-Man over and over as a kid.  I was disappointed that Todd McFarlane didn’t do the art on this one…in fact it might have been the issue that I first realized the difference.  But the art isn’t bad, and that isn’t the point.  This book introduced me to THANOS!

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Spider-Man 17 might not be on that many people’s radar as a great comic, but it details a near-death experience with Spider-Man, and has a lot of philosophy to it!  As a kid, I was confused and yet fascinated.  I believe I would go on to really appreciate Spawn eventually because of THIS book.

While this was my introduction to Thanos, Thanos would appear in Marvel video games as well, which we had for the PS1.  The infinity gauntlet story is pretty cool, and was one way that I was introduced to the larger Marvel story…the avengers especially.

SpartanNerd Unveiling…Gundam Sweet Beats!

Girls.  Maybe I have girls on the brain?  I recently ordered some more “Fluttershy” My Little Pony card sleeves for my Liliana, Heretical Healer Commander deck.  I reviewed “Rey (Jakku) & BB-8.”  And today I decided to unveil my secret project, mentioned almost a year ago.

I have slowly worked on this project, with the SpartanTeen and SpartanKid hotly curious about what I was going to do.  (In their minds it was a kind of contest.)  I promised them I would do something they never saw before, something almost entirely original.  And something with a cheap budget.

The SpartanTeen put together a fantastic Master Grade Gundam Sinanju.  SpartanKid put together SD Build Burning.  But I went a completely different direction altogether.

Today I unveiled “Gundam Sweet Beats” to the SpartanChildren, and am revealing her to the world!

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Gundam Sweet Beats is a combination of spare parts from two different Super Deformed kits and also the Strawberry Shortcake “Sweet Beats” doll.  Review Here.

Sweet Beats usually just hangs around strawberry plants.

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Sometimes she rips it up on guitar.

But in a rare mood, she completely transforms into a glorious giant robot, powered with strawberry scent!

Now to talk about the project a little bit.  I mentioned in my review that the doll has an unsightly waistline, as well as hair that you can’t do much with.  Well I made the waistline problem EVEN WORSE by melting a slot into it so that the jetpack can fit on her properly.

The hair has been improved.  I tried to make it really straight, like typical asian little girls to match the anime idea.  I never could get the natural “wave” out.  But still, I discovered by combing it compulsively, it slowly improved.

The “crown” piece from the gundam…well I thought I would “implant” that into Strawberry Shortcakes head.  Bad move.  Then she just had a hole in her head, and the crown wouldn’t stay on.  I super-glued some hair in place to cover the new wound, and went to plan B, which was attach it to the sunglasses, which I didn’t care for anyway.  Remember when I said the sunglasses needed something else?  Super Deformed Gundam’s decal stickers were perfect!

I had to do some destructive modification to some of the gundam parts, and Sweet Beats has FAT FEET.  So it was hard to get those feet pieces to become shoes.  But they work.  Barely.  The waist piece had to be cut, melted, and shaped to fit around her properly.  Those little engine things over her shoulders are actually the jet engines from  somewhere else on a different gundam.  And the things on her wrist are wrist pieces.

Finally, I thought I would go all out with the hair bow, and there still is a little work to do.  I intend to super-glue that to a real hair bow.  I thought about using the little one that came with Strawberry shortcake, but decided I wanted to keep that like it is.

I complained a little bit about Star Wars Black Rey (Jakku) having sloppy paint.  But of course my painting is WAY WORSE.  So maybe I should stop complaining?

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I got the idea for this project from the end credits of Gundam Build Fighters, which features a child in Gundam armor doing things.

I designed the project so that the pieces can be removed, and the doll can be played with as intended, in regular Strawberry Shortcake mode, or rockstar mode.

There ARE some “Gundam Girl” figures out there.  I wrestled with the idea of doing one of those…I also considered things like getting a Harley Quinn figure or Super Girl and gundamizing it…as much as people want to say that comic characters are over-sexualized, it was actually hard to find a female figure “nude” enough.  (It was my idea to make a sexy figure at first.)  In the end, it was better to go with cute.  And the super deformed parts match the “cute” motif better.

Gundam Sweet Beats will be on display in my music classroom!  I keep a lot of toys on display, but as I mentioned before, I don’t have many girls toys.

I’m not going to rate my own work.  Leave a comment and tell me what you think!

SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review…Star Wars Black Series Rey (Jakku) & BB-8

The SpartanNerd is back!  I have decided to archive some of my older posts…some of those that never get hits, and this will solve my memory problem until I can pony up the 70-ish dollars to graduate to a higher tier on WordPress.

So with my newfound space, I will review a new product for me.  My first ever Star Wars Black Series figure(s).  Rey and BB-8!

I have long wanted to get Star Wars Black Series Darth Maul, but he is scarce and expensive when available.  Have I been justified in my interest in this series?

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Rey and BB-8 came in this box.  Why this specific figure, and not, say, Kylo Ren?  Well, I feel some connection with this character.  She is enough child and enough adult…lots of mystery about her.  But the other thing, we also get BB-8.  And if I’m not mistaken, R2-D2 was a Black Series figure all on his own.  So I kind of felt I got a two-for one.  I got this at GameStop on the east side of SpartanBurg yesterday.  Today I visited the Wal-Mart and noticed they had a ton of the other figures in stock, including Kylo Ren.  But not Rey…in fact, many people have noted that Rey has few toys floating around out there depicting her, maybe because they are trying to dodge details about her full name and story, or otherwise.

The box is a nice blister where you can see what you get.  And literally, thats it.  It is very basic.  The side is plastered with a “02” number indicator, and if you were a MIB collector, that is a nice touch, helping you feel you have the complete series.

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The back has that “02” and a little bit of her story.  Then warnings, and legal mumbo jumbo, including Disney and Hasbro.  It is still hard for me to associate Star Wars with Disney.

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Remember when I said the box was basic.  I weren’t kidding.  No instructions.  Promotional materials.  Bonus weapons.  Nothing.  Just the products.  The red back drop is OK, but I just want to throw the box and blister bubble away.

Time to play!

So, Rey is one of the few female figures I have.  I feel that her hands are a tad too soft.  Her joints are OK, I expected her to be somewhat like the Liliana Vess figure I have.  But Rey is more rubbery.  Her elbows need to be moved just right, and they feel like they might break off if played with too rough.  She has head swivel, shoulder and elbow articulation, and wrist swivel and rocker.  No waist swivel.  Her hips rock but are on a ball joint, as well as her knees and ankles.  So it is her arms and head that you are going to get the most out of. Star Wars figures have a history of falling apart when you open them up, and not being durable for extended play…the verdict is still out on Rey here.

My biggest problem with this figure is none of that…it is the weapon.  The weapon is supposed to be able to hang on Rey’s shoulder, and she grasps it with her right hand in an overhand grip.  This can’t happen with this figure.  See how the strap is too stiff, and unnaturally juts up over her soldier.  And those hands really are rubbery…I fear that the thumb is going to break right off if I’m not careful.

BB-8 is just a ball, a peg, and a ball jointed head.  Nothing fancy here.  He can’t roll like he can in the movie…Not sure how they would accomplish that though.  He does look exactly like he does in the movie.  I wish he came with some kind of stand, because it is really hard to display him in a stable manner.  Below I have him in “straight up” pose.  It doesn’t want to flop over with the center of gravity focused like that.

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But he usually just wants to flop over, like in the picture below.

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So here is Rey with some other female characters I have.  She really seem like a child standing next to Lilliana (from Magic the Gathering).

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Liliana is of a “heftier” build than Rey, though she has articulation difficulties.  I find that I am not afraid of breaking Liliana the way I am of Rey.  Yes, I know Liliana is in a larger scale, slightly, before anyone says anything.  But isn’t Star Wars Black Series supposed to represent a 6-inch Star Wars line of figures especially for adults?

Humor me, Rey is laughable next to Masters of the Universe Classics Balltleground Teela.

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Scroll slowly for a funny picture!

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OK, so how do I rate these two figures?

I have to mark off for three things. (I only use a five point scale!)

First of all, the whole weapon thing is bothersome.  If Hasbro made this figure to compete with Marvel Select, MOTUC, and all of the other “adult collector” lines, they missed the mark on something crucial…adults don’t play so much as they display.  Rey doesn’t look proper with that strap sticking up over her shoulder.  And add in that BB-8 doesn’t have a display stand of some sort, and displaying Rey isn’t as pleasant as displaying almost any other figure meant for adult collectors.  Dang.  I mean, I gave Marvel Select Thor a 2/5, but his merits are in that he looks cool on display.  Rey is pretty.  But she doesn’t display properly.

The second thing is the durability problem.  I haven’t broken ANY of the things that I have unboxed and reviewed.  But if I do break something, I’d wager it’d be Rey’s thumbs and fingers/hands.  Add in the way the elbows feel like they could break, and it just isn’t acceptable.  I’ve heard arguments that they make, especially female, hands a little softer because they can be sharp and be a danger.  I get that.  But isn’t it a choking hazard if the hand breaks off?  Think about THAT Hasbro.

Finally, something I haven’t mentioned.  The paint is sloppy.  Her hair seems like it is globbed on.  Her eyes are always gazing upwards, which I’ll admit adds to the humility of the character, who subjects herself as a child.  But it is better for the eyes to be neutral.  The brown belt around her waist and wrist wrap on her left arm also feel quite globby.  and finally, where her shins meet her boots, the caucasian color is painted around the high-top…or is it the boots were painted over a caucasian colored buck?

The redeeming qualities of the figure are…well we got two for one.  And BB-8 is exactly like he appears in the movie, even if he has stunted displayablity.  For all my complaining about the paint, Rey has an excellent sculpt…the clothes she is wearing are sculpted perfectly.  If only they didn’t whiff the paint job.

The other thing, It is fun to have Rey as a figure.  I haven’t bought a lot of merchandise associated with The Force Awakens.  I have held out for “the perfect things.”  And I haven’t seen Rey depicted until now.  (I noticed on my trip to Wal-Mart she finally IS making it into toy form in other ways.)  Why didn’t I pick up Kylo Ren for the same price?  His lightsaber doesn’t look right.  Why didn’t I pick up any of the others, or even some of the Hot-Wheels/Micro Machines?  None of them have been good enough looking…I always talk myself out of it.  But with Rey, we also got BB-8.  And I can play with them and display them together.

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So a good sculpt and finally-I-can-play with Rey and BB-8 are the merits whereby the SpartanNerd rates Star Wars Black Series Rey (Jakku) & BB-8 a 2/5.

Do you agree or disagree, oh hub city geeks?  Let me know in the comments!

 

 

SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review…Shadows Over Innistrad Holiday Gift Box

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It was bound to happen…the SpartanNerd has run out of media file space on WordPress…Should I upgrade?  Let me know in the comments.

You’ll have to take my word for what I say in the meantime, readers.

Above are the final pictures I could upload.

I have reviewed a few of these MTG gift boxes?  Is this one any better, or any worse?  Keep reading!

(Links to past reviews of similar products.)

Kahn’s of Tarkir Holiday Gift Box

Battle for Zendikar Gift Box

So this box is roughly the equivalent of those two.  But there are a few key differences.

First of all, the Wizards made a good move when they decided to change the name of the product from Holiday Gift Box to just Gift Box.  Holiday Gift Box is off-putting if you buy it in October.  Or in March.  It seems you are Christmas shopping early, or buying something that should have been marked down.  The BFZ one was just called Gift Box.  And this is great, because you can feel OK giving it as a wedding present.  Anniversary present.  To your boss on boss’s day.  As a birthday present.  And so on and so forth.

It is still a great gift for a MTG player, from a non-MTG player.  Say, what if my mom walked into a store looking for new Magic cards for me…she wouldn’t know where to start.

But with THE GIFT BOX written across the front, she has a clue what might be a good present.

This time we get one more pack.  However, I believe the price was slightly higher this time, an increase of almost four dollars.  So, that’s where that value comes in.

We get the stickers and dividers as before.

But this time the box has been made sturdier!

Remember those two reviews from earlier, when the SpartanNerd gave them 5/5?  I would have to downgrade that now.  (Perhaps I will add a footnote to my previous posts?)  Why?  Those boxes have NOT withstood the test of time.  The Kahns box is “busting out.”  It’s not even full!  Of course, I have stacked deck boxes, my little catch-all basket, and other things on top of it, and the corners of the lid are tearing up.  I saw this around the time I started to fill up the Battle for Zendikar box.  So I have been careful to be less careless with that box.

But with the Shadows Over Innistrad Gift Box, the Wizards have doubled up the cardboard on the sides.  Now the lid rests properly, and CAN’T buck under reasonable weight.  It seems to be like, maybe a centimeter taller as well when I compare it to the other two.  (My sense might be skewed, considering the shape of the KTK box.)

So the box is better.  And there is an extra pack of cards.  This warrants the price increase.

The box also came with a pack of lands, and a special foil Ravenous Bloodseeker.  This is a pretty good card in the barely sub-par Black and Red Vampires deck.  (I’ve been playing that deck.  It is so fun.  But just can’t beat Black-Green Cryptolith Collected Company Aristocrats.)

So what did my packs have?  I would show you, but the conundrum of not having any more media space.

In short, this was one of the best Gift box openings as far as packs are concerned.  Shadows Over Innistrad is different than other sets because you COULD get three rares in a pack.  (One regular, one double faced, and one foil.)

I didn’t get all that, but I DID get Westvale Abbey, an incredible land that transforms into a big demon.  That same pack came with Duskwatch Recruiter, an uncommon double faced card that is an integral part of the above mentioned Collected Company deck.

I also got Olivia, Mobilized for War.  This makes my third copy of Olivia…she’s good in the vampire deck, also described above, though I kind of prefer Drana from BFZ.  And I got Avacyn’s Judgement, which is also good in the vampire deck.

The other three packs had Drownyard Temple (land), Nepali Moonndrakes, and Second Harvest, none of which do I know what do do with.

So how am I going to use this more sturdy box?  I intend to take it on vacation, and pack all of my dual decks inside.  Last year, I took the Dual Deck Anthology box, but I feel kind of creepy taking such a nice box out.  I don’t feel as bad about the gift box, because it is sturdy, and more replaceable if damaged.  This time, I am keeping the paper sleeve that it comes with to help it stay together during transport.

How could the box be improved?  Instead of a singular foil and a copy of each basic land, why not give us another pack.  Then a person gifted with the box could make a sealed deck and play right away!  (provided they also had lands….)

Still, I am going to rate this 5/5.  This box is an improvement over the past boxes, and I feel comfortable storing and transporting my cards in it.