December 9, 2013

Form Blazing Sword


Chances are, if you were a child in the eighties, especially a boy, you'd know those words anywhere! They were the words shouted out by the leaders of the different Voltron Force teams when it came time for their teams to dispatch the enemies with the final blow from their gigantic, energy sword. The most well-known Voltron was the Lion Force, which was Voltron III, followed by Voltron I, which was the Armored Vehicles. The least known was Voltron II, which never aired. The series was adapted by the Missouri-based production company, World Events Productions, from different Japanese animes, none of which were originally related to one another, except for being done by Toei Animation.

Recently released by Miracle Metal Works this year, is their "masterpiece" Voltron figure, specifically Voltron I, based on the anime, Armored Fleet Dairugger XV. This Voltron Force defended the Earth, as well as nearby systems, and was comprised of fifteen pilots and their armored vehicles. The teams were divided into three squadrons, the Air, Sea, and Land teams. Each team was capable of merging their vehicles together to form a gestalt vehicle, in addition to all fifteen vehicles able to merge into Voltron for a short period of time (average of five minutes).

The set is mostly die-cast, and is quite hefty. However this is also an issue, as the figure tends to be forward heavy, and unless you stabilize it properly, the combined Voltron will indeed topple forward. The feet having wheels also DOES NOT help, LOL! The range of motion on the figure is definitely improved on the figure, over the original die-cast toys of the eighties, but not by much. I was unable to get the figure to hold the Blazing Sword in both hands :/

When picking up the character, you definitely need to hold it from the bottom and the torso, otherwise you risk it collapsing apart due to its weight. Also it helps to remove the Command Jet Explorer (head) and the Falcon Jet Fighter (chestplate), which are attached by magnets, before moving the entire figure, as they can easily detach. You also need to be careful about the shoulder rotor blades of the helicopters that form the shoulder and upper arms of the Voltron figure. Some other issues I had involved the yellow All-Terrain Space Vehicle (right foot) always popping off and "driving" away.

The Ray Beam Whip feels like a limp, rubber mess, and I'm personally not a fan of it. I found the Spinning Laser Blades to be hard-to-use properly. They are light and made of plastic, and just don't look so great in Voltron's hands, since the weight of the arms makes it hard for the figure to even hold out its arms straight ahead. The spears and Blazing Swords look great. I just wish I could've gotten Voltron to hold the Blazing Sword in both hands for a two-handed pose.

Accesories-wise, the figure comes with:
- (2) Spinning Laser Blades
- (2) Single-Handed Solar Combat Spears
- (1) Two-Handed Solar Combat Spears
- (3) Blazing Swords
- (1) Ray Beam Whip
- (3 Pairs) Alternative Fists (total of 4)

The individual vehicles of Voltron Force

Air Team

Land Team

Sea Team

Voltron I (aka Dairugger XV)

For more photos of this set, check out my Flickr set!

All in all, despite the negatives, I enjoyed the set, and hope that Miracle Metal Works can eventually do the other two Voltrons that are adapted from Beast King GoLion and Lightspeed Electroid Albegas. The set runs around $235 U.S. Dollars, but I purchased it on a Black Friday deal, so hopefully you can find a decent price for the set :)

July 20, 2013

Thar She Blows!

This trip out into the Atlantic Ocean was a pretty awesome one. The weather was perfect, and cool, since the City was in the middle of a heat wave, while in the Atlantic, the temperature was about 30-degrees cooler! We saw four humpback whales in the course of just a few hours, at one point one on each end of the boat.

April 26, 2013

Movie Review: Byzantium

So I got to check out Byzantium tonight at the Tribeca Film Festival. It's a film about vampires directed by Neil Jordan, who directed "Interview With The Vampire" (starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, based on Anne Rice's book).

"Byzantium" was adapted from a play written by Moira Buffini. First off the movie's vampires are not what you expect. These aren't the traditional vampires who prowl at night and sleep during the day. The only thing they have in common with their mythical counterparts is the need for blood and the restriction of being unable to enter private dwellings without an invitation.

The movie follows Clara (Gemma Arterton) and Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan) as they travel around Ireland, leading a nomadic lifestyle. Clara does what she can to provide a life for both Eleanor and herself, and she's not afraid to do anything to earn cash, so that she can provide for them both. She gets her hands dirty, while she protects Eleanor. Eleanor on the other hand is the dreamer and innocent child, overall. However the nomadic lifestyle they both lead begins to wear Eleanor down. She's lonely. She's tired. She yearns to be free of the life they currently lead. Feeding and then moving on, a cyclic life of repetitive non-existence. She's lonely, she's seeking an ear willing to listen to her tale. Hell, she's a teenager, been one for 200 years.

I felt the film's pacing was overall great. There were some moments where time felt like it was standing still, but overall the film flowed smoothly. The visuals were great, especially the outdoor scenes. The dialogue was engaging overall, but some was lost due to the accents of the actors, but that's more my fault I feel for not interacting with native Irish folks. Despite what the trailers may show you, the film's primarily a drama.

The vampires were a refreshing take on the creatures, and while overall not too different, the film was more about Clara and Eleanor as two women trying to survive and etch out a "normal" life, than being monsters of the night.