Sunday, 9 June 2013

LoEB: Bring it Back!

This week's League assignment, which I'm just getting in on time, asks:

I had a few different thoughts on this with none of them really catching, until I stood at the checkout of Toys'R'Us looking at the trading cards and collectible games. It was then I had a realisation - nothing on sale there today looked as much fun as POG!

Pog, baby.
This was a collectible, non-violent and addictive game that featured amusing cartoons and shiny print effects, and became notorious amongst narrow-minded school headmasters for encouraging gambling. After marbles, and before battle card games, this was how the kids of my generation traded wares...

Most Desirable Gift of '94!
Soaked in anarchic surf-culture cool, the game was huge over here for all of a year, until it passed and the next big thing came along. However, unlike most fads Pog hasn't yet been bought back for the 21st century, and I think there's a space for it somewhere on the corner shop counter. How would I see it working nowadays? Well, I'm glad you asked...

I could go the easy route, and say take it online. Download the App, give Pogs stats, chose the number of milkcaps you're going to use in a battle, add in a chance element and go out and play people from all around the World... But then there's something magical about taking your pocket money to the shop after school, buying some sweets and a pack of Pogs (six milkcaps and a Kini for 99p, imagine how much that would cost today!), and getting straight on the trade to try to complete the series. I think that magic is called nostalgia, but still...
Definitely Nostalgia.
I propose a return to the old card templates and physical game, but with a bigger promotional push. Have a fortnightly magazine that comes packed with six 'magazine exclusive' series milkcaps per issue. Have short animated episodes that highlight Pogman and his wacky adventures in 15-minute episodes. When there's enough of a buzz about the product again, that's the time to launch the well-designed and rigorously tested App game, that ensures continued play from the new generation and maybe even draws some lapsed Pog-ers back. I'm not sure where it would go from there, but it has to be better than letting this rich, colourful and simple game rot, right?

Robot Wasp? Yes!
On a side note, the above Pog, from Series 2, was one of my favourites, and much later inspired a young adult novel I've been working on on-and-off for the last year. It's a robot wasp, on a surfboard. How this wouldn't appeal to any 10-year old is beyond me...
Thanks to Milkcap Mania for the images in this post!

Here's a sampling of what some other Leaguers would like to see brought back...
It's been fun. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

VC26: Rebel Commando (Version II) Review

At B&M, a most excellent discount chain here in the UK, I recently picked up the variant Rebel Commando for £4.99. I had gone in for a B-Wing Pilot I’d seen the week before, but when I saw this guy I knew it was best to snap him up quick, especially for that price. Was it worth it? Read on to find out…

Kitted Out.
I’m a big fan of all the Endor action in ROTJ (growing up near an expansive woods does that to a lad), but this is the first Forest-Camo Rebel I’ve owned. My first impression on cracking open the card was of how many accessories this guy comes with; he's packed with:

  • A Helmet
  • A Coat
  • A Backpack
  • A Rifle
  • A Handgun
The grenade belt over his torso might even be removable as well, but I’ve not wanted to risk breaking it to find out. Anyway, for a regular army builder that’s a heck of a lot of extras, and it really adds to the value.

Other than T-joint hips, this guy has all the articulation you’ve come to expect from the Vintage Collection, so I’ll leave that there. After General Grievous this figure has my favourite soft-goods from the modern line. The coat is dyed effectively, and feels quite sturdy and hard-wearing. The proportions are spot-on, with outer pockets that sit at the right height and a collar that folds correctly. There’s a hole in the back of the coat (barely noticeable) through which the backpack plugs. 

The backpack itself is a cool looking survival/comms unit reminiscent of the POTF2 Rebel Commando, with a camo paint app that stands out from the jacket but doesn’t clash. The removable helmet looks exactly like the kind Luke wears (so there’s crossover potential there for any customizers not fortunate enough to own the Saga Endor Luke), and sits a little low on the head for my liking. It looks cool in general, but thanks to the ball-jointed head not having a great up-down range, the peak obscures the face quite a bit. As such, it’s my preference to have him with his hat off.

The rifle looks fantastic, with the gun itself a matte black, but the strap a leather brown. It’s a simple touch that’s really effective in conveying the realism of the weapon, and loads better than the cast black equivalent rifle that came with the Movie Heroes Clone Trooper. The handgun sits snugly in the on-belt holster, another little detail that serves this figure well. Credit where it's due, if there’s one thing Hasbro can do consistently well with the Star Wars line now (in my experience), it’s holsters and weapon ports!

Leading the Way
What this range of accessories means is that the Rebel Commando can be displayed in a multitude of ways – should you get a couple of these guys and some different heads, you could feasibly build a small unit of Rebel saboteurs for taking down any nearby shield generators. Or, y’know, sitting on your shelf; however you use your figures is fine with me!

Checkpoint Secure
Overall this is a really solid army builder, loads of play value, excellent to display, and generally fun. I recently sold off a few of my background figures, but this guy earned his place - and that’s because he’s a solid five stars.


NB: You may have noticed I'm quite generous with my figure reviews - in fact, it's because I only tend to review the toys I really like. As I do more reviews in the future, I'm sure that average will drop. Although obviously, I'd rather it didn't!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Another Fine Mess!

The End of the War Draws Near...
Happy June! My posting seriously tailed off towards the end of last month as a load of real life took priority; happily I seem to have things in order now. I've been on a serious Star Wars photography kick this last week, and really enjoying the editing capabilities of PicMonkey - there's plenty more examples on my Flickr (new and unimproved!), feel free to add me if you're still there...

I have some articles planned and a load of figure reviews to write, along with a lack of College until at least September - here's to a busy summer of blog!

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