Showing posts with label POTF2. Show all posts
Showing posts with label POTF2. Show all posts

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Vintage Wednesdays: POTF2 Biggs Darklighter Review

Star Wars Rebellion against the Empire

Yesterday (April 29th) marked the anniversary of the 1997 release of X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, the single greatest Star Wars video game experience available. Some other Star Wars news overshadowed this monumental date for some reason or another, but to ensure XvT gets the love it deserves this week I’m celebrating with a Vintage Wednesday look at Luke Skywalker’s best buddy, Biggs Darklighter!

POTF2 card front freeze frame

First of all then, the packaging. Biggs comes on the iconic green blade POTF2 card with the distinctive Vader cut edge, and also comes packed with my favourite of the 90’s era promotions – the freeze frame. I loved these things for a few reasons back in the day; firstly, they were a neat memento to the character’s appearance in the films in a way that harks directly back to the medium of film itself, and secondly they marked the start of a significant upturn in quality for the POTF2 line. This is a US cardback and so doesn't have the trilingual descriptions that I normally saw on my figures - a nice added bonus of being able to pick these guys up for peanuts on eBay nowadays...

Star Wars Power of the Force 2
 
Released in Wave 14, Biggs benefits massively from a slimmed down sculpt and realistic proportions in comparison to previous human characters, a change for the better that the line started to take in 1998. Whilst still dynamically posed, the figure has a good centre of gravity and stands easily.

Star Wars Biggs Darklighter Hasbro

In addition to the more realistic sculpt Biggs also has much better detailing than the earlier releases, such as the pipes that run along his flight suit and a strong facial likeness. The paints are a nice combination of colours, with the dull, screen accurate orange much better than the day glow Black Series version that’s currently available, and the recreation of Biggs’ helmet design is superbly done. There is some unfortunate sloppiness with the paint apps on my figure, such as some spill from the black glove onto his arm, and a little grey splodge on the back of the white tabard which does count against him. Other sections such as the helmet and the chest panel are as sharp and clean as possible, however.

Power of the Force 2 Biggs

He comes with two weapons, the standard Correllian Blaster that came with nearly every Rebel POTF2 figure, and a larger blaster cannon. Both are fun (and he looks mean carrying one in each hand), but the larger gun works best in his left hand, due to the sculpt of his right elbow. The helmet isn’t removable, but given how the Wedge Antilles from the Rebel Pilots Cinema Scene set turned out, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

POTF2 Biggs and X-Wing

Anyway, there’s one area in particular where the POTF2 Biggs Darklighter excels, and that is in the cockpit of an X-Wing fighter. The first actual X-Wing pilot figure released in the modern era (Luke and Wedge were both previously released in their Snowspeeder gear), Biggs needs a slight push on his arms but once he’s in the cockpit it’s like he was made for it. I’ve had a POTF2 X-Wing for a while now without a pilot, and Biggs here does the job perfectly. I just need to make sure I keep him away from any Death Stars…

Biggs Darklighter Admiral Ackbar X-Wing

The 1998 Biggs Darklighter is a fantastic figure, and was a sign of the great things to come with the Hasbro Star Wars line. If you have an old style X-Wing kicking about in desperate need of a pilot, you could do far worse.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 31 March 2014

Return of the Toy Photographer...

Strange Trophy
It's been a while since I last posted anything, hasn't it?

I'm pleased to report that everything is going well here at the Collection HQ, but I've been insanely busy finishing off my uni course over the last few weeks and haven't had much time to do anything beyond filming, editing and writing essays. And yes, that includes eating and sleeping! With all of my big deadlines finally out of the way however I thought I'd unwind today with a bike ride and a spot of action figure photography...

Somewhere along the line, Teebo from POTJ has become one of my favourite figures to photograph, and today was no exception - I wasn't even planning to go anywhere that wooded, but still bought him along just in case and was rewarded when I found a very cool spot along an abandoned railway track. 

I tried something a bit different today and left my Canon 600D at home and instead took out my old PowerShot A530, a point and shoot I was using way back when I first got into this hobby. I found I was focusing a lot more on composition of the shots than anything else, and whilst the auto focus led to a lot of blurry takes I was able to get a reasonable amount of usable pics. It was a lot of fun and a lot easier than carrying around my bigger camera, so I might be using it a little bit more in the future...

*
This old chestnut...

On another note, the Emcat and I are moving house! We're downsizing to start saving for the future, which means we're doing a lot of sorting and clearing out. Toys will be sold amongst the shedding, but at the end of it I'm going to have the kind of streamlined, focused collection I've been after for a while now - as well as also having the space and funds to add to that collection further down the line. Whilst all this is going on there'll probably be another absence of posts, but hopefully for nowhere near as long as this last hiatus - more than anything, I'm looking forward to finding a whole host of new locations to explore and share...

Man, it's good to be back. To those of you still out there, many thanks for reading!

Monday, 12 August 2013

Ackbar!

Life on Home One
Sorry for the lack of updates; between an extremely poorly relative, client work and another film entering pre-production the last 10 days have absolutely flown by, and I've had no time to post anything. Even this is a fly-by blogging - I just wanted to show off a shot I took of Admiral Ackbar last night...

On a collecting note, I've finally spotted the Mission Series two-packs in the wild (at Forbidden Planet Sheffield), and they look good, particularly the Utapau Clone Trooper set. I also saw the ROTS Obi-Wan Kenobi in hand as well, and it looks much better than any pictures I've seen of it online. As I already have an Anakin on pre-order (scheduled to arrive with the good Black Series Luke X-Wing and Sandtrooper), that may be a final 3.75" temptation.

On that note, I've also started to reach some conclusions about my collection, and the direction I'm taking it. The Purge is coming... As soon as I get a free day to sit down and actually do it! For now though, I'm all about dealing with what's immediately in front of me; and that's a house in mid-sort, and a film that needs a production office. None of these things are mutually exclusive, but at the moment collecting is fairly low on that hierarchy. Hopefully though it won't be too long before I'm back with more regular updates, and maybe even a Black Series review... 

Until then, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Dark Empire Luke Skywalker

The Siege of Coruscant!
This is one figure that won't be going in the Purge; not least because Hasbro have stated that the Black Series 6" line will be for movie characters only. This Dark Empire Luke Skywalker figure is one that I've wanted for so long (we're talking late 90's here), and I was lucky enough to get him last month for a decent price. I was outbid at the last for the Clone Emperor, but I can live without; I'm generally more selective over EU material than I am the Prequels, but this design of Luke suits my post-ROTJ vision perfectly. At least until 2015, anyway...

I found a decent Photoshop lightsaber tutorial for anyone interested; I still need to refine the process a little bit, but it's easy enough to follow with a good end result.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Almost Childish

'You Look After the Ship'
Here's my entry for the 2nd Annual Rather Childish Photo Contest, which is going on right now. It didn't make it in to the final eight, but I still wanted to give it a spotlight somewhere - not that often I break my sole vinty-fig out for a shoot...

There are some most excellent pictures in the final, you should get over there and vote!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Vintage Wednesdays: POTF2 R2 D2 & C-3PO

Well, this seems like a relevant time to return to Vintage Wednesdays, and who more apt to focus on than Luke Skywalker's loyal droids, Artoo Deeto and See-Threepio?

"I don't know what all this trouble is about, but I'm sure it must be your fault."
Despite the background, these shots aren't from my new lightbox - I took them some time ago, and have been storing them up for this very day. Anyway, what do you need to know about these guys?

R2 D2

"Beep!"
Height: .96 meters average
Status:
Navigator, T-65 X-Wing Fighter
Classification:
Astromech Droid
Affiliation:
Rebel Alliance 

I'm pretty sure most Star Wars fans would count R2 as their favourite droid. The ultimate robotic Swiss army knife, it's his mission that sets the whole chain of events of A New Hope into motion and pulls Luke Skywalker into the Civil War. After that he serves as Luke's loyal and trustworthy companion throughout the evacuation of Hoth and both his trips to Dagobah, and he also plays a key role in the rescue of Han Solo. None of us had ever seen such devotion from a droid before (although granted, we'd never seen a droid before either); it's kind of amazing Obi Wan Kenobi forgot all about him. Almost like a huge, unresolved and unnecessary plot hole. Anyway, I digress...

C-3PO

"But, sir, nobody worries about upsetting a droid."
Height: 1.67 meters
Status:
Interpreter
Classification:
Human-Cyborg Relations Droid
Affiliation:
Rebel Alliance 

And, let's face it, Threepio is harder company to have around. Despite being the most annoying character in The Empire Strikes Back, I now realise how that's part of the measure of the heroes of the film that they never leave him behind - Han Solo ensures 'Goldenrod' makes it out of Echo Base on the Falcon, and Chewie carries his destroyed body around Cloud City, despite being insulted for doing so. I think that's why I like C-3PO; he brings out the best in his compatriots. He's a lot more tolerable in Return of the Jedi, and the way he's revered as a God by the Ewoks is a great touch, and a nice little way for Lucas to say 'thanks' to the character for being such a superb heel. I'm not sure about his being created by Anakin - don't get me wrong, I do like how coincidences hang together in stories, but that felt like a stretch too far for me, even if it did yield a superb comic that plugs a gap from ESB.

POTF2

The Power of the Force line was launched in 1995 by Kenner (who had been purchased by Hasbro in 1991), and was quickly dubbed 'POTF2', after the original Power of the Force line from 1985. Despite the beefcake sculpts the series was a massive hit, and continued to run until 2000, and completely reinvigorated interest and sales for the Star Wars merchandising juggernaut. This line is probably the main reason this blog even exists...

Anyway, back on topic. The first I knew about POTF2 was seeing Luke Skywalker in X-wing Fighter Pilot Gear (actually Snowspeeder Gear) in Milton Keynes Woolworths, where I bought it outright. Shortly afterwards I picked up the R2 D2 featured above, and gradually built up a mish-mash collection of various figures that provided hours of fun. Honestly. I played with vintage figures growing up, but these were my Star Wars vintage toys, and they were most excellent. Which I guess brings us nicely to today's hot topic...

THE BLACK SERIES


So, it's finally happened. After decades of the 3 3/4 inch scale toy line, Hasbro is now preparing to launch a six inch, super-articulated, OT-centric and collector focused line, 'The Black Series'. I for one couldn't be happier. Yeah, I have a lot of 3 3/4" figures, and I will keep a lot of them. But look at that figure! It may be a prototype, but if the quality of the mass-produced ones is anywhere near that, it may become my favourite line ever. The launch, in August, consists of Luke, R2-D2, a Sandtrooper and Darth Maul - that's a definite OT three out of four for me.

Coming back to collecting late has had both good points and bad but I'm glad to be here, and now I'm really excited to get in on this line from the ground floor. And what better way to start a collection than with a Luke Skywalker in X-Wing Fighter Pilot Gear?

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Outside the Rules

I've been working on some shot ideas for the The Rather Childish 2nd Annual Vintage Star Wars Action Figure Photo Contest (closes January 31st, there's still time!), and took the opportunity to use my lighting and set-up with a slightly newer guy...


Man, I do so much better with the modern figures. On another note, it's irregular games night tonight! X-Wing vs TIE until the small hours... :D

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Detention Block Escape!


And so, the Paint.net experimentation continues apace. Or, perhaps that should read continued. It's been another prolific month here at Mos Espa, but it's drawing to a close, as is the amount of free time I'm going to have with College starting back up. I'm already starting pre-production on two different films, and then I'm sure there'll be re-writes of the feature film script I've been hired to work on as well, so it's going to be busy. 

Updates here will likely be less frequent, but don't worry; when the stresses of words and deadlines get too much, there's nothing better to do than crack out the toys for a shoot. In the meantime, if there's anything you'd really like to see, let me know in the comments. Otherwise, as always: thank you for reading!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Luxury of Choice


I had a spare hour yesterday and knew I wanted to get some SW shots, although I had no idea of what. When I saw these guys on my shelf, everything kinda fell into place...


So, Star Wars. It had been a while. As much as I've enjoyed the Transformers shots recently, I've not taken any that I've been really happy with, and my interest has started to wander from the Robots in Disguise. Only for the time being, I should hasten to add - I'll be a lifelong fan, but a recent interest in Indiana Jones saw me drawing back into the world of Lucasfilm; really, this was inevitable!


I was messing around with some different lighting for these shots, experimenting with shadows and composition, but when I started to touch up the images this morning it was the more broadly lit pictures that I preferred, which surprised me. I think I'm starting to get the hang of editing shots, but as my last TF batch showed, maintaining consistency is hard. The main thing I've realised over the last few days is that I keep repeating mistakes, which I think comes from trying to rush and do shoots on the fly - basically, not being committed enough. What really helped me with this shoot was that I devoted some time to it, and got lots and lots of pictures, and tried different things as well. When I looked through the shots this morning I was surprised by which ones I preferred, but then, I gave myself that luxury of choice.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Palace Gates

"Die wanna wanga..."
This is another unused shot I found tucked away in one of my folders, clearly waiting to see the light of day! I no longer own either of these figures; kind of a shame now I see how good that ol' Bib could look...

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Just Where Do You Think You're Going?

"You're fortunate he doesn't blast you into a million pieces right here" - Really, 3PO?
Quick post here. I didn't think too much about the practicality of this little Tatooine backdrop when I made it, because if I had, I would definitely have made it bigger. Of course, had I made it bigger, then I'd no longer have any excuses for not owning a TVC Landspeeder. ..


Tuesday, 17 July 2012

AA-23


It's a return to the Detention Block for my newest acquisition: the Imperial Navy Trooper. Or Death Squad Commander. Or even Star Destroyer Commander, depending upon your wont; this guy's had more names than the average Cantina patron...

This wasn't going to be my next purchase on my mission to complete the modern '12 Backs', but when I found it going at a decent price on Ebay I took the opportunity. I'm now seven out of twelve there, and already thinking about the '78 line; I might need to invest in some storgage space first...

This is a pretty solid figure, and is definitely a boost to my Imperial collection's credentials. Look out for more pics (and maybe a review) soon!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Unlucky for Some...

"We've tried several techniques, my Lord, but the Rebel isn't talking."
Sometimes I'm trying to achieve something with these shots, be it recreating a film scene, or showcasing different figures. Other times though, I just like playing with the toys and seeing where it gets me. :D

"Leave that to me, Commander..."

Friday, 6 July 2012

Death Star


Another quick shot, messing around with lighting. This uses the Death Star hallway set I made, although as you can probably tell, it comes up a little tight for the figures. It gives nice shadows though, and generally works more than well enough for what I use it for (shots like these and general display).


You may have seen the above on my Flickr. This shot uses the same set, and pretty much the same angle as the one above. Versatile set design, see? :D

Been looking into finishing off my modern day equivalent vintage 12 back collection (that's a mouthful of a focus title!), as soon as I can justify the funds. Until then, these guys will do nicely!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Bunker Command


Lieutenant Renz and the troops of Tempest Force had killed nearly 300 Ewoks and other such life-forms on Endor's Sanctuary Moon since the construction of the shield generator, and the sport had started to become tiresome. 'If only', thought Renz, 'the locals would fight back with a bit more spirit...'

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The New Hope!

On Sunday I went shopping at my local discount store, where my girlfriend spotted an ROTS re-issue of the 'all new likeness' Princess Leia, packaged with a plastic cup, for the paltry price of £4. After purchasing and opening said figure, I knew it was finally time to open my ANH Blu-Ray Commemorative Pack.

I was not disappointed.


The sculpting and posability on these figures is second to none, especially for a seasoned (former) POTF2 collector as myself. Luke looks like Luke, Ben Kenobi is incredibly accurate and the Sandtrooper is the boss, completely. Even the R2-D2, which I thought would be the weakest of the four, has a nifty action feature whereby you twist his dome and his sensor pops out; and that's on top of a superb sculpt and crisp, clean paint apps. I don't think there's any going back now...


Given the increase to my ANH principal cast, it meant I was finally able to better utilise my Death Star walls, and get my own version of that classic promo shot...


The Leia and Han are nice place fillers, but they really pale in comparrison (literally with the Han, he's from the Jabba pack and his skin is almost green). Time to upgrade the POTF2s, no?

Finally, sorry it's been a while between posts, but college work, film-making and other projects have taken over. My comic/writing/film-making blog is now up and running at http://dopemeat.wordpress.com; take a look if you have a spare couple of minutes!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Welcome to the Mos Espa Collection, 2012 (+13 days). The viewing figures for the site have actually been immense over the last two months, for whatever reason, so I figured you may like to read a post that isn't merely holding station for images... So, new acquisitions!


I guess this is the New Hope collection. Well, minus a Han, Chewie, Leia, C-3PO, Stormtrooper and all those other irrelevant characters :D... These and my OTC Dagobah set are the only non-POTF2 modern figures I have, and the temptation to open these is huge. But! The Vader is unpunched and sealed in a starcase. I don't exactly know what that means for it as a collectible, but it does look nice, and, let's face it, the packaging is one of the biggest draws of the Vintage Collection (if you know of any significance about ol' Darth being packaged like this, please let me know in the comments).



So, I think this might be the first time in my life I'll buy two of a figure to keep one carded. To make that argument ten times harder than it would be though, check out this review of the Vintage Collection Darth Vader over at Chase Variant, a rather excellent toy review blog I came across recently.



The Episode IV Blu-Ray pack is a different prospect. As much as I'd love to open the package and start populating a Jundland Wastes display, as well as framing the nifty mini-poster, this set was bought before I'd properly consulted my finances post-student loan installment. As such, these are staying boxed until I get part-time work, or else I'll have to sell them on to eat come April! Sad times... But a nice looking set all the same.

And finally, because this wouldn't be a Mos Espa collection blog post without an action figure shot...


You may have seen this on my Flickr. Photographing vintage figures isn't going to be a new direction for me, but this guy is in honour of my upcoming weekend catching up with old friends and playing X-Wing vs TIE Fighter until the small hours of Sunday morning. Being geeky may be, y'know, geeky, but it's also incredibly fun :D

Saturday, 10 September 2011

In the Palace

When I started this blog it was going to chronicle my attempts to build a Jabba's Palace diorama (that staple of collecting), before it segued into attempts at photography. Even though my focus has shifted somewhat, it's nice when the two sync together every now and again...

Imperial Prisons Redux

As fun as building your own sets can be, sometimes it's nice to let the pros do it for you. From what I've seen of the Hasbro playsets, the Detention Block from POTF2 seems far and away the best, and it's certainly fit for purpose above.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Fett Facing Front


I said it some time ago that Boba Fett needed a close up - well, here he is, scoping out Jabba's Palace. As much as I love the POTF2 line, like many of the figures Fett's representation here isn't the best. I've seen a lot of the more recent ones about, with better articulation, paint jobs, proportion (the less said about the barrel-chest the better). But I'll say one thing for this guy; when you're a kid, being able to take the jet-pack and Wookie braids off is awesome. 

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