Old, Not Obsolete!

Ok, so wtf is the German going to ramble about today, hmm?!

Well, first of all let me apologize to a personal friend of mine from the UK, Dan. Dude, I gave you shit for this, but it was TOO fitting for this to pass up on.  So: sorry, dude. ;)

Now, what I mean by this is simply that I was VERY disappointed over this year’s announcements/teases at SDCC2018. Many people know me, I´m approaching 37 and I´m pretty old school. Many people over here collect S.H. Figuarts stuff, SW Black Series, Mythic Legions and not many seem to share my love for Robocop and Terminator to only name a few, but don´t get me wrong: sure respect it.

With that being said: Hot Toys is slacking big. fuckin. time.

We only see Star Wars, DC, or Marvel, with the 3 exceptions, of which, 2 were surprises:

-          John Wick (Surprise)

-          Fugitive Predator

-          Battle Angel Alita (Surprise)

I have zero interest in of those (good on the wallet), but it pains me to see that old franchises won´t get any love anymore. Call it whining, it doesn´t matter to me, I just need to vent and hope someone gets me. Because I know PLENTY of people which are also enjoying these franchises (maybe not in the Realm, but still) and they ache for a “The Terminator” Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor, “Robocop” Clarence Boddicker and Dick Jones, “Aliens” Ripley and Dwayne Hicks, Hudson, Drake, Vasquez…you name it. And I honestly believe Hot Toys drops the ball BIG TIME when it comes to delivering characters to collection that fill them and somehow complete them too. Especially so on the villain side, sometimes also cult characters, modern, or old school, but I´m doing an overall list. I hope you bear with me.

Just a few examples:

We´ve gotten Ant-Man, yet no Yellow Jacket. The Guardians were done, but no Ronan. Thor, no Malekith, but multiple Lokis. No Grandmaster or Valkyrie. Iron Man´s Mark 1 – 1 Trillion, but how about Happy Hogan or Aldrich Killian? Two City Hunter Predators, but was there no Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) and especially since I started with them: 2 Terminator 1 T-800s (Tech Noir and Police Shootout), which were able to double as Arm & Eye Surgery and Tanker Accident T-800, but a non-fitting and INCORRECTLY outfitted Terminator 1 ¼-scale T-800 Endoskeleton, with a base with “lava” (still a big WTF?!) and phased pulse rifle (belongs to T2), yet Endo for T1, or a 2-pack with Kyle, Sarah and a blasted in half T-800 (which would work), cause let´s be clear:

RoboCop showed us that it can work. The battle-damaged Robocop with human Alex Murphy was a hit. It sold out everywhere, presented us with Hot Toys’ BEST head sculpt to date, and aftermarket prices for this set is crazy.  And with current sculpters and the sculpt work, amazing sculpts could be done of Michael Biehn (which sure can be used for Dwayne Hicks too. One sculpt, two uses), Linda Hamilton, Kurtwood Smith, and all those cult characters.

So I get it why Hot Toys only delivers pieces for DC, Marvel and Star Wars: Because the licenses are expensive and they milk the cow, because they need to get their costs back. But with half- (or let´s just say “unfinished”) collections of Terminator 1, 2 and RoboCop, Hot Toys wouldn´t lose money. People want Clarence, Dick, Sarah, John and the old T-800. Fans would eat that up in a heartbeat. They pay VERY good and also big custom money for Legio7 custom figures of Clarence, Emil Antonovsky´s molten appearance from the end, Nash, Joe and there´s also a Dick Jones custom out there. 1984 Kyle too, but its sculpt is lacking.

The money is there, Hot Toys just needs to grab it and also would sure get fan/customer support big time, because that´s where they can improve too: Listening to fans, which would help them in the long run.

I hope I caught an ear or two. Would be glad if you sound of in the comments below, or leave a like. Find me in the Facebook groups as “Tim Kay” and on IG and FB as @figurephotographycrate, or on Youtube @timkaysnerdcrate. Hit me up, always happy to chop it up with the ROC fam.

‘Til next time

The Mad German

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R.O.C.K Reviews: Hot Toys 1/6th Arkham Knight

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Producer: Hot Toys
Height: Approx. 12”
Weight: N/A
Where to buy: SideShow Collectibles:  


Hot Toys ramps up its gaming sub line with this homage to the “Arkham Knight” series Batman. Being a 1/6th scale (12”) figure really helps in that the details of it all truly pop. The sculpt itself, particularly in the facial-features, is about as accurate as I could have imagined, and the suit (made of a vinyl material) is really nice and detailed as well. My main gripes about the suit would be the shoulders not seeming to be very securely attached (I’ve had no problem with them coming off at this point, but they seem to be lightly glued on; just seems like a problem waiting to happen) and the cape in that it’s beautiful looking with the black leather but the “wires” are so weak that they’re absolutely pointless (particularly when this was sold using promo shots with a cape fully spread.)


The articulation is nice and seemingly “standard” for most mid-sized Hot Toys bodies, but with the spandex suit, there are some limitations as to be expected. Speaking of the suit, although it does crease immediately after posing, the creases do fall out in after a day or so in a regular, straight pose. It comes with a nice variety of hands to hold the extremely well-done assortment of weapons from the games, but unfortunately the non-flexible forearm guards keep you from being able to do much with the wrist articulation, thus hindering some posing with them.

Overall, I feel like this piece is tremendous looking but leaves a bit to be desired if you’re wanting to display him in poses that are a bit more gritty or extravagant. Overall score 7.5/10.


Overall, I feel like this piece is tremendous looking but leaves a bit to be desired if you’re wanting to display him in poses that are a bit more gritty or extravagant. Overall score 7.5/10.



Check out more of my work at the following:

IG: Kuma_photos
FB: Facebook.com/Kumastyle
Web: Kumastyle.com

What’s Next?

Doing some inventory today, I realized just how close I am to finishing my Masterpiece scale Transformer collection. I’m quite literally only a few figures away, and I’d like to upgrade a few. I need to sort out a selection of Dinobots, and I’m missing a couple of the G1 movie cast. Once that’s done, I’m a couple minibots and some combiner upgrades away from being done.

So that leaves me with a dilemma, what happens next? This collection has been my primary focus for the last couple years. Sure, I’ve bought a few other things, and my wife and I always collect video games and related merch, but the effort has been primarily on my G1 crew.

Another wrench was thrown in when I started following and participating in the ROC Instagram push, #realmofcollectors. I see amazing shots from very talented photographers, and a lot of the best aren’t of Transformers. Oh, don’t misunderstand, there is a ton of great TF photography, but some of the things done with other lines is simply mind blowing. And, let’s be clear, I’m a nerd of diverse tastes. From anime to gaming, comics to traditional cartoons, I love all things nerdy.

With my G1 collection winding down, I’ve decided to look heavily at other lines. Sure, I could continue with Transformers, and I’m sure I will with things such as the IDW figures from MMC. However, I’d like to shift my primary focus towards something different. Something that will allow me to shoot some of these crazy photos, and allow me to bond with other characters I already love.

I’m sure this is an issue faced by many collectors as they finish a primary line. I mean, part of the collecting hobby is the act of collecting itself, and there’s just no 12-step program for plastic crack (yet…). There’s nothing like opening that new figure, and putting hands on the toys for the first time. It’s a rush!

Here’s where I’m at: I have a few lines to consider, and some of them may be a challenge.

  1. SH Figuarts has some great stuff from several anime, as well as the video game figures. My wife says we need more video game related things… This one may win.
  2. Figma, same deal as SHF. Have you seen their Samus Aran figures? Perfection! Plus, my wife really likes their Mario and Zelda figures (hmmm… I think I see a trend.)
  3. Hot Toys. Prepare for wallet devastation! But the Marvel stuff is simply amazing!
  4. More Gundam, you can never have enough! But I could graduate to the higher end kits
  5. GI Joe, which I already do collect. The problem is that I sort of relate this to my Transformers collection (and they’re displayed together). Plus, the vehicles take up a LOT of space.

No matter what, collecting has become a fun and challenging hobby for me. It has replaced a couple more expensive ones, and it has allowed me an avenue to bond with my kids. There is a treasure trove of wonderful things to discover, and by branching out, I hope the fire continues. I’m even debating ways to turn a part of my garage into a diorama area, as well as making some modifications to my office for the same reason. The photography aspect has added a whole new dimension to the hobby as well, and I need more diversity in my subject matter.

So, while one collection may be winding down, the hunt continues.  

Rob Milton

Instagram @Robsrobits

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One Turn At A Time, One Click At A Time, One Shot At A Time...

Ok, so right of the bat, I have to say that I AM (not “consider myself,” AM) an amateur when it comes to toy photography. I would love to do it professionally, but I would need to spend way more money on this (like buying a fish-eye lens or more material to do a big frame for mounted diffusor so the light wouldn´t be too hard), but this entry right here is just to show people that pretty much everybody can do it if they have the heart for it. You don´t need much. I honestly believe that, especially since, for people of our age, “playing with our toys” actually is posing the figures professionally, honoring the effort that went into it, and being happy with how amazing the character looks in the selected pose.

Continuing where I left off: I started out with a small compartment in my Expedit shelf (later discontinued by IKEA, but kind of re-instated as Kallax) after I had gotten myself a Nikon D3100 with a Tamron AF 18-200 Macro lens. I took the already installed Osram LED STIXX as the lighting and (most of the time) used the Autobot insignia that from the ‘Covenant Of Primus’ book as the background (of course I don´t only photograph Autobots, so I needed a Decepticon insignia too…I ended up building both, but that´s a subject for another time). It worked very well, as you might see on these following examples:

Pictured: Takara Tomy – Transformers Masterpiece – MP10: Optimus Prime


Pictured: Takara Tomy – Transformers Masterpiece – MP27: Ironhide


But I soon ran into space problems. Ultra Magnus was the first culprit (he’s huge). So what did I do? I tried shooting him with my lights in front of my black TV.  This…was a major set-back.  I was not satisfied:

Pictured: Takara Tomy – Transformers Masterpiece – MP22: Ultra Magnus


I knew I needed a proper background. Not a photobox though, since I wanted to maintain my open space for bigger pieces (I was working on my Combiner Wars Devastator custom at the time), but all these interim steps didn’t give me what I had pictured in my mind.  First, I tried a chromed, foil-like background, but I didn't think this through:

Pictured: Mastermind Creations R-17 Carnifex (3rd Party IDW Comics Re-imagined Generation 1 Overlord)


The next step was the most logical: Cloth.  I got a blue, little goldish gleaming cloth as background, hung it over my TV, and the lighting duties were taken over by rechargeable LED lights with different, rising luminosity settings (which also utilized a clamp.  I still use these; I highly recommend them and you can get similar ones on Amazon).  


The pictures turned out something like this. It was ok, but still not where I wanted to go:


But soon the space there started to diminish too! I switched to my kitchen table and added 2 plywood panels and background clamps. Still not the set up I was hoping for as the pictures turned out to have somewhat of a yellow gleam to it (due to the kitchen’s headlight) as can be seen here:

Pictured: Hot Toys - MMS237 D06 - Iron Man 2 - Whiplash Mark 2


I finally got the idea to buy myself a little table, enlarge the surface with one of the panels, and add a new background. Those who follow me know I bought a metallic, kind of gunmetal grey fabric (which has a glorious gleam to it), and I was able to utilize a big acrylic plate which you might spot in the lower left of the picture to the right. So most of my pictures looked similar to this:

Pictured: Bandai - Tamashi - Soul Of Chogokin: Spec XS-04: Evangelion Unit 00 from the Movie ‘Evangelion: 1.11 – You Are (Not) Alone, also EVA-01 & EVA-02


Over the next few months, I added Bandai Tamashii Nations Stage Act 4 as action stands (I rarely use them in photos now, but this will change) and a professional tripod for my camera.  My current set up now looks like this:

Pictured: My attic photo space & Floodlight


Also I finally got to read further into settings of my camera, now utilizing the aperture, or even manual mode. Nowadays, I only shoot my figures in ISO100 and let the aperture do its own thing. Due to the tripod and self-timer, I seldom have a shaky picture (it only really happens if the position was unstable and utilizing the tripod wasn´t possible).  I want to take the opportunity to shout out  fellow photographers Ryan Fogg (@series209 on Instagram) in the ROC and Kevin Clarkson (@kclarkson78 on IG) from the Sixth Scale Photography Facebook group. Awesome people, please give them a follow. If you need help with settings, write them a message; they absolutely won´t bite. Last but not least, I still wasn´t satisfied with the lighting so I just upgraded to construction floodlights with 10W power, and I also have 3 new backgrounds in the pipeline. Soon I will start my reviews of the remaining 4 TransForm Mission Stunticons Revolt, Overturn, Carnage and Disorder, their combined form (Havoc), and also Generation Toy´s OP.EX, and I can´t wait to use all of it.

So whatever you get out of this post, I can only tell you that you will probably be your own worst critic. I know this from experience.  Many of the pictures I do tend to turn out “bad,” so I redo them plenty of times. But let me give you some advice: Play with your camera settings, try new things, or even try some simple techniques. Mounting something on a card box helps, it doesn´t HAVE to be fully professional. You may not have a lot of money, but you’ve got a camera and as long as you don´t have 2 left hands (or maybe even if you do), you´ll make it work. I know it. Check your workplace, is there something that can be utilized?  Ask if you can have it, or who knows?  Maybe your coworkers have ideas. Like mine, who put me on the tracks to buy the floodlights.

You just need a start. You want to do it…get to it.

Peace out and thx for reading

The Mad German

IG: @Figurephotographycrate

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