Awesome Toy Collection – Various Pics

Here’s some pics from my awesome toy collection, some new acquisitions, and earlier ones:
From the Star Trek universe, this is the Phoenix, Earth’s first faster-than-light spacecraft. The Phoenix is launched in the year 2063, and was featured in the movie “Star Trek First Contact”.
This is a recent acquisition, the Enterprise NX-01, Earth’s first warp 5 capable starship. Enterprise is launched in 2151, under the command of Captain Jonathan Archer. The Enterprise stars in the TV series “Star Trek Enterprise”.
20081128_cardassianAnother recent find, a 5″ Cardassian soldier. The Cardassians are an aggressive alien species in the Star Trek universe who have clashed with the Federation on numerous occasions.
Several figurines from the movie “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines“, including T-1 the first Terminator, the Terminator (Arnold), and the T-X “Terminatrix”.

Showcase Playstation 2 Game – Sniper Elite

Have you ever wanted to pick up arms and fight for a noble and righteous cause? And do you so happen to be a crackshot? Now you can in “Sniper Elite”, a shooter game set in World War II, when Soviet forces are poised to capture Berlin, the capital of Nazi Germany. In the dying days of the war, the Soviets are going all out to acquire advanced Nazi technologies, from ballistic missiles to atomic weapons. In “Sniper Elite”, you are an American agent sent to Berlin on a mission to harass and disrupt the Soviet effort, to prevent advanced technologies from falling into Soviet hands. Even before World War II has ended, the Cold War has already begun.
“Sniper Elite” is a mix between first-person shooter and third-person shooter. The game assumes a third-person view when our hero is scouting his way around the ruins of wartime Germany, and automatically switches over to a first-person perspective when the player aims and shoot with his sniper rifle. In the game, the player must attain various objectives specified during each mission. Examples of missions include the assassination of Soviet officials, sabotaging Soviet facilities or supply routes, making contact with German defectors, and even mounting the rescue of captured Allied agents. Sometimes there are missions against the Nazis themselves, causing you, an unwelcomed American agent disguised as a German soldier, to be hunted by both sides.
“I’ve always wanted to visit Berlin”
Sniping the sniper
As the name of the game suggests, the player is the ultimate sniper, who must use stealth and strategy to maneuver his way towards his objective, getting into position to deliver the killer shot. Running around nosily or failure to maintain camoufladge would attract the attention of the enemy forces, who would then proceed towards your location instinctively. Not only do you have to contend with Soviet or Nazi foot soldiers, there are also enemy snipers also on the lookout for you, and you must be able to figure out where they are hiding and kill them first, before they finish you off.
“I got you on my crosshairs, comrade”
Sniper vs. tank
What really draws my interest in “Sniper Elite” is the history realism that the game exudes. The producers of “Sniper Elite” spared no effort in the design and storywriting of the game, such as interviewing war veterans to get the look and feel of wartime Berlin, or learning from veterans actual fighting tactics used during the war. For example, when dealing with enemy tanks, snipers shot the fuel caps on the tanks, which caused the tanks to explode, destroying them. Now this is something I actually do in the game, though with great difficulty since the tanks are moving around all the time. Also, the story of “Sniper Elite” sounds as though it could have actually happened, as both Allied and Soviet forces were actively competing against each other to obtain Nazi technology during the war.
“Sniper Elite” also adds some physical realism within the game in the form of the trajectory of the sniper bullets. Bullets flying within the game follow their actual trajectories in real world, being affected by both gravity and wind direction. Therefore, when aiming at targets, one must aim slightly above the target so that, when the bullet is fired, it would fly and dip slightly downwards due to gravity just enough to hit the target head on (apparently not realistic enough, according to online reviews by actual sharpshooters, who complain that the game overexaggerates the required aiming offset). And when it is certain that the bullet will hit the target soldier, occasionally the game will switch to “bullet cam”, when the video will zip around the flying bullet as it flies towards and hit the enemy, giving you a cool visual of blood splattering and enemy soldier screaming in agony.
Bullet cam !
Another kraut bites the dust
I find playing “Sniper Elite” real exciting and satisfying, especially since I am literally competing against the game’s artificial intelligence, which throws up various complicated scenarios for me to overcome. For example, in one of the missions, immediately at the start, several Soviet soldiers would come running towards my location no matter where I hide, shooting me down. Eventually, I figured out the solution, by hiding inside a building but first planting several tripwire grenades at the entrance. Since the enemy always ran towards me, I blew them to bits when they came looking for me, and I can continue on with my mission. My only complaint about “Sniper Elite” is that, sometimes it seems as though a non-fatal shot to the arms, legs, or even backpack, would also kill the enemy. Perhaps they died of shock, or maybe it’s because I’m playing in “cadet” mode, the lowest of three difficulty settings. I would like to replay the entire game again at a higher difficulty after I finish the game the first time round.
Postcard from Berlin, April 1945
As I play “Sniper Elite”, given the historical realism of the game and its setting in the final days of World War II, sometimes I was half-hoping to recce over to the Fuhrerbunker and assassinate Hitler and his associates. Unfortunately, there is no such mission, although perhaps a follow-up game may incorporate such a mission. Or another game could be set during the Battle of Stalingrad, where sniper warfare was also rampant. But no follow-up game has yet been planned.
“Sniper Elite”, released 2005, now available for PC, PS2 and Xbox. Rated M.

Awesome Toy Collection – My MicroMachines Lot

Here are some photos of my awesome MicroMachines collection. MicroMachines are a series of minuature vehicle models, and one reason why I like to collect small MicroMachines models is because I don’t have enough space in my room to keep large starship models !
This is my Star Trek MicroMachines collection. These are minuature models of starships and starbases that were featured in Star Trek episodes and movies.
My Star Wars MicroMachines collection. MicroMachines also produced small figures of Star Wars characters that come with the playsets.
20081117_micromachines_babylon5My Babylon 5 MicroMachines collection. I was only able to get these models, there were six other models that simply never made it to Singapore.
In fact, none of my above collection is complete, as there are some models that were never released in Singapore, which I hope that I would one day come across and acquire. On the other hand, I would not spend a fortune just to collect one small model. I would buy it only if it was selling cheaply enough.

Showcase Documentary Series: Into the Unknown

 “Into the Unknown” is a new documentary series now showing on the Discovery Channel, on Mondays 11pm with repeats through the week. The show is hosted by Josh Bernstein, who’s also famous for hosting History Channel’s “Digging for the Truth”. In “Into the Unknown”, Josh investigates some of the world’s greatest mysteries, going to exotic locations and visiting remote cultures, and through his hands-on interaction with the locals and exchanges with various experts, learn about what has been uncovered, and allow the TV audience to gain new insights into the great mysteries, and maybe, possibly, even get some answers.
Host Josh Berstein, using his successful presentation formula from DFT, now co-produces ITU on the Discovery Channel, working with the same production crew,  who have also freelanced over from the History Channel. As a commercial decision, Josh does not wear his cowboy hat on ITU, since the show’s emphasis is on exploration and discovery, and the presence of the cowboy hat had tended to distract from that purpose. As compared to DFT, ITU has less emphasis on history and archaeology when it comes to the topics that it covers, such as learning about elephant behaviour, or investigating whether life on Earth came from Mars.
Several history topics remains featured, such as in the first episode of ITU, where Josh investigated into the lifestyle of the gladiators of Ancient Rome, and in the process uncovered several interesting recent discoveries that would undoubtly separate historical fact from the Hollywood version of gladiators. For example, not all gladiators were low-class slaves, in fact some were actual Roman citizens who have decided to become gladiators so as to pursue fame and fortune, since gladiators were the superstars during Ancient Roman times. In the episode, Josh even donned a gladiator’s outfit and underwent combat training, to experience firsthand how gladiators fought in the arena.
In upcoming episodes, ITU will investigate into the possibility of finding Noah’s Ark, learn why a warrior civilization disappeared in Peru, and uncover the history of a rogue Pharoah in Ancient Egypt, among other topics. For Season 1, ITU has only 8 episodes, as the production crew simply ran out of time to produce more episodes. I look forward to watching the rest of Season 1 as it airs on the Discovery Channel, and I wait with eager anticipation for new episodes of ITU to be produced.

I rant my Clownface colleague

This is a rantblog I’m making on my office colleague, who has a face that looks like a clown.
Well, frankly speaking, Clownface is a nice, friendly, ok guy. It’s only that his mannerism, the way he speaks, and even his thinking, that makes not only me but several of the other colleagues feel very uncomfortable and even suspicious. For example, Clownface can just start laughing during a conversation, even when there’s nothing humourous about the topic of discussion. In fact, just the other day during lunchtime, when I ordered the same dish as Clownface, Clownface started to smile and laugh. I just smile back out of courtesy, though I think that he is rather crazy.
And when Mr. Clownface laughs, he laughs as though he is about to lose his breath, which sounds real queer.
During conversations, when Clownface expresses his opinion, he makes it sound as though whatever he is criticising is obviously the worst thing that has ever happened, and that how he was knowledgable enough to see that fact. And sometimes, Clownface makes up jokes that are outright stale and falls flat, and may even be insulting to an honourable person. As an example, there was once when a fellow colleague commented that the air-conditioning in the office was cold, Clownface suggested that I start to whistle since the said colleague is about to urinate. I didn’t find that funny.
In the office, Mr. Clownface dresses up in the traditional office suit, not exactly following the current office fashion sense. And perhaps, Clownface is old-fashioned and traditional in his thinking as well. Once, during another conversation, Clownface commented that he thinks office romances is a bad idea. As for me, I thought that society has already evolved such that the idea of an office romance is something acceptable and nothing to be ashamed of. Personally, I won’t let any confining, limiting, non-progressive traditions stand in my way of progress and development.
Here’s another example of Clownface’s obvious obliviousness of his own annoyance: I was going to give a fellow female colleague a gift when Clownface just had to say that I was showing favoritism, at which I replied, "Oh, if I am, then so be it." Can’t he see that I was being friendly towards a girl, or perhaps that is simply something that is too alien for him.
Clownface also shows no dedication to the office or to his work, often bad-mouthing about our supervisors, or commenting how bad the working conditions in the office are, from the long working hours, heavy workload, presence of foreign employees, to being passed-over for training thanks to priority being given to newer employees, who are the foreign employees anyway. And of course, Clownface wouldn’t say all these out loud, being the hypocrite that he is, since he would not like to get into anyone’s bad books.
Oh well, I got no quarrels with Clownface, just annoyance with his very presence, that’s all.

Awesome Toy Collection – Even more pics

Again, from my awesome toy collection, some more pics I want to share:
It’s the caped crusaders! Batman, and two Robins on his left and right. At the back are the Riddler, Two-face, and Mr. Freeze. Batman and green Robin are both from “Batman Forever”, while the blue Robin comes from “Batman and Robin”.
This is an evil Martian from the movie “Mars Attacks !” The red button on his suit, when pressed, announces “We come in peace!”
From the Marvel Comics universe, this is Warstar, member of the Shi’ar Empire Imperial Guard. Warstar is actually a tag team consisting of two separate beings, B’nee (small light-green guy) and C’cil (big fella).
B’nee emerges from a hidden chamber at the back of C’cil.
20081101_cobrabatThis is my only G.I. Joe figure, a B.A.T. (Battle Android Trooper) from the COBRA faction. The B.A.T.’s right arm is a flamethrower.