Awesome Toy Collection: Baron Zemo and Captain America

Here I showcase two of my recent new acquisitions.
20090228_baronzemoFrom the Marvel Universe, Baron Zemo beckons to you!  Baron Heinrich Zemo was a scientist who served Nazi Germany, using his intellect to design and construct weapons of mass destruction. Wearing a red hood to conceal his identity, it was during a confrontation with Captain America that, a vat of adhesive shattered and poured its contents over Zemo, permanently affixing the hood over Zemo’s head. Driven insane with hatred, Baron Zemo fought with Captain America several more times, and was ultimately responsible for the death of Captain America’s sidekick Bucky, and sending Captain America into decades of suspended animation. When Zemo learnt that Captain America was revived, the two bitter enemies had a final showdown in which the Baron finally perished. Zemo’s son, Helmut Zemo, has now taken on the mantle of adversary against Captain America as the new Baron Zemo, seeking vengeance for his father’s death.
Captain America is one of Marvel Comics’ most popular heroes. In the Marvel Universe, Captain America was a patriotic soldier who volunteered to be injected with a “super-soldier” serum, which bestowed onto him great strength and agility. Fighting on America’s side during World War II, Captain America was trapped into decades of suspended animation upon the war’s end, before he was revived by the Avengers in the 1960s. Captain America then joins the Avengers, fighting against diabolical super villians and continuing to espouse the American ideals of freedom, justice, and liberty.
I’ve been looking for a suitable Captain America figure to collect for quite some time, and was rather happy when I bought this recent Hasbro Marvel Universe series Captain America. But upon closer inspection, I realised that this was not the figure that I want. He is actually the “Ultimate” version of Captain America, from an alternate reality within the Marvel Universe. The Captain America that I want is the mainstream version, and there are some differences between the two. The mainstream version has wings on his mask, he does not wear an ammo belt around his waist, and the boot designs are also different. The mainstream version will be released in a later wave, which I plan to acquire. Below is a comparison between the two.

Forest fire right outside my house

Last Wednesday on the 18th of February, when I got home from work at about 7.30pm, I looked outside my window, and saw that there was a forest fire at a distance away. The fire burned for almost one hour before the fire-fighting authorities were able to bring it under control. For your information I stay in the Bukit Batok area.
The weather here had been very hot and sunny, and there had been a rise in forest fires recently. In many cases, the fires could have been accidentally caused by a stray cigarette butt, or even discarded glass pieces which magnified the sunlight to create the fires. Below is a photo of the forest after the fire, the damage visible in the daylight.
You can see that the fire had scorched a portion of the greenery into a brown, dry patch. But I believe that the fire had caused only minimal damage since the trees are still standing, and the affected area should be able to recover quickly and regain back its green lusture.

Awesome Toy Collection – Batman Begins Here!

Even Batman has a beginning… and the origins of Batman is told in the movie "Batman Begins", whereby here in this blog entry is my collection of action figures from the movie.
Ra’s al Ghul is the leader of the League of Shadows, a group dedicated to countering the decadence and injustices within human society by fighting evil with evil itself.  Ra’s al Ghul is seemingly immortal, and the League has through the ages wrecked devastation upon mankind on numerous occasions, claiming to have caused the fall of Rome, spreading the Black Death, and burning London to the ground. And now the League has set its sight on Gotham City, and only Batman can stand in their way.
Henri Ducard is the person who recruited Bruce Wayne into the League of Shadows. Ducard served as Bruce Wayne’s trainer and mentor, teaching him the martial arts and guiding him to understand the roots of evil and overcome his greatest fears. But Bruce betrays the League when he disagreed with their ruthless methods, and with his new skills he returns to Gotham City to become Batman, the city’s champion. Ducard then reappears in Gotham, reveals himself to be the real Ra’s al Ghul, and once again appealled to Batman to join him in destroying Gotham City. The two will fight to the bitter end.
The Scarecrow is a sadistic psychiatrist who has a morbid fascination with fear. Scarecrow has developed a fear toxin that when sprayed on his victims, induces terrifying levels of fear, causing hallucinations of nightmarish proportions. Scarecrow wears a sack mask with a built-in rebreather apparatus, protecting himself from the toxin’s effects. In "Batman Begins", the Scarecrow allies with Ra’s al Ghul, spreading his fear toxin into Gotham City’s water supply such that the entire population would fall into chaos and mass panic, and cause Gotham City to tear itself apart. On the left is the "straitjacket" Scarecrow figure, while on the right is a repaint variant of the figure, with a more bloody appearance. Pulling the Scarecrow’s right arm would rotate Scarecrow’s head and change the appearance of his mask.
And this is the "trenchcoat" version Scarecrow.
Bruce Wayne in ninja attire, as he undergoes training with the League of Shadows in "Batman Begins".
Bruce Wayne is sculpted in the likeness of Christian Bale.

Awesome Toy Collection – Batman Add-ons!

My search for Batman figures continues, and I’ve made quite a number of finds, surprising even myself.
Err… So who is this guy in black standing next to the Joker? Actually, he’s Bob the Goon, the Joker’s loyal henchman in the movie “Batman”. Frankly speaking, Bob the Goon looks so unremarkable that, had I not been aware that the Joker’s henchman actually got his own action figure, I would probably have not recognised him for who he is. There is a lever at the back of Bob that, when pressed, allows Bob’s right leg to kick some Bat-butt. Bob was being sold as a loose figure, and his original black hat had been lost. So I managed to find for him a replacement hat, painting it black.
 Bob the Goon, with and without hat. The hat is a bit oversized.
Over here, the villianous duo from “Batman Forever” makes their appearance! It is Two-Face and the Riddler. And this time round, the Riddler wears his trademark green suit just the way he appears in the movie.
The icemen cometh! I managed to find a Mr. Freeze which wears the silver armour, which is the way he appears in “Batman and Robin”. Here’s a comparison between the two Mr. Freezes with Arnold’s likeness.
I’ve been looking for this figure for a long time. This is Bane, Batman’s formidable adversary. A chemical called Venom courses through Bane’s blood, giving him superstrength, and increasing his aggression and rage. In “Batman and Robin”, Bane allies himself with Poison Ivy and, together with Mr. Freeze, the trio wrecked untold havoc on Gotham City.

The next Indiana Jones game – coming soon

Indiana Jones is my favourite hero, he is the famous adventurer-archaeologist who had, in four blockbuster movies and twenty-two TV movies episodes, enthralled the audience with his daring escapades, as he challenges and outwits his opponents so as to recover ancient priceless artifacts, standing on the side of the good and righteous, and preventing the mythical powers from falling into evil hands.
And now, the world waits with eager anticipation for the release of the next Indiana Jones game, “Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings”, currently under development by LucasArts, following from their previous Indy releases “Emperor’s Tomb” and “Infernal Machine”, and wayback to an earlier time “Fate of Atlantis” and also “The Last Crusade” (which was based on the movie of the same name).

According to released trailers and interviews, in “Staff of Kings” Indiana Jones travels the world in pursuit of the mysterious artifact called the Staff of Kings, said to be the staff of Moses and rumoured to possess some unknown power. LucasArts are designing “Staff of Kings” with the use of a revolutionary game engine called Euphoria, which uses real time calculations to ensure that no two repeated actions would be the same, meaning that every punch, kick, or throw that Indy delivers to his enemies would have its unique follow-through movement, and therefore eliminates repetations within the game whereby gamers would complain that all the enemies drop down in nearly the same manner. 

 “Staff of Kings” had been in development for quite some time ever since the first news about it came out in 2006, and there had been a delay when the production crew was reassigned to another Star Wars game utilizing the same Euphoria engine. And when the forth Indiana Jones movie was announced, it was thought that the game may be a tie-in to the movie, or it could be released in time to coincide with the movie’s theatre run. But even as “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” came and went, there had been no further news with regard to the “Staff of Kings” development progress or release dates.
The game’s no show at E3 2008, coupled with the news that several developers for the game had been reassigned to other projects, led to rumours that “Staff of Kings” might have been cancelled, rumours that LucasArts almost immediately addressed with a statement saying that LucasArts remains “absolutely commited to the Indy franchise”. And not long thereafter, a new trailer for the game was released. Surprisingly, this new trailer has brought about even more speculations on the game’s development.
Indy and the Staff of Kings
It was long assumed that “Staff of Kings” was being developed for the next gen game consoles, such as PS3 and Xbox360. Instead, the trailer says that the game is being released for Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, and an unidentified PlayStation console, probably PSP. There’s no mention of PS3 or Xbox360, which suggests that the Euphoria-enabled PS3/360 version of the game has somehow been scrapped during the game’s development, and that LucasArts is simply going ahead with publishing the game through the 3rd party ports that did not suffer the same production problems, such as Wii, handheld consoles, and quite possibly, even for PS2.
In fact, this sounds good to me, as I only have a PS2 and had thought that I would not be able to play “Staff of Kings” unless I bought a PS3 or Xbox360. And when I checked the official LucasArts website for “Staff of Kings”, I found that the game is indeed being released for PS2. Yay! This is one giant leap backwards, and it’s great news, for me anyway.
Already on several gaming discussion boards, there are rants complaining that “Staff of Kings” graphics would not be as crystal crisp as the previously released screenshots belonging to the PS3/360 version. But I am making no complaints about this since I am more glad that I can get to play the game.

“Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings”, coming Spring 2009, for Wii, Nintendo DS, PSP and PS2. This game has not yet been rated.