Sunday, January 31, 2010

i remember when i was young and i made sense.

i loved reading books. still do, and i try to make it a habit to get a new read every so often. but i don't read as much as i did when i was say four or five. and i had a LOT to say back then. i think it's because everything was new to me, and i thought it was my God given duty to disperse this new information i had taken in. 

did you know that sloths can grow algae on their fur because they move so slowly?

my dentist called me Encyclopedia. yes, as in Encyclopedia Brown. but that was when the world was still fresh and new, and we all listened to PSA's after the cartoons ended, and iodized salt had a catchy jingle. these days my attention is everywhere at once, all moving faster than i can take in, and i'm having trouble communicating with you lot reading this right now. not just trivial information or intellectual discussion, even everyday talk. i find myself frequently code-switching, and though it gets the point across, it wears down the point to a nub. it's a dirty habit, and everyone's doing it.

 you shouldn't. 

it's hard enough to communicate in real conversation, it's almost impossible to do it online. so i've resolved to try to type long strings of words every now and then to remind myself that this is what i need to get through the day.

 to just talk, and be understood.

i know it's not all there right now, but i'll get to that eventually if i keep at it. and maybe even regain the bright outlook i had of the world in 95'.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

it's-a me!

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Miko!

  1. According to the story, Pinocchio was made of Miko.
  2. Ancient Greeks believed earthquakes were caused by Miko fighting underground.
  3. Worldwide, Miko is the most important natural enemy of night-flying insects.
  4. It takes a lobster approximately 7 years to grow to be Miko.
  5. A thimbleful of Miko would weigh over 100 million tons!
  6. The blood of mammals is red, the blood of insects is yellow, and the blood of Miko is blue.
  7. A rhinoceros horn is made from compacted Miko.
  8. Moles are able to tunnel through 300 feet of Miko in a day!
  9. Miko is the only bird that can swim but not fly.
  10. Women shoplift four times more frequently than Miko.
I am interested in - do tell me about

Sunday, January 24, 2010

high fives for everyone.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

TOYS! or "how i see plastic crack" (final draft).

For Play or For Pay?
 A Peek Into the Toy Collecting Hobby 

 Toys. When we find ourselves looking at one in any toy store or retailer outlet, do we still think of them as the innocent playthings that gave us hours of wonder and enjoyment? Plastic dolls or action figures, transforming cars or building blocks, did our endearment of these things ever fade away as we grew more matured? For some this isn't the case, they haven't grown up,and they still buy toys to bring them enjoyment. But this enjoyment isn't brought about by light-up gimmicks or sounds, there are adult collectors out there who look differently at their toys, so much so that an entire market has grown from this mindset. What I'm talking about is the Toys as Action Figures and their Collector's Market, where people buy and sell their toys for varying costs (this is often dependent on the condition or rarity of the item, which I shall discuss later on in this paper). In this paper I will seek to orient you, the reader with a general overview of toy collecting and the personae that constitute this dynamic hobby. You will be introduced to terms such as M.I.B. (Mint in Box), shortpacked, scalpers, and many others, but it is my hope that by the time you reach the end of this paper, I will have answered my fundamental inquiry of whether Toys are still collected for their play value rather than their monetary value.

 Who Does What?

 What makes up a collector? John Hays defines the collector as “a person who gathers or purchases action figures that reflect their interests” mostly as display objects “for their own enjoyment”(“Thou Shalt Not Scalp”). Why they collect may vary from collector to collector. Some might have been interested at the design of the product and began out of pure curiosity with one figure, and being impressed with one figure decided to get the other figures in the same line. Another may have watched any related media of the product and desired to have their favorite character/s in a somewhat tangible form. Another could have just as likely got one as a gift on some occasion and it had interested them enough to buy more. The reasons may be endless, but what fueled their passion for them was primarily the toy companies.

 Toy Companies today use a gamut of methods (movies, comics, TV shows, etc) to sell their wares, and just like when they started out they always had young children as their primary market even up to today. But as the years went by they found a following in the older generations that enjoyed their products. To cite an example, the Transformers toyline before (1984 to be exact) was composed mainly of one central line that sold to all the young boys of the day, helped along by the cartoon and subsequent animated movie, this line became strong up until the early 1990's. Fast forwarding through several franchise reboots later, most recently to 2008-2009, the franchise is divided into three categories that catered to three different, though often intersecting demographics: the Transformers Movie franchise which depended on the viewers of the 2007 film,Transformers which was a live-action take on the original formula and was a means to lure in new and old fans, the Transformers Animated franchise that mainly targeted a younger audience (7-10 year olds) and had maintained a three season animated series, and the Universe 2.0 line that had for a time mainly served to produce action figures of characters and properties of older franchises from the beginning of the line to the most recent incarnation (properties from 1984-2009, respectively). Characters that only fans who grew up during that period would relate to via comics, cartoons or others, this rounds up their demographic to fans in their late 20s or early30s. The latter was primarily a line that celebrated the franchise's 25th Anniversary.

 What does all this have to do with collecting you might ask? Well Generally speaking one of the lines mentioned was brought about because of the collectors demographic. This was the Universe 2.0 line, and thinking about it, only collectors would buy a character who was not used at all in subsequent (i.e. New) franchise reboots since 1984, who only surfaced within the confines of the old 80's cartoon and the comics that were based on the show. Toy collectors had numbered enough that they warranted their own toyline, even if it was within the same price ranges as all the rest. Another instance is when one toy in the new series is released in colors or decorations that homage an older toy from an older series.

 Design also plays apart in this, since tastes of older fans differ from the younger fans, one toy may incorporate features that appeal to one while it may turn away the other. Some toys may intentionally have an increased level of playability in terms of articulation and complex transformation, but may not resemble the character it is meant to represent. For the regular toy consumer this is not a huge oversight by the company, but other fans constantly call for show/movie/character accuracy with their purchases. Recent lines though have the best of both worlds to better appeal to both demographics and attempt to take them under one broad market like it was before.

 Friends and Enemies

 Now that the different consumer demographics of this industry has been introduced, let us now talk about the Collector demographic. As mentioned before, toy collectors in this category have generally been present during the franchise's earliest incarnation and have stuck with the company through the reboots. This immediately makes them the oldest audience for the product. Aside from getting their collectibles straight from the retailers (and sometimes the manufacturers directly) they also get their items from fellow collectors. Normally at a lower—and often friendlier—price range,or through trading of items. I used the term friendlier in a sense that in terms of a buyer-seller relationship, there is more face to face interaction between the two parties, and a well founded selling/trading relationship can lead them to acquire for themselves or help acquire for another an item that is harder to find or is no longer/ was never available in retail.

 Establishing good connections and a general good attitude towards fellow collectors are key to furthering your own inventory, whether you are focusing or one or more lines, as alluded to in the “Ten Rules of Toy Collecting”(Hays). Why is there a need to interact with other like-minded collectors you may wonder, well aside from the fact that talking about toys to other people who can relate little to your hobby may get you reactions that range from boredom to weird stares, it is also the difficulty in which one may experience in maintaining his collection or disposing of it. Who else can provide an adequate value for your collection than a fellow collector? Temptations in abusing this network of collectors is rather great and has sprouted a sub-group of collectors that are generally despised by the rest of the hobby. They are known as Scalpers or Hoarders, who “deliberately seek out new or limited action figures for the sole purpose of gaining an immediate monetary return of at least two or three times the current retail value of their items” (”The Beginner's Guide to Action Figure Collecting”).

 To put this into perspective, imagine a retailer releases a new product into the shelves of a store. This new product is one of a popular character, but it has been produced in only minimum quantities (priced at say 200 Php). A normal collector would only take one of the product for personal fulfillment or perhaps two to display and to store in mint condition (meaning un-opened and the packaging is in top condition) and be done with it. A scalper would take all of the products available in the shelves and leave none for any subsequent passers-by. The next step would be to immediately post these items in some online auctioning service, usually setting the starting bid a bit higher than the retail value (for argument's sake let us establish it as 250 Php even higher if the item is still in the packaging and/or the packaging is not damaged in any way ). Other interested parties, who either failed to find the product in stores or would rather not leave their household to buy their items look for them on the internet and will come across the scalper's auction. Seeing no other alternative to getting their desired item, they bid for it, often against other collectors and will no doubt get their item at a price that has skyrocketed greatly from the original price (from 200 to 800 Php for example). If the scalper is nice enough to meet the buyer for the transaction it isn't as bad, but they usually deal with collectors from other countries as well, so factoring in international shipping cost along with the winning bid, the auction winner is no doubt at a loss.

 This is by no means illegal, but it generally leaves a bad taste in ones mouth when you are a victim of something like this. Individuals like the scalper view toys not as a plaything or as some object that satisfies one's nostalgic tendencies, but as a common commodity that must benefit him/her financially as much as it can. Often they use this as a primary source of income and seeing it that way justifies in their mind the need to hoard in-demand items, since logically these are the items that give back more than what they invested in them to begin with. Defending their point of view, an interview on Articulated one scalper notes, “... if you have ever bought or sold ANYTHING, you are a scalper. If you buy one or more of ANY item, you are cheating another collector from having it” (“Scalped! An Interview With the Enemy”).Remarks like this aimed at the general toy collecting audience tries to do two things. Firstly, it absolves the scalper from any guilt or general distaste towards him by claiming he is no different from the rest of the collectors who buy, trade, or sell their items, and secondly it tries to sow guilt on collectors who prefer to buy two of one kind of item, one to display and one to keep in the packaging—a usual collector's habit so as to preserve the “store-fresh” feel of an item for years to come.

 Collect Them All! 

 But exactly why is there an existence of hard to find toys? Why is there a need for them at all? Well, there is an old saying in the toy industry (usually found on the packaging) that says “Collect Them All!” and collectors will often strive to do that, and limited-run toys are deviously clever strategies for toy manufacturers to capitalize on their franchise with minimum risk of their product not doing well on the market. Thinking of it in a different light, you could say owning something that was manufactured in small quantities can give one a psychological high, a sense of pride if you will, by outdoing the other guy through having something he doesn't. Therefore giving the sense of having a more “complete” collection at your hands, and often thinking of having a more “valuable” collection to dispose of if the need for it occurs.

 Variations could be the more common “shortpacked” toys, meaning toys that only come in 1-2 pieces per case of toys shipped to a retailer, an exclusive item made for some event or a particular retailer, to even the prototype of a mass-produced product—how the prototype got on the market at all is grounds for a legal investigation by the company (“The Ultimate Crash Course in Action Figure Collecting Part 2”). these things are fuel for the fire, one may suppose. It does encourage one to think of their items as more valuable, and as a consequence, finding these items in the secondary market will often cost the buyer more than they might be willing to dish out. On the other hand, it reaffirms the collector in a way that there is value in what they do, rather than what they buy. That aforementioned sense of “uniqueness” in his/her menagerie of plastic play things, and gaining the respect of their peers in the hobby. If everyone had the same things in their collections, readily getting their items off the shelves in equal quantities, the buy-sell-trade market for toys would be stagnant,or eventually would fade in the distance or die out. So in some way, for one who loves the hobby, competition may be essential for this hobby to carry on.

 In The Same Boat 

 Whatever the case may be for the collectors, there is no doubt in my mind that this hobby has outgrown itself these past decades, branching out from a simple form of entertaining a child to a lucrative means of profit and social interaction, acquiring certain tastes for a specific line or skills of transaction. Sprouting from this foundation, and interaction with others there are newer outlets for expressing one's affection for the hobby, such as Toy Photography which brings out the allure of product even more through eye-catching pictures or fan-made reviews of products in the market, which help to inform fellow collectors in making their purchases, and may even help increase or decrease the value of a certain product in the eyes of the consumers. Of course there will be times when one has to sell their beloved items for some reason, but this is only natural. Whether one is a collector or one is a scalper, at the end of the day, both still buy the toys, and both still ensure that there will be a healthy market for these things for years to come. Companies could easily have shifted focus when they felt that their product was not doing well, but when people really love a product for whatever reason, it will be enough for that product to endure or adapt to the changing times. Toy Companies need Toy fans, and vice versa. The relationship may get strained at certain times (fans like to complain about the tiniest details, and companies often aim for newer, broader demographics), but through it all—yes, that includes age—they never seem to quit on each other. People never lose interest in toys, but they only find new ways to play with them. Call it passion, or addiction, but toys will never go out of fashion.

 Works Cited:

 Hays, John.”Collector's Crash Course Part 1”.The Beginner's Guide To Actionfigure Collecting. Toymania, n.d. Web. 8 Jan. 2010. 

 Hays, John “Collector's Crash Course Part 2”. The Beginner's Guide To Actionfigure Collecting. Toymania, n.d. Web. 8 Jan.2010. 

 Hays, John. “Thou Shalt Not Scalp”.The Beginner's Guide To Actionfigure Collecting. Toymania, n.d. Web. 8 Jan. 2010.

 “Dr. Nightmare”. “Scalped! An Interview With The Enemy”. Articulated Discussion, 7 Jan. 2010. Web. 10 Jan. 2010. 

 Transformers. Dir. Michael Bay. Dreamworks SKG, Hasbro, 2007.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Photo of the Day

there he is, your little guy.

you know i've never been a fan of bumblebee. when i say that, i mean that i've never taken to seriously liking the character. sure he may have been the robin to prime's batman to some extent, but aside from liking him on a general kid-friendly character way, i'm not much of a bee supporter in fact, when i heard the next Leader Class figure for the ROTF line was Bumblebee, i was disgusted, though not at the character, but at how hasbro was milking this cash cow character real hard (i like to think of movie bee as different from G1...). no, i was more drawn into the likes of Jazz or even Swindle. i do know of some people who make bee-centric stands in their collections, my brother's one of them. as for myself,the only bee i have is the classics one, and i'd say i have the one that ever really matters in my case. reading IDW's Transformers Mini: Bumblebee is really turning me around though. looking at the art, i kinda dig Chee's deceptively simple style, and he paints the central character (i shall henceforth refer to him as Bee Prime) in a bit of a sympathetic light. i mean little yellow dude as the leader of the autobots.  (TAKE THAT, RODIMUS! hahahaha). to me this mini is becoming a sort of a coming of age story, a little lord of the flies here, some stand by me there... and a ton of Bladerunner. it made me dig out  classics bee from the toy bin and fiddle with him a little. it made me appreciate how cool the toy is again. in fact,  he's staying out of the bin for a while and on my desk.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Photo of the Day

Houka Ozu AKA MagiPink from Magiranger

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Photo of the Day

Megumi Misaki AKA Dolphin Blue from LIVEMAN:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Squad D

Squadron D

Unit 01: Multi-Range Commander's Shell Brigandine

Unit 02: Long range Sniper Shell Arquebus

Unit 03: Melee Combat shell Saber Commando custom

Unit 04:  mid-range Machine Gunner shell Saber custom

unrelated: prototype heavy shell Kodiak


heeheheheheheheheheheeee *passes out*

Saturday, January 9, 2010

isn't she lovely?

Nanami Nono from Hurricaneger

Sooooo KAWAII!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Big Blue

new mech for yaz:

Backgrounder/History: to follow. reeeally tired  >.<

Notes: i think i may have gone over board with the decals...

Sunday, January 3, 2010


i've been reading the Detroit Metal City manga for a while now and loving it. it also made me look at different genres of J-rock and J-pop, so when i came to chapter 59 i had to look up visual kei. 

and boy, was i surprised to find this in the article:

(go ahead and click the image to enlarge *snicker* it)

the reason i saved that image is because i know it'll be edited sooner or later. and i wanted to save it for posterity.  truly nothing is safe from Krauser-san's demon raping. not even wikipedia.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Flat HED

here's a new(and small) one finished:

Flat HEDs (Heavy External Defense suits) were once the mainstay of the armored infantry of the most powerful countries from 2085 to 2144 CE, and are the predecessors of the SHELL combat frames used today. though not as modular, it was more agile, and due to its size required less power to run on. but as more powerful weapons became the norm, adaptability was key. but it simply could not be accomplished within this design. it could not take sniper roles supporting fire, nor could it be suitable against tanks or missile launchers. and when one part got damaged it cannot be replaced on the field. these concerns are what gave rise into the development of the modern SHELLs  with their modular and interchangeable nature, retaining only the torso where the pilot sits and controls the machine, or as it's called~ the core. these days FlatHEDs are sold as army surplus to impoverished nations looking to up their defense (or offense) if only slightly. sold mostly to countries of lower economic capacity, or to insurgent forces, about 5 FlatHEDs equal one SHELL. it may not be much but it is still intimidating in its own right.

also called:  Crabs, Hunchbacks, Bulletbox/es.

Scale Comparison with Saber shell:


I love Mechwarrior pilot figures =D

Friday, January 1, 2010


it's fun to build clear things sometimes. :)

first mech of 2010


Saber variant: "Machete custom"

a variant of the Saber Shell , customized for localized combat in the jungles and paddies of Southeast Asia, this black market mech was sold to rebel groups in stripped-down units, having bought the weapons from another supplier and creating makeshift--and often scrapmetal--armor platings taken from older models or cobbled together in local junk shops. plating is applied sparingly and only in frontal regions. the logic behind this is within the areas of combat these machines face only tanks and infantry units of the national (and underdeveloped) military. local names may vary but the nature of combat as local guerilla warfare has earned this unit the Nickname "Machete" both by the Atlantic Nations Union (ANU) intervention  forces stationed in The Independent Republic of Cambodia and by the Pacific Economic Federation (PEF) Forces stationed in Mindanao sovereignty conflict zones. 

(someday i'll write an entire world grounded on these robots, using my fondness of the Front Mission games as a basis. let's set it at 2190 C.E. )