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Toy Review: Kang (1999)

July 20, 2014 Leave a comment

Those who respond to the battle cry, “Avengers Assemble!” are united in the fight against the forces of evil.  They face foes too powerful for one single Super Hero to withstand!  Many acting as one, they are Earth’s mightiest heroes — they are The Avengers!

- The Avengers: United They Stand introduction

Clockwise from top: Kang with captured Wasp MOC (1999 | Toy Biz) | Kang box art. | Kang's twin swords. Unfortunately, he can only yield one on any given occasion.

Clockwise from top: Kang with captured Wasp MOC (1999 | Toy Biz) | Kang box art. | Kang’s twin swords. Unfortunately, he can only yield one on any given occasion.

Considering that “The Avengers: United They Stand.” toy line–featuring Ant-Man, Captain America, Vision, Ultron, Hawkeye, Falcon, Tigra, Wonder Man, Wasp, and Kang the Conqueror–is about 15 years old, I seem to manage to find at least one sealed figure annually.

That said, this year’s acquisition is one of the chief antagonists (I presume) of the show in Kang the Conqueror (1999 | Toy Biz).  The sealed figure had been kept in less-than-ideal conditions (I cleaned it up before taking this photo) with the box showing signs of wear-and-tear, brittle elastic bands, rusted button cell batteries (upon inspection), and what seemed to be the remains of a small spider that probably fell into the bubble packaging back in the day.

Needless to say, I was not immediately drawn to the figure. But upon further inspection, I discovered that its main accessory was a sphere that contained a translucent Wasp.  My guess–having never had the opportunity to watch the show during its airing–was that it was a major plot point during one of the episodes.

Looking at the back of Kang the Conqueror‘s packaging, Toy Biz gives pretty simplistic description of the villain:

A villain with a twisted mind.  Kang believes that by time traveling he will eventually conquer the world and change history in his name.  As one of the Avengers’ most dangerous villains.  Kang has often used his vast knowledge of time and dimensional trave to escape their heroic grasp.

Not bad at all!

Clockwise from Top: Kang's instructions. | Kang The Conqueror with a translucent Wasp (enclosed in the sphere) | The Wasp "Unmasked" Extending Action Ant-Man and The Wasp (1999 | Toy Biz)

Clockwise from Top: Kang’s instructions. | Kang The Conqueror with a translucent Wasp (enclosed in the sphere) | The Wasp “Unmasked” Extending Action Ant-Man and The Wasp (1999 | Toy Biz)

Given the state of the figure sealed, I couldn’t wait to crack this one open and overall–I was quite impressed.  As a display piece, a Kang holding an open sphere containing a trapped Wasp tells a story by itself.  One can’t go without the other.  In addition, Kang’s articulation is limited (9 points by my count) and wouldn’t look right if it were divested of the sphere prison.

The aforementioned instructions:

Place the Wasp sphere securely in Kang’s left hand, as shown. Press the Y symbol on Kang’s chest for light-up sphere action.

Seems straightforward enough.

Accessories

  • Sphere Prison (With minature Wasp) - Sweet!
  • Two swords - Kang comes with two swords (top photo) but, ironically, he can only wield one at any given time.  Both swords can also be affixed onto the back of the figure though this may cause the plastic swords to bend slightly over a period of time.

Date Purchased: July17, 2014 (Shoppesville Plus, Greenhills)
Price: $8.04 | P350

Addendum:

Click here to read about my Toy Review on The Extending Action Ant-Man (1999)
Click here to read about my Toy Review on The Wasp (1999)

Adidas in partnership with the NBA unveil the 2014 NBA Draft Cap Collection

June 22, 2014 Leave a comment
Adidas 2014 NBA Draft Cap Collection

Some of my favorite designs in the Adidas 2014 NBA Draft Cap Collection.

Adidas goes all-out with their 2014 NBA Draft Cap Collection

With National Basketball Association (NBA) 2014 Draft only six days away, Adidas and the NBA have unveiled their latest 2014 NBA Draft Cap Collection. An iconic staple–worn by first-round draftees for many years–will feature an all-new design for each team and will make their debut when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver calls out the names of those selected in the first-round.

Here are some of the 2014 NBA Draft Caps that stood out for me.  Including that of my Boston Celtics :)

The 2014 NBA Draft will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on June 26, 2014.

For more, visit the Adidas Philippines Facebook Page.

Enter Noah’s Ark (NBA.com/Philippines Exclusive)

April 1, 2014 Leave a comment

Joakim Noah leads his team in rebounds, assists, and blocks. Instagram: @hankpymcom

Below is an except of my article from NBA.com/Philippines.

An emerging leader

With the seemingly innocuous play in late November that prematurely ended the season of former MVP Derrick Rose and the mid-season trade of Chicago Bulls co-captain Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers, I was curious to see where this would leave the 2013’-2014’ Bulls and their continuing quest to not only make the NBA playoffs but to also put together a deep run.

But with the loss of D Rose (15.9 points per game (ppg)/10 games) and the subsequent departure of Deng (19.0 ppg/23 games), how would these transitioning Bulls make up the void in their offense? Their leadership? Who among their remaining players would be the one to step up?

It was a train of thought that I am sure Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau has been inundated with throughout Chicago’s injury-plagued season. But to his credit, Thibodeau has not offered any excuses and has even been quoted saying, “We have enough to win.”

Enough seems to have come in the form of 7th year center Joakim Noah whom Thibodeau has decided to run his half-court offense through following the loss of Rose and Deng.

Since the Deng trade, the Chicago Bulls (14-18) have gone 26-14 (as of March 28, 2014) led by the 6’11’’ Noah who’s game has not only risen by several notches but has also garnered some MVP consideration in the process.

For more on this article, click here.


[i]  The NBA’s all-time assist leaders are John Stockton (15,806 | 1st), Jason Kidd (12,091 | 2nd), Mark Jackson (10,334 | 3rd), Steve Nash (10,296 | 4th), Earvin “Magic” Johnson (10,141 | 5th), Oscar Robertson (9,887 | 6th), Isiah Thomas (9,061 | 7th), “The Glove” Gary Payton (8,966 | 8th), and Andre Miller (8,070 | 9th place).

The Pain of a Steve Nash Fan (NBA.com/Philippines Exclusive)

March 7, 2014 Leave a comment
Gary Payton (Issue #67) and Shawn Kemp (Issue #14) defined the term "lob city" from 1990-1997. Instagram: @hankpymcom

With 39 more dimes, Steve Nash will pass Mark Jackson for 3rd all-time in career assists. Instagram: @hankpymcom

Below is an except of my article from NBA.com/Philippines.

Unlike some of my past pieces here in NBA.com/Philippines, I have found this one on the Los Angeles Lakers’ Steve Nash one of the hardest to write. Difficult—because he has always been one of the players that I have looked up to and now, at the twilight of his career, a litany of past and present injuries have slowly robbed the former back-to-back MVP of his health and—indirectly—an opportunity for us all to continue on watching him play in basketball biggest stage.

Currently ranked fourth all-time in the NBA’s career assist ladder,[i] he is in my opinion, my generation’s last true pass-first point guard. Like Earvin “Magic” Johnson, John Stockton, and Jason Kidd before him, Nash has that special ability to make his teammates better (and potentially wealthy come contract negotiations).

Today’s point guards—outside of Rajon Rondo, Ricky Rubio, and to a certain extent Kendall Marshall—are built a little more in the mold of a Russell Westbrook, John Wall, Kyrie Irving, and Derrick Rose: Scoring point guards who are relied upon to be their team’s primary or secondary scorer rather than their main facilitator.

For more on this article, click here.


[i]  The NBA’s all-time assist leaders are John Stockton (15,806 | 1st), Jason Kidd (12,091 | 2nd), Mark Jackson (10,334 | 3rd), Steve Nash (10,296 | 4th), Earvin “Magic” Johnson (10,141 | 5th), Oscar Robertson (9,887 | 6th), Isiah Thomas (9,061 | 7th), “The Glove” Gary Payton (8,966 | 8th), and Andre Miller (8,070 | 9th place).

Review: Ant-Man (2006 | Wal-Mart Exclusive | Toy Biz)

February 24, 2014 Leave a comment
With the mask on, Scott Lang could easily be mistaken for Hank Pym. | Ant-Man with Flying Ant from the Marvel Universe Classic Avengers Box Set

With the mask on, Scott Lang could easily be mistaken for Hank Pym. Just the way I like it! | Cameo: Ant-Man with his flying ant from the Marvel Universe Classic Avengers Box Set (2011). Instagram: @hankpymcom

Manila, Philippines – Whenever I attend local toy conventions, the one question I manage to ask in any booth selling Marvel Legends is, “Miss/Sir (depending on who I am addressing at that very moment) may Ant-Man ba kayo?” (“Miss/Sir, do you happen to have Ant-Man?”).  It is an unusual question—often met with disappointing responses such as, “Sorry, wala” (“Sorry, none”), “Ano yan?” (What is that?), or the dreaded and equally rare, “Ay, kakabenta lang” (“Oh, we just sold it”)—but people who are really into the business know that I am referring to the Scott Edward Harris Lang Ant-Man figure from the Marvel Legends Wal-Mart exclusive Giant Man Series (May 2006).

The set, a treasure trove in the Marvel Legends collector community, is comprised of 11 figures that “fans really wanted to have made” but were not popular enough for mainstream consumption.  Coupled with other cost saving agendas such as limited distribution (insert Wal-Mart here) and recycled molds with new paint jobs and head sculpts—what you end up with is a VERY limited and equally pricey set once it hit the secondary market.

Nine characters and two variants were featured in this Build-A-Figure (BAF) set.  They are the aforementioned Ant-Man (Scott Lang), Captain Britain (Brian Braddock), Havok (Alex Summers), Age of Apocalypse Sabertooth, Sentry (Robert Reynolds), Shadowcat with Lockheed (Kitty Pryde), Thor, Warbird (Carol Danvers), and Age of Apocalypse Wolverine (Logan).  Among them, Sentry (with facial hair) and the Age of Apocalypse Wolverine (burnt face) had variants.  Each of the nine basic figures (plus one variant) also came with a unique part to form the BAF Giant-Man (Hank Pym) [Which I will discuss in depth in a future post].

So, back to Ant-Man. Read more…

Hank Pym is Michael Douglas (Marvel’s Ant-Man)

January 17, 2014 Leave a comment
Michael Douglas is Gordon Gekko. Michael Douglas is Hank Pym. How awesome is that!

Michael Douglas is Gordon Gekko. Michael Douglas is Hank Pym. How awesome is that!

Got wind of the astonishing news yesterday evening that Michael Douglas (Wall Street, The Game) was cast as Dr. Henry “Hank” Jonathan Pym in the upcoming Marvel’s Ant-Man movie!

Needless to say, I was late to this particular party but nevertheless elated as Hank Pym finally has a face!

Synchronicity

After Paul Rudd (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, I Love You, Man) was officially cast in the Ant-Man movie last December 19, I was relieved and at the same time indifferent.  Relieved because the signing of Rudd signaled that writer and director Edgar Wright’s vision would have taken another step towards beginning production and indifference because I could not see Rudd as Pym.

But when my brother informed me yesterday that Douglas had come onboard to play Hank Pym, I was grinning from ear-to-ear.  The 69 year-old academy award winning actor and director is one of my favorite actors—highlighted by his role as Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street (1987).

It was synchronicity: One of my all-time favorite actors will play one of my all-time favorite superheroes.

It certainly doesn’t get any better than that.

Possible Plot Theories

With the principal actors in place as well as reports that director Edgar Wright would want to see an Ant-Man in the 1960’s, several possible plot points come to mind starting with: Read more…

Adidas solidifies their basketball roster with the signing of Jeremy Lin

January 16, 2014 Leave a comment

Linsanity Rocks Manila: The popularity of Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin is felt halfway around the world as reporters swarm around him during a break in his team’s practice at the Mall of Asia Arena. | NBA Global Games: Philippines (October 8, 2013)

Adidas connects with Jeremy Lin

Starting 2014 on a high note, Adidas International has announced that they have signed the Houston Rockets Jeremy Shu-How Lin to an endorsement deal.

The addition of the 6’3’’ point guard—to an already impressive international basketball roster that includes Dwight Howard (Houston Rockets), former NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls), John Wall (Washington Wizards), Ricky Rubio (Minnesota Timberwolves), Joachim Noah (Chicago Bulls), and last year’s Rookie of the Year (ROY) Damian Lillard (Portland Trailblazers)—augments the shoe company’s presence, especially among Asian and Asian American consumers.

“Jeremy’s relentless drive, passion for the game, and background of leading winning teams throughout his career makes him a perfect fit for the adidas brand,” said Chris Grancio, Adidas head of global basketball sports marketing.

Lin is scheduled to appear in a variety of upcoming Adidas marketing initiatives and will likewise play a role in the development of basketball footwear and apparel.

For more, visit the Adidas Philippines Facebook Page.

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