donderdag 31 juli 2014

Myth Cloth Review: Pegasus Seiya v2

It has been a while since I got the time to add some of these to my collection, and then even more before I actually managed to blog about them, but this is one of my most recent acquisitions.

And like all of the old bronze series, he is actually but ugly...

Seiya is the big guy of the series, both in the original series, but also in the recent new Omega series he is the one going into the spotlight.  Seiya is a hot-headed youth, and often rushes in head first to battle (an evolution he made through the series, he was far more tactical in his battles in the beginning of the saga), and will become the new generations Sagitarrius Gold Saint.

Fiercely loyal (and in love) with the godess Athena (and this is revealed in the closing episode of Omega), he will battle to great lengths to protect her against all commers.

The model is of the second version seen in the anime, the Asgard and Poseidon chapters.  Now, bronze clothes are by default not the hardest to assemble (okay, bar Shiryu`s shoulder claws) and this one is no exception.

Containing of the regular mix of metal and plastic parts, he builds up smoothly, but like the v3 version, I think it would have been better if he was a tat more `shiney`.

All in all, at 25 euros he wasn`t expensive at all, and now I have the full series of v2 models together...

woensdag 30 juli 2014

The Wolf Among Us episode 4

Well, I finally finished my fourth episode of this awesome series, and am ready now to head into the finale.

The Wolf Among Us is a dark investigator series, based on the Fables comic series.  Your are Bigsby Wolf (aka The Big Bad Wolf) and your looking into the murder of two prostitutes, Lily and Faith.

In this episode, we start off by you being patched up by the doctor after your beating by Bloody Mary at the end of episode 3.  Then your called to your office where `the little mermaid` is waiting for you...

You try to unravel the mysteries and connect the dots about who and where the `Crooked Man` is, and in doing so, you don`t mind breaking a few bones. 

Now, this episode you can seemingly unlock very fable IF you go to the pawnshop first, then the butchers, like I did (by accident) today.

Along your investigations, you promise to help out Beauty and Beast, as well as Johann the Butcher and Toad.  You manage to repair the mirror and find the way to the crooked man`s lair, but only after you defeated the Jersey Devil thanks to... the Woodsman!

But for the most part, this is a `setting up` episode to the grand finale, as a lot of background issues are solved, and you end up at a portal leading to the Crooked Man`s hide-out, in which you are welcomed by Tiny Tim and how he tells you Fabletown needs both good and bad.  And then you walk in and light a smoke as you sit down to talk... and the episode ends.

Now to get to the final part, god I like this series and think it far better then The Walking Dead, but that might be due to the setting.  Anyways, Telltale did a great job on it, and I can`t wait for their take on Game of Thrones!

dinsdag 29 juli 2014

PSN Level 19 reached

I don`t know if I should be proud or should cry, but it took me 8 months to reach this level.

I guess one could say I had a bit of a very big cooldown period after last years Playstation challenge...

But the game I broke the barrier with is the first Skylanders game by finishing it`s storyline.  The Smurf doesn`t intrest himself jack shit in it, as I bought the third one as well, but only played 2 levels in that with... the GF.  So one of these days I`m going to tackle that one as well, as I slowly am getting a taste again for the game. 

Though this is mostly due to the Lego: The Hobbit game now that I started it.

Alongside those, I really am going to play chapters 4 and 5 of the Wolf Amongst Us soon, I love the storyline, but it is that kind of game you want to play when you`re not disturbed to `go in` the story, nor when the kid is around as decapitated Snow White isn`t really suited for an 8 year old.

Well, I might not get to 25 this year, but at least I still hope to platinum all my remaining Lego games and hopefully see how the Walking Dead goes once the GF gets her backlog of in the meantime 3 episodes (what is that, 7 months or so) done...

The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien - Book review

Okay, I admit.  This is the third time I started reading the book, but the first time I actually managed to finish it.

Where The Lord of the Rings isn`t a `simple` book with it`s family trees and references to events in the past, the Silmarillion is even far more complicated and it is advised you go look at the appendix often.

This version is actually the collection of the Unfinished Tales, so apart from the tale of the War of the Jewels, it also contains the stories of how the Valar came to be, how Middle Earth was formed and the sundering between the Elvenkin, the fall of Numenor and the events leading to the Last Alliance, where the Lord of the Rings picks up.

Add to this the heaps of elven names that often change during the course of the tale as characters `from then one became known as...` combined with the original Valar names for places, then to be changed to their elven names, then to go to how Dwarf or Man called it, over the black tongue of Mordor... well, you get the picture.

The first shorter tale in the book details about Iluvatar, Manwe and the other gods in the Middle Earthen pantheon as they created the world (flat!) and the elvenkind.  One of these Valar, Melkor, will become the evil Morgoth and even as early as these days he already went to war but was contained.

Then we go to the evolution of the Elves in the second tale, and how the Silmarils, mighty jewels of incredible beauty, where created, but also how this caused a rift between the Elven kin, resulting in genocide and exile at one point, and then the main story begins.

The Silmarillion itself is all about the history (spanning 1000s of years) of how Morgoth tried to possess and own those mighty stones, and he forges many dark servants to get to this end.  He also uses other powers at his possession, being manipulation, illusion and deceivement, and he goes to war with the Elves to be beaten back and at a high cost is finally, but temporarily, defeated. 
Over the following centuries, he slowly gathers his power together again, in the meantime souring up the bonds between Dwarf and Elf, while influencing the new and young race of Man into largely corrupt rulers, as they covet power and greed above others.  Not only does this result in treachery, but when a big alliance of Dwarf, Elf and Man faces the renewed power of Mordor, part of the human allies turn sides and results in the loss of many elven and dwarven rulers.
But it is in the end the strength of Man that manages to reclaim the jewels from the Dark Lord, and as the Silmarils are divided among their rightfull place of wind, air and fire, on places they cannot ever be recovered, Morgoth is at last defeated and the War of the Jewels ends.

The next tale is the one about Numenor, and now readers of `just` The Lord of the Rings will start recognising names.  As servants of the Elves, the Numenor became mighty among men, but when after more then 20 kings (who back then could live more then 200 years), corruption starts seeping in.  In Morgoth, the dark power has returned in the form of Sauron the Deceiver, trusted Lieutenant of Morgoth and out to free his dark lord from the prison he was put in by the Valar.
To this end, he allows himself to be actually captures by the armies of men, and starts working towards corrupting all and bring them to attack the lands beyond the Sea.
This results in the sundering of Numenor, where the gods strike back before this comes to fruition and reshape the world (now round), causing the lands of Numenor to sink into legend.

The final short tale is the one where we will get to know most names and places from.  Gil-Galad, Isildur, Orhtanc, the Rhovanion... places and names we know from the Lord of the Rings as this is the set up to the battle of the Last Alliance, and the forging of the Rings of Power and the likes.

A simple read?  Not at all, this book requires quit some concentration, referencing to the appendices and it does help one knows LotR as well to get some help from the songs scattered all around in that book.

But I am glad I finally finished it, the tales, though not simple, are exciting on their own if you don`t want to connect the dots between family lines.  We get tales of love, of treachery, of discovery.  Battles with dragons and balrogs, massive fields of blood, and some intresting plot changes.

But one person seems to have been ommited, even though it is said he is as old as the Earth itself...

maandag 28 juli 2014

Culinary Expedition: Hofstraat 24, Antwerp, Belgium

People who know me, know I like `the good life`.  I didn`t get my athletic cathedral of a body (oi, Sumo wrestlers are athletes too!) by a diet of salads and water.  No, I like the better dining experience.

People who know me very well, aslo know I did cooking school, but even though I graduated, it was during that year that my psoriasis broke out on my hands and I could kiss a career in cooking farewell, but that does mean I have some knowledge of `the french cuisine`.

So it was that today, the GF and me went to a restaurant called Hofstraat 24, in well, errm, the Hofstraat in Antwerp.  We had received a `Bistonomie` giftvoucher at out b-day party, and this restaurant offered a lunch menu, so of we went.

The kitchen served there is labelled as `what you see is what you get`, no fancy hankypanky tricksies and such, just pure and decent food... and after the meal, I can only agree.

Located in a historical building near the Grote Markt (the central place of the city of Antwerp), the interior is divided in two.  On the one hand there is a classic interior room with heavy chandeliers and classic paintings, on the other hand a very lightfull glassroofed room with modern art.  We opted for the former.

The lunch selection we could choose from was for the starter either salmon or bellypork, I opted for the pork, the GF for the fish.  Both where exquisite in taste, and i`m pretty sure the salmon was first `cooked` in lemon juice before going under the salamander for a cripsy finish.  My pork was nice and crispy, no hard fatties at all.

Main course wise, we both chose the plaice with fresh tartar, some salad and thick fries.  The other option was rabbit with prumes, but that is more of a wintery dish for myself.  After filetting both mine and her fish, and it was a big piece of fish we both got, we really enjoyed this in essence simple, but very delightfull meal.

For deserts, we took the Creme Brule.  The voucher allowed for coffee or desert, but we just took both, and in all fairness I must say they charged the coffee and not the desert, whom ofc was a bit more expensive then a coffee.

Together with half a liter of sparkling water for the GF, and a Coke Zero for me, we had to pay a grand total of 17 euros due to the voucher, and studying the map outdoors, the plaice was a genuine main dish (normally at 22 euros), while the starters where a bit of stripped down ones from their normally big starters.  So all in all, that voucher is worth around 60 to 70 euros and is more then recommended to get there.

Even without a voucher.

But the only small minus point for me was the coffee.  I like it waaaaaay more stronger hehe, but that is just a matter of taste and not a breaker on this excellent experience at all!

Return of Bionicle

Announced at SDCC, Lego is apparently bringing back the Bionicle theme in 2015.

Bionicle is a series of Lego like Hero Factory, consisting of large constructable `action figures` and had a cartoon running with it during it`s first outing.

Now personally, I`m not to much a fan of the theme as there are not to many parts I can salvage from them to use in builds.  However, it does have an avid fanbase, so it`ll probably have a decent run.

But personally, I`ll be looking the cat out of the tree and if there is an intresting piece for MoCcing, I`ll probably resort to BrickLink for those...

zondag 27 juli 2014

GP Hungary 2014 - no review this time

Irony is a bitch.  I didn`t watch the GP today as it was the birthday of my nephew (in Doctor Who theme, so I gave him a set of Creative Building Doctor Who).

Okay, if I wanted, I could have gotten myself to some other room and watch the grand prix, but with the weather being sunny and me being social for once, I didn`t push it that far.

Of course, a Ferrari has been battling for the lead this GP...

But in the end, it was Daniel Ricciardo who passed Fernando Alonso in the closing stages.  Hamilton, having started from the pits, completed the podium, but more then that, I can`t report today.  Nor will I be able to report on the next GP in belgium, as I`ll be on weekend to the Moesel then, but I promise I`ll be churning out reports after that again.  The reason hamilton started so far back was due to an oil leak putting his car on fire, and as a result a lot had to be changed on the car.

Anyways, here is the result of today`s Grand Prix, but I ain`t going to be nominating drivers and teams, as I didn`t see enough for those kinds of subjective messages.  But of course, it would have been Alonso ;-)

1. Ricciardo - Red Bull Renault
2. Alonso - Ferrari
3. Hamilton - Mercedes

4. Rosberg - Mercedes
5. Massa - Williams Mercedes
6. Raikonnen - Ferrari
7. Vettel - Red Bull Renault
8. Bottas - Williams Mercedes
9. Vergne - Toro Rosso Renault
10. Button - McLaren Mercedes

11. Sutil - Sauber Ferrari
12. Magnussen - McLaren Mercedes
13. Maldonado - Lotus Renault
14. Kvyat - Toro Rosso Renault
15. Bianchi - Marussia Ferrari
16. Chilton - Marussia Ferrari

The Backmarkers

Remember the question I asked last week?  Well, the origin of the Red Bull team was the Stewart F1 team, founded by former world champion Jackie Stewart, and in competition between 1997 and 1999 before being bought out by Ford to become the Jaguar F1 team.

Now, this wasn`t one of those struggling backmarker teams like Virgin or such, but was mildly succesfull as the Ford `manufacturer` team, but the car had a poor reliabilty, even though Barrichello did score a second place podium at Monaco in the team`s maiden year, but those where their only points (only the first 6 back then scored).  In their second season, they where struggling and Magnussen, father of current McLaren driver Kevin, did score his only point before being replaced by Verstappen, but at the end the team totalled only 5 points.

Their final year was the most succesfull with Herbert taking the second car, and he scored the only victory the team managed in the european Grand Prix that year, the team ending 4th in Constructors with 36 points.

But they where oh so gorgeous cars with their Tartan liveries...

Inspirational Lego

Every once in a while, at unequal time intervals, I share some of the great builds I found strolling the internet like forums, Facebook, MOCPages and more (well, I`m just started exploring Flickr, but that will take a while still to get used to).

The first thing to bring to attention is The Battle of The Wither Woods, a project over on Guilds of Historica in which two armies battle it out.  Lego wargaming so to say.

The `players` had opened the project for all to join by sending in troops and war machines, and home brewn rules are used (there ARE wargame rules out there, like BrikWars, something I`ll be looking at in the future when the smurf is old enough for the experience, and do something with him and the nephews, but that is till long way off).

The topic can be found here, and the actual battle report (currently in progress) starts somewhere around page 5.

But I bumped into other great builds along the road, like this Futurama world build

Or on Facebook, this Roman temple was recently shown.

This little build on MoCPages really caught my eye.  Something doesn`t have to be humongous in scale to be lovely, and I loved the angles of the roof, the crow and chimney smoke on this little cabin.

Another awesome build is this middle eastern looking dockside

Autobots, roll out!

A wizard arrives by sloop to his riverside tower

The Fastest Man on Earth, I really like how the builder made the `speed effect` of The Flash

In this build, excavations are undertaken to dig up the treasures of a lost city

Another great (and very flashy) build, as Dorothy is taking the Yellow Brick Road

While someone totally different watches out for us...

These two legend birds from Zelda are greatly executed, I`m still in doubt which one I actually like the most, but I guess it will be the purple one, being all different in colour palette as to what one usually sees.

I choose you Pikachu!

... and companions

Finally, I want to share this TIE fighter in Steampunk style, a theme getting more and more attention in Lego, and a book about the topic has recently been released (and is on my Amazon watch list).

To round of this set of pictures, this was shared on the Lego group on Facebook this morning.  That must be about a MOC`cers dream to have such space available for use.

Well, until the next time, may all your bricky ideas come to fruition!

zaterdag 26 juli 2014

Lego Series 12 revealed

Based on the MMO Minifigures Online, the series 12 of Lego Collectable Minifigures has been released at the fullest.

Now, all the characters play `a role` in one of the worlds of Minifigures Online, with the `Video Gamer Guy` being the world as a whole.  Well, that might have sounded complicated, but think of Video Gamer Guy as the narrator and each of the others as the quest givers.

Or at least that is the intention, as so far in Open beta only three worlds have been opened yet, with the next in the pipeline being the Greek world.

The models are planned to be released together with the official version of the game, October 2014, and I must say it has quit a few intresting models I will be hunting after for my MoC`s.  If budget allows, I might even get me a box this time of the series.

Of course, I`ll be getting one copy of the Video Gamer Guy, being like well, a gamer of sorts.  Going left to right, top row first, other models that definitly intrest me:

The Joker, I`ll need at last one of those.
The Princess, always nice to have one or two additional female medieval models in the collection
The Spooky Goth Girl, just one, as I like the look and monocolor
The Mongol, I`ll have a dozen of these please
The female Djinni, one of those so I can build some oriental thingie
The Wizard, a single one
Greek Goddess, a Lego Athena, this one is my priority one target (like Lincoln was in the movie) so I can build something specially around her.

All in all an intresting mix, though it contains only one true `rank and file` miniature with the Mongol Warrior, meaning I`ll be trading for myself for 7 out of the 16 miniatures, but only one will be aimed as a multiple to get model.

The Plan - Week 24

Good game time, good game time has been put in this week.

With temperatures this week climbing to the 25 mark... at night, which makes it way to hot to sleep for me, I managed to put in some hours after dark.

But unfortunatly, once more I couldn`t get myself over to playing WoW.  I just wanted to hang or sit back and don`t have to manage to many things at once, so I have been playing Lego: The Hobbit mostly on my Vita, now having completed the basic storyline mode and starting the clean up build towards platinum.  Which is still a long way off as I`m at 35% completion at the moment, but we`re getting there.

What I did play this week is a bit of Minifigures Online, now having maxed out and currently top-levelled to 20 my `main` Striker character, the Tomahawk Warrior.  I`m running the lower worlds and dungeons now to on the one hand gather those stars to level my Defender, the Heroic Knight, to maximum, while hopefully finding a polybag along the way with a cool Creativist in it, as I only have the plumber and interior decorator for now, but hope to get the Tarrot Card Reader or Mr Good and Evil or such for my team.

For the coming week, I don`t have to many plans for gaming, as it will be once more a rather busy week, and I have to slowly start preparing and testing my Magic deck for GP Utrecht, so priority will be shifting in that direction.

vrijdag 25 juli 2014

Some small but nice finds

Today, I went with the GF, my parents, their friends and their family to a yearly event called `De Krabbenfoor` in the dutch village of Bergen-op-Zoom.

This is the first time I went there (for the festival, I went there a lot already for noral clothes shopping etc, being only half an hour drive from Antwerp), but my mum told me we should join, as it has a lot of traditional stalls and the likes.

Of course, I couldn`t leave Holland without buying a small cheese ball, this time with mustardgrains in it, but what is more, I did find some nice and small, and very cheap Lego items.

The first was in a `dump stall` of strips, comics and the likes, the dutch version of the Harry Potter book WITH the minifigure, for only 5 euros.  I`m not that big into Lego harry potter, and since I didn`t even see all the movies, my knowledge comes mostly from the Lego games.  And from the Smurf, who is totally crazy about it.  He already had this book, so I thought I`d take it along for my own.  As well as some Michel Vaillant strips.

The second one was the smaller set from The Lone Ranger, the one with the blueshirts in it.  Costing me only 7 euros new and sealed, this is a nice small set I wanted to add to my collection (mostly for the US troops) but never got to it during it`s production run.

So all in all, I only spend 12 euros on Lego, but it where some very nice finds.