Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kotobukiya's Marvel Bishoujo Black Cat

It's been awhile since I last posted an entry here and almost totally forgotten about it. I then uploaded a picture in our local forum and was asked by a colleague when I would update this blog (thank you for reminding me).

Congratulations to Jon for scoring another great piece from Kotobukiya. You need a bigger office for your toys buddy! =D

Anyways, like all of their Bishoujo figures, it has the trademark design by Shunya Yamashita and features sexy versions of our beloved heroines and villainess. For those who don’t know, Black Cat (aka Felicia Hardy) is a cross between a heroine and villainess. She is also one of the most beautiful characters in the Marvel universe in my opinion.

Koto’s press release (from their website) indicates a retail price of $59.99.

PhoTOYgrapher’s Perspective:

Since this is a borrowed toy I could only do so much without accidentally scratching or doing something that would let me buy Jon a new one.

My personal opinion is that her face looks too cartoonish as compared to the other Bishoujo figures. I like how she was posed and the Spiderman base is a PERFECT addition in my book. Once you look at the picture you are immediately drawn to the red base then back up to the figure.

I basically used Rim lighting here (as I do in a lot my toy shoots) and added 2 mirrors to give some reflection to the figure. A single 400 watts light with an octagonal softbox was placed behind the figure. A piece of black and gray background was placed on top of the softbox hence the gradual effect. 

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Juggernaut by FBS

When I first read about Juggernaut I was intrigued with this character. He is someone who can go head to head with the likes of Hulk, Thing and the X-Men and would often surprise his adversaries. Immediately thoughts came to my mind like what if he goes against my favorite Superman or how we would fare against the Blob. Years ago I remember reading in a comic book a line that says something like, what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?

That was never answered as far as I can remember. It would be a good theory to test using Juggernaut as the unstoppable force and Blob as the immovable object.

Anyways, I’ve been fascinated with Juggernaut figures from the Marvel Legends line and some statues that were loaned to me for pictorial and one such statue is Juggy made by FBS, a local group here who caters to custom made statues.

FBS’ version of Juggernaut is part of a diorama where he is running towards the other guy (Colossus). If you notice the base is just a portion of the dio which when attached with the Colossus piece gives us a battle scene.

Juggernaut is quite huge (1/4th scale, more than 15 inches tall), the sculpture and details were executed well. For those interested with this statue you can send me a PM for pricing details and I will refer you to the seller.

PhoTOYgrapher's Perspective:
I used to photographed action figures a lot then started with 12inch or so statues. Now they are getting bigger and bigger. Like I mentioned above, the details were greatly done and the paint job is comic book accurate. 
The main difference between a statue and an action figure is pose ability. With a statue what you see is what you get so a couple of things should come to mind when doing a pictorial of statues.
You can bring this statue outdoor but be prepared to get stared at by bystanders (I'm used to this), some even touching it. Lighting and angle of shooting are also factors since you want to emphasized his massive body. I did several shots of Juggernaut since he is in a running pose, I wanted to get the right angle of him running towards me. Finally after several minutes (and clicks) I finally got the shot I wanted. I added a bit of radial blur to create a picture of Juggernaut running towards me.
For the pictures above with the black background here is a picture of how it was done.
*Note: There was a slight tweaking done to make the background solid black. My current setup does not have a big black solid background so I had to make the best of what I have.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

JLED's Pico and Wilshire

I love everything that JLED (Joe Ledbetter) releases. Let’s see there’s the Bunny line, Firecat and Icecat, Smash line, Ringo line, etc. It is sad that I was not able to get my hands on his early releases so all I can do is drool at my friend’s collection. His latest release courtesy of the Loyal Subjects is also something to drool about.

JLED’s known for his cartoonish approach with his creations and his trademark black mark outline is the finishing touch. I am fond of his creations because they don’t look weird or horror-like unlike some of the others and also because they are so cute.

His latest release, Pico (approx. 6”) and Wilshire (approx. 12”), has that same JLED trademark black mark outline and cartoonish approach. It has limited edition release of 415 pieces and retails for about $ 160.00. My brother got this piece (with shipping) about $ 212.00.

PhoTOYgrapher’s Perspective:
Similar to what I wrote before vinyls are harder for me to photograph because they don’t have articulations or flexibility in movements. I admire those creative geniuses like Brian McCarty who can pull it off in every single photo that he takes.

Unlike action figures or statues, which I can play with lights and shadows, it is a bit of a challenge with vinyl toys for me. I basically did an outdoor shoot with Pico and Wilshire, ambient lighting and all. It’s more of giving it more depth (bokeh) to let it stand out in the picture. Maybe if we have snow here in the Philippines I could mimic a scene from the Ice Age. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kotobukiya's DC Bishoujo Batgirl

It’s been awhile now since I got my hands on a Bishoujo from Kotobukiya. My friend Jon recently bought 2, Marvel’s White Queen and DC’s Batgirl. I might have to borrow the White Queen again because I trashed all my shots except one.

Anyways, since Koto has been producing several Marvel beauties lately they finally get to portray the DC beauties for us comic/toy lovers to enjoy.

First up is Batgirl, “first appeared in 1967, the alter ego of Gotham City police commissioner’s daughter Barbara Gordon. Brilliant and courageous, Batgirl helped defend the good citizens of Gotham City alongside her mentor Batman.” – taken from Kotobukiya’s site.

I was never a fan but grew fond of her when she had the black outfit in the comic line. She’s gorgeous and yet deadly. Batgirl is approximately 9 inches tall (1/7th scale) and I don’t know why it has a different scale from the Marvel line.

Koto’s press release (from their website) indicates a retail price of $59.99. I was not able to ask Jon how much he got this for in the local store.

PhoTOYgrapher’s Perspective:
I’ve always been fond of Batman when it comes to toy shoots because my style fits his character perfectly (rim lighting, light painting, etc.) so it’s no wonder that Batgirl would be given the same treatment as her mentor.

Since this is a borrowed toy I try my best to be careful and return it as soon as possible to Jon.

I have to say that for a 1st DC project by Koto I am not that satisfied with it. Black Widow’s a lot better than this figure. There is something wrong with how it was posed. Whether this was taken from a comic cover or page she feels awkward to me.

With the Marvel line their poses scream ‘sexy’ and yet deadly but with Batgirl I think she is trying hard to be both.

The gargoyle could have been a bit bigger to give a better scaling against Batgirl. I am talking from a PhoTOYgrapher’s point of view so collectors might not mind mini gargoyle.

Also I would prefer a 1/8th scale similar to the Marvel line for display purposes. Aside from the pose and scaling the figure makes good practice for lighting. A lot of shadows can be created because of her cape.

I used rim lighting here with just one light and a mirror to reflect some of the light back to her body.

Friday, January 21, 2011

NBA Collector Series 1 by Mindstyle

Happy New 2011 Year!

I have been so busy for the past 2 months that I have neglected to update this site of mine. Because of things that I want to accomplished this 2011 (as well have our New Year’s resolutions) I will probably have less frequency to update this site. However I will do my best to put something new every now and then.

First of I would like to thank my friend Frederick of Mindstyle Philippines for loaning me these cool figures of the NBA superstars.

In collaboration with Cool Rain Studio and Nike, Mindstyle Ph is proud to announce a new line of vinyl toys for us basketball fans, NBA Collector Series 1. The official release of these figures is still uncertain for now.

There are 10 figures in series 1 – Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Dwayne Wade, Manu Ginobili, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitski, Derek Rose, Brandon Roy, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. In addition there are variants and chase figures (check out the black Kobe) included in each box.

If you are a McFarlane collector then this is a different treatment of the NBA players, where the former is more realistic while the latter has a more cartoonish approach.

Each figure comes with a basketball and several pairs of interchangeable hands for your creative minds.  Each figure is approximately 5 inches tall and suited up with their respective team jersey.

PhoTOYgrapher's Perspective:

The only movable parts here are the head, arms and hands. The poses are limited so it is up to your creative mind on how to project a good picture with these figures. I find it harder to shoot these types of collectibles rather than action figures because of posing them. Go to Brian McCarty's site ( and you will be inspired with what you can do with your vinyls.

I am still waiting for Mindstyle to loan me the figures so I can upload them here so for now all I have are Roy and Stoudemire. 

Enjoy! =D

Friday, October 22, 2010

Series 2 Collectable Mini Figures (Part 2) by LEGO

Well here we go again!

Around 3 months ago I was lucky enough to complete Lego’s mini figs series 1 thanks to my brother who completed it for me. About a month or so ago we he found out that series 2 was already out so he did his usual way of getting the items. However he only completed half of the series so he decided to use his other resource – friend.

After some help from his Singapore based friend we were able to finally complete two sets of Lego’s series 2. The characters were as cute as the ones from the first series and the third one is already scheduled for release soon (disaster for our wallets).

PhoTOYgrapher’s Perspective:
I have several colleagues who take AWESOME photos of Lego stuffs and once you check out their pictures you will definitely be inspired.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Iron Man Mark VI Maquette by Sideshow Collectibles

With so many Iron Man merchandises coming out (kudos to the success of the 2 movies), it's no wonder companies are trying to outdo each other producing quality collectibles. Sideshow Collectibles, a huge company known for its extensive line of Marvel based statues, recently released (IMHO) the best Iron Man statue to date – Iron Man: Mark VI maquette.

When I first took a photo of Jon’s Iron Man Comicquette (still on my wish list), I kept telling him how much I love the statue. The Granov signature smashing the ground pose gave it a huge impact and the exclusive version came with an interchangeable head of Tony Stark. It was a blast and up to this day (it’s been more than a year or two) I still dream of having one.

When I first saw pictures of the Mark VI maquette from Sideshow’s website, I immediately said to myself, this is the best Iron Man statue to date. The resemblance to its movie counterpart is uncanny. I have seen (and photographed) several variants of Iron Man from classic, stealth, modern, extremis, etc. and they are all good with their designs. However, I so much love how they made him in the movie and this Mark VI totally blew me away!

The statue is at approximately 17 inches tall and comes with a base that when connected to the Mark VI lights up his eyes, chest and hands (via a power switch).

Sideshow Collectibles is selling this piece for $489.99 but the item is already sold out. You will be on the wait list if you decide to purchase from their site.

PhoTOYgrapher’s Perspective:
My tabletop setup works best for figures that are 15 inches, or less in height so I had to improvise on the background that I used. I also used a regular table instead of my Falcon Eyes one to have a more stable support for the 1/4th scale statue.
A lot of possibilities entered my mind when I was taking pictures of the Mark VI. There was the dry ice effect (which Bleau already did with his BD Mark III, or maybe bring him on a dark alley with a single spot light place on top and use the dry ice there. Then again I would probably need to hire bodyguards to ward off nosy bystanders. Also the fact that this statue is not mine is another thing to be concerned with.

I did the usual rim lighting that I do, which I think worked really well for Mark VI. After several ‘catalog’ shots I decided to see how it would turn out by using just one light.
You can also flip the switch at the back of the base and be stunned when his eyes, hands and chest lights up. The base can be operated by 3 AAA batteries or a power supply (included).

Lighting Setup:
For this experiment I used a Union 4 Rime light 400 watts fitted with a bowl and 2 rectangular mirrors. I took one shot with just the Rime light and a couple of shots after using 1 mirror first then finally 2 mirrors.
As you can see from the 2 succeeding photos, the first one was just the Rime light while mirrors were added on the second one. By turning on the modeling light of the strobe and placing the mirror opposite it, I can see where the highlights will hit before I press the shutter. If you examine the left leg and upper torso carefully you will notice the difference. The other mirror was pointed towards the right leg.