Monthly Archives: May 2011


Diamond Select Halo Minimates
Halo Warthog
Minimates Scale(?)
By: Art Asylum/DST
$10 at TRU, 10-15 bucks online

I don’t know what the relationship is exactly between DST and Art Asylum, I’m pretty sure the former owns the latter. Regardless, every time I pick up a minimate, I invariably want to pick up a host of others. With their tiny, easily collectible size and very affordable price tag, DST has a veritable golden goose that just keeps crankin’ them eggs.

Recently, they began making vehicles for their miniscule masters of awesomery under their “M.A.X.” line, packing one figure with a perfectly chibi-ized version fo whatever is their main mode of transportation. Being an old-school fan of the Warthog from Halo, you can bet this was on my list, sucka.

If you don’t know what a minimate is, interject your own self-deprecating insult and read the wiki. I mean damn, son.

Aesthetics:


The big hullabaloo about minimates is seeing just how DST interprets your favorite characters. They all pretty much use the same or similar base and add a bit here or there to make them unique. With Halo, holy crap did they go all out. New parts? Helmet, chestpiece, pauldrons, codpiece, thigh-pieces (greaves?), gauntlets, and boots. All of it put together, this generic Spartan looks straight baller. That’s my word this week. Baller.


The paint on this guy is good and thick, but applied well and evenly, such that all the details of the armor are still easy to make out. I would have been fine if they painted on a few details here or there, but DST really went that extra mile and sculpted all the little panel lines and plates to make this really stand out from the other figures and even the other minimates on your shelves. The gun is sculpted with equal attention to detail and is held wonderfully in either of the little guy’s hands.

But come on, you didn’t come to see the driver, did you? Ka-chow!


You’re golldern right I used a Cars reference, I just don’t give a frak. The only 4×4 for all your Covenant-slaying needs, the warthog is just… it’s just… well come on dude it’s a minimates warthog! Do you know how baller that is? Look at it!


The turret, the cockpit, everything looks fantastic at this scale. The paint on the vehicle is just as clean as the figure, with straight lines and the slightest amount of wear on the tires for that rugged look Halo fans have come to love. The palette is simple mind you, but works perfectly with the scale and style.


They didn’t need to, but they even went as far as detailing the bottom of the car with a lovely symmetrical rivet and panel design, so if you want to buy a few and feature that classic flipped ‘hog from where you didn’t brake around that last turn and hit a paperclip and 120 MPH sending you into a aerial spiral of shame and expletives. Slow down, dude.


The figure fits in the cockpit or gun just fine, though you may need to squeeze his legs a tad to get him to fit into the pilot’s seat. For some reason my minimates always seem to have loose right knees, so occasionally I go into a fit of berserker rage trying to keep them straight enough to get him to squat in. But I’m sure that’s just me. Probably.

Articulation:
Well if it ain’t broke…


Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see swivel-hinges on this whole line, but especially in a format where the brand name is the thing itself, you gotta stick with what works.

Generic Halo Spartan 119 (who shall heretofore be known as “Carl” because I don’t know any dudes named Carl and Carl Weathers was in Predator, which is one of only two movies every man MUST watch if he ever sees it on TV no matter where it’s at in the movie) features ball and socket joints in the neck, shoulders, and hips, hinges in the elbows and knees, and swivels at the waist and wrists. Traditionally minimates also have swivel ankles, but because the boots are knee-high they don’t allow for any movement.


You’re not going to get a whole lot of poseability out of the articulation setup, but it’s a little better than you might think. The neck is of course hindered by the new chest piece and has very little up/down or side tilt, but the balls in the shoulders and hips do allow for some small amount of rotation—just enough to tweak the look, but it’s something.

Surprisingly, the armor doesn’t hinder articulation at all in the shoulders or hips. I fully expected these add-on pieces to limit the hips especially, but they work just as well as any other minimate I own.


The warthog spins quite freely at all 4 wheels and the turret features a swivel base and a hinge where the gun meets the support arm. It’s not much, but it allows you to angle it so that it looks like the other Mini is really holding onto the weapon instead of just attached to it. The bullet chain is rather stiff though, so don’t expect that you’ll get more than a little tilt on that axis.

Value:
I snagged this at my local TRU for about 9.99. A normal minimate 2-pack is usually around 7 to 8 bucks alone, so for Carl to feature an accessory and a vehicle also, it feels to me like quite a good deal.


Left to Right: McFarlane 5-inch, Minimates, Mega Bloks, McFarlane Non-scale

Size-wise, it’s comparable to the Mega Bloks version, and is about a third the length of the full size version from McToys. If you’ve been assembling the members of Noble Team, then you can see that you can fit three Spartans to a hog.


Luckily, soon DST will be releasing the Rocket Hog. Six members of Noble Team, 6 seats in them hogs. Coincidence? Probably. But you can bet your sweet little tuckus that I’ll be picking one up if it sticks to this price point. Carl can stay and guard the base.


Score Recap:
Aesthetics: Adults: 9, Kids: 10
Articulation: Adults: 7, Kids: 10
Value: Adults/Kids: 10
Overall: Adults: 8.7, Kids: 10

If you’re a Halo or minimates fan, then this toy is right up your alley. It’s small enough to fit on a desk, tough enough for some fun play, presentation is baller, and one-third the cost of the McFarlane version which does not include a figure. Solid buy for adult collectors and kids alike. Here is a friendly warning, though: if you do not collect minimates and are on a budget, you may not wish to start. I assure you, it only takes one of these fun little pocket toys to get you hooked.


Thanks for reading and as always, it’s just a toy. Open the darned thing.

…Baller.


Mighty World
Ken’s Kayak Adventure
3” Scale
By: Titan Works
$4.99 at Tuesday Morning

I keep finding myself drawn back to Tuesday Morning and back to the toy section where there are literally piles of Mighty World play sets. It seems like every time I’m there I find a hidden gem of a set that I never even knew existed, hidden behind that Police Ambulance, tucked under the Construction Team and waiting for me.

On my last visit I stumbled onto Ken and his Kayak mixed in with a bunch of Prince of Persia figures and hiding behind a Tron airplane thing. I’d never seen the KKA box before so I don’t know if it was a new arrival or if I just missed the tiny orange box every time I foraged for toys before. Either way, I knew Ken, his kayak and his tiny cans of beans and soup were coming home with me and, eventually, to you.

Packaging:
Ken is all wrapped up in a fairly tiny orange box in the same style of the majority of the Mighty World toys that I’ve run into. The box shows Ken expertly navigating treacherous rapids and tracking some kind of wild animal through the woods, perhaps he’s on the trail of the elusive Jersey Devil or a Sasquatch (great, now I need Mighty World Cryptids).


An interesting thing I noticed while out looking at these toys is that the packaging is FAR from consistent on them. Some of the same figures come packaged in both a plastic blister card and a cardboard box in the same store while some of the bigger vehicle sets show up with and without a clear window showing off the figures. I’m not sure what this means, but I found it intriguing.

Sculpt:
Ken is sculpted with a lot of detail all over his clothing. He’s wearing a long sleeve shirt to ward off bites and a many-pocketed vest up top along with cargo pants and some serious looking boots on the bottom. His entire outfit is painted beautifully right down to the buttons on his shirt. There’s even a nice weathered paint wash over the vest, you can be sure that Ken has been all over the place in it.


Ken’s head and hands are cast in a peach color that may be a little too light for someone supposedly out in the woods all the time. His face is painted on with one upraised eyebrow, it’s a good look for someone who resembles Indiana Jones, and he comes off as very cocky and sure of himself.


Paint overall is very good, clean and precise. I continue to be amazed at the obvious care and attention to detail shown on these little figures! That said, my Ken figure came with 2 right hands installed. This is the first time I have run into a quality control problem with any of these figures and while it doesn’t inhibit his ability to hold things I have to admit I was extremely let down to find my first fault in a Mighty World product.


Articulation:
Ken shares the same articulation with all 3 of the previous Mighty World figures I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing. He can turn his head left and right, lift and lower his arms and legs as well as swivel his wrists. These minimal joints don’t give him a ton of options when being posed but they serve the purpose of letting him sit in the kayak and use his gear nicely.


Accessories:
Here’s where the real fun begins!


Ken comes with his titular kayak as well as a gaggle of small pieces to make his travel easier. Included is a nicely printed paper map, 1 can of soup, 1 can of beans, a machete, a flashlight, a grappling hook, a walkie talkie, a gray briefcase that opens, a big brown duffel bag and an oar. On top of the gear, Ken gets an extra hat-less hair piece to wear when it gets hot. It’s really impressive how many tiny, sculpted pieces come in a set this small and inexpensive.


The oar surprised me by being offset like a real oar would be rather than simply having both sections facing the same way. I also had a lot of fun posing him with the machete but, if we’re being honest, it wasn’t until I saw the tiny cans of food that I was positive I had to bring this set home.

The kayak is mostly a solid tan color that matches the handle of the oar it has a seat sculpted into it that fits Ken’s non-butt very well and it feels very sturdy. There are really nice bands of grayish paint washed over the sections that give the kayak a bit of a tiger striped look, could this be the start of the Mighty World Tiger Force? I can’t even tell you how excited I just got typing that, it’s really embarrassing actually.

Value:
The MSRP for Ken’s Kayak Adventure is $9.99, about the cost of a Deluxe Transformer or a G.I. Joe Deluxe figure with a small vehicle. He provides about the same amount of play as the Transformer but significantly more than a single G.I. Joe with vehicle.


The accessories alone provide you with a lot of interesting options for play. Most of them would work nicely with any figure in a similar scale and the cartoony proportions can allow some of them to cross over and be used with bigger figures. Much like the traffic cones from the Haz Mat Team I’ve found the soup and beans cans endlessly entertaining!

If you can find this set at a discount store like I did it feels practically criminal to leave it on the shelf for $4.99. The whole thing is made with care and attention to detail and feels like it will last for a very long time even under somewhat strenuous play.

Summary:
The Mighty World play sets and figures have been a joy to explore, play with and write about. Ken’s Kayak Adventure, while small, is full of all kinds of interesting possibilities that kids, their parents and silly man-boys like myself will definitely enjoy.

While the discovery of the wrong hand on Ken’s left side was a disappointment for me both because I now own a flawed toy and have found a blemish on the Mighty World toys glowing surface it isn’t any reason to steer clear of this item or of any other Mighty World set.


I can’t wait to get back to Tuesday Morning to see if they’ve gotten in any other Mighty World sets for me to look at and I encourage you to seek out a local retailer that carries these guys. Check out the website at www.mightyworld.com to peruse their gallery of other sets and if any of them seem interesting you can actually order them there. As for Ken, his kayak and the pile of gear he comes with I loved them and I recommend them to anyone.


Space 1999
Number 8
8 Inch Scale
By: Classic TV Toys
$5.00

Space 1999 is a quirky, not particularly revered British sci-fi show from the legendary Gerry Anderson. It involves some rather wonky science, but is a fun show if you’re into a somewhat campy space adventure that’s not Star Trek. Palitoy, the UK wing of Mego produced a series of five figures that were fairly well received. In the US however, Mattel had the toy line. When Classic TV Toys (CTVT) took off into the reto market at the turn of the century, Space 1999 is the line they seemed to focus the most on.

CTVT not only reproduced nearly all of the old figures (except Commander Koenig, played by Martin Landau, who apparently did not want to sign off?!) but also produced several series more. It is far and away the most elaborate series that CTVT produced. Number 8 is one of the few characters who isn’t just a guy in a spacesuit. He’s a servant for the race of “human” robots, who are looking to learn the emotion that will allow them to kill. Number 8 is one of many “numbers”, but he chooses to help the Space 1999 crew (Alphans) against the androids. Perfect for an action figure!

Packaging:
The cards are pretty nice and have some great graphics on them. Of all the CTVT cards, these are probably the nicest. Of course the plastic and cardboard are both, very cheap… But the overall premise is nice enough.


The back of the cards show off all the other figures on it. It has a Star Wars vibe to me, but perhaps it’s just me. Of course there were also a few other variants produced that aren’t listed here, but this is pretty much the rundown of the series.

Sculpt:
Mego sculpts in general aren’t very good, but Palitoy’s original work with Space 1999 was a cut above most Mego fare. Such is the case with CTVT’s take on the line as well.


The face has a little bit of paint rubbing on the hair and feels quite rubbery, but that’s par for the course with most CTVT stuff. They made their toys particularly cheap, but given that you can purchase them for very little, it more or less evens out. The face sculpt is good enough that it could work for a variety of old guys.


The sculpt has a pretty good likeness of character actor, Geoffrey Bayldon. It’s not perfect, it’s not Hot Toys, but it’s not the worst I’ve ever seen either. Considering it’s CTVT, this is a nice sculpt. I assume they paid for the likeness rights as well… Which is always a good thing.


The outfit is very nice. In fact it might be the nicest Mego outfit I’ve had my hands on. It’s made of a very thick material and fits over the character well. The hood is large and fits fairly close to where it did on the actor in the Space 1999 TV show. The “8” sticker is a joke though. While it’s hanging on in these pictures, a small amount of wind, even a fart, would knock it off. It’s less of a sticker and more of a piece of paper held on by static electricity. It doesn’t bother me much cause the sticker adds very little to the overall presentation, but your mileage may vary.


There are a few loose strings here or there, but they could be snipped with scissors. It doesn’t feel like it’s going to unravel or anything. The hands are a special gold plastic, giving the illusion of gloves. It’s pretty sweet. The boots (which are removable) are the same gold color. They appear to be a bit thicker and of nicer quality that the other CTVT boots I have.


Underneath the costume is a fairly pale body. It’s nothing to write home about, but is on par with the rest of CTVT’s Mego-like bodies. You either like it or you don’t. It’s clearly not the best body out there in this scale… But it’s probably better than Mattel’s recent crack at it.


Sometimes a Mego figure will have a head sculpt that’s a little too big. However, CTVT, in the Space 1999 line in particular, had a real issue with this. Number 8’s head sculpt is gargantuan in comparison to his body. As well, he’ll look a bit big headed next to some of the other Space 1999 figures. Mostly the repro figures have small heads and the new additions to the line have big heads.

Articulation:
Mego and Mego clones tend to have a decent amount of articulation. The one area that they’re really lacking is a swivel joint for the arm. Of course, ball joined heads and thigh swivels would help as well. You can pretty much tell the articulation breakdown from the “naked” photos above.


Number 8 seems a bit stiff to me though. Perhaps because the rubber band inside him that holds him together is a bit tight? His outfit also doesn’t exactly allow for a ton of posing, because it’s of a thicker material. Still, he can stand up on his own. That’s gotta count for something.

Accessories:
Megos need accessories. It’s my philosophy.


All he gets is his scary mask. It’s way too big, but it fits on him well enough. I can’t really complain because they needed it to be big to cover his gigantic noggin.

Value:
In this market, $5.00 for just about any toy is a good value. However, in the interest of full disclosure, shortly after I took the pictures for this review, while trying to remove the outfit on Number 8, his body broke into a million pieces. Well actually, his internal rubber band snapped. He can be restrung with a little effort (there are guides on the internet) but I haven’t bothered. If you like these guys and don’t mind a potential need to be restrung, then $5.00 is a pretty good value.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 6
Sculpting – 6
Articulation – 6
Accessories – Mask
Value – 5
Overall – 6 out of 10

This figure is nothing special. He’s par for the course with Classic TV Toys. Do you want a little bit of Mego fodder? Then these guys are for you. It’s always a roll of the dice with these toys. Sometimes they’re fairly sturdy and hold up well. Sometimes they break apart. It’s best to see them as potential toys to put on better bodies… But you might score one that’s perfectly fine as is.

I’ve reviewed a couple other Space 1999 figures from this line. One broke apart at the ankles and the other is perfect. You can check out those reviews here:

Space 1999: Sandra Benes Review
Space 1999: David Kano Review


Earlier this month I announced a Freschetta inspired pizza and cutting board giveaway. Originally I had planned to end the contest this past week, but I have decided to extend the deadline a couple of days. We’ve already got a few entries, but I’d like a few more… So now’s your chance to win a free coupon to get a pizza and a cutting board! This is your LAST CHANCE to win! So act now!

Simply EMAIL ME with a picture of my favorite pizza lovin’ terrapins, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! It can be of any Ninja Turtles character.

It can be a picture of a toy, a t-shirt, your Halloween costume, a drawing, whatever. The only rule is that it must be YOUR picture, not one you found on the internet. So get out the camera, the crayons, whatever and get those pictures sent in.

FREE PIZZA! That easy! COWABUNGA DUDE!

Contest Ends: May 31st and all photos sent are sent under the knowledge that they will be reposted here.

Eligible in the 48 continental United States only.

Note: Viacom, Nickelodeon and any rights holders to the TMNT, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, have no sponsorship or affiliation with this contest. I love pizza as well as the turtles and thought the two would be a good fit for this contest.



Hey guys check out the latest toy run, featuring Green Lantern, GI Joe, Captain America and much more. It’s a Walmart bonanza! Also don’t forget you can follow FreddyTV on YouTube for more crazy stuff from the world of Fred.