Monthly Archives: January 2012


Mechtorians Series 1
Mr. Head
3 Inch Scale
By: Mindstyle (Doktor A)
$14.99

Today we’re taking another look at some designer vinyl. The world of designer vinyl is an interesting side market of toy collecting. These toys tend to be high end (very expensive) and yet are often relatively cheap as well (via blind bags, etc) and there are many different tiers for collectors. Perhaps the most interesting part about designer vinyl toy collectors is that they’re often not “traditional” toy collectors, although some certainly are.

The moral of this story is that the market for designer vinyl is different than the traditional toy market. What makes a good vinyl toy good is not the same as what makes a regular toy good. It’s tough to discern for some folks and it was something I struggled with for a while. Doktor A’s Mechtorians line immediately spoke to me though, as the designs were very cool and I just had to have a couple.

Mr. Head

Philosopher and thinker extraordinare. Responsible for the big ideas in Retropolis. Advisor to royalty, big business and the lay-mech alike. His thoughts are wonderful, colourful and huge in scope. Though he is a tad forgetful and so makes endless reams of unintelligible notes on napkins and envelopes. Not a great dinner guest as he tends to mutter to himself constantly.

Let’s learn more about Mr. Head and the amazing retrobotic world of the Mechtorians! Continue reading


Thundercats Classics
Lion-O
6 Inch Scale
By: Bandai
$14.99

I am not the biggest Thundercats fan. It’s a property that I liked, but didn’t love. It ranks below things like Inhumanoids and Centurions for me. When Bandai announced it was doing a classic Thundercats revamp, I was so-so on the project. If the figures looked cool, I might pick a couple up. That was my philosphy. To date I’ve watched absolutely zero episodes of the new cartoon. When the first exclusives hit, I liked them, but not enough to pay the prices. Plus the figures were in an odd 8 inch scale, which didn’t bother me much, but didn’t entice me either.


A few months later, Bandai decided that 8 inch wasn’t the way to go and changed the scale to 6 inch. They also gave Lion-O a new head. I still wasn’t too interested, even though the figures looked pretty good. But low and behold, I keep seeing these figures in Target. Eventually, they beat down my resistance and I picked up a couple. There’s just something inherently great about seeing old school toy properties reinvented in the toy aisle.


As a kid, I liked Thundercats well enough, I had a few figures and I watched the show… But there wasn’t enough nostalgia to make me order these things online. Seeing them in store for a decent price is another matter entirely and that’s why you’re getting this review today.

Packaging:
The packages are pretty bland and not very aesthetically pleasing, especially in comparison to something like Masters of the Universe Classics, to which this line is most closely compared. There is a tiny bit of classic toon art, or at least a picture that looks to be ripped from the cartoon, but it’s nothing fancy. In what is a bit of a recurring theme with this line, the package is more utilitarian than collector designed.


Bandai is clearly trying to target not just old guys in their 30’s with this figure, but also kids. In fact they may be more interested in the latter and just hope to catch some of the former. This has the multilingual card as well so that Bandai doesn’t have to offer up different cards for different markets.

I do like that they show off the other figures not only in this line, but the modern Thundercats line as well. That’s a smart strategy to capture the attention of folks who might not know these figures are out there. I also find that the package is collector friendly in the sense that it can be resealed and the figure can be removed without destroying the container. That’s a positive that I wish MOTUC had.

Sculpt/Paint:
Putting aside the new head sculpt, this figure is for all intents and purposes a smaller version of the previous 8 inch figure. The good news for Thundercats fans is that this is instantly recognizable as Lion-O and looks really impressive. I didn’t pull out my old Lion-Os (I have two) but it definitely conjures up a ton of memories of them.


Instantly you feel as though this is what LJN would have tried to do with this line, had Acclaim not killed them in the 90’s. The sculpt is sleek, modern and not as clumsy as the old figures, but yet still retains the bright colors and overall feel of the classic line. It’s a nice mixture of both new and old vibes.


Turn him around though and you’ll find one of the biggest weakenesses of Bandai’s American divisions. They just don’t care as much as Bandai Japan and they let you know that these are toys, with cost cutting measures like big screws in the back. One screw might get a pass, but this is a half dozen. I’d rake Mattel over the coals for this, so I’m damn sure going to call Bandai out for it too.


Even when just posing him, the screws tend to show up. It doesn’t bother me THAT much to be honest, but it’s a bit of an eyesore. I know Bandai can avoid this if they tried. The same could be said for the ankle joints, which are cast in a orange-yellow color instead of a blue color. It’s just inexcusable, because if these joints were blue they would blend in seamlessly.


When Bandai unveiled the 6 inch line, I absolutely hated the new head sculpt. It looked so stupid to me. Pictures are strange, because in person it doesn’t bother me near as much as it does looking at it in high quality photos. I still prefer the more stoic first head sculpt, but this one isn’t terrible I guess.


When Bandai decided to relaunch their brand new line in the 6 inch scale, many fans immediately thought (and hoped) that what Bandai really meant was the toys were going to be scaled around 7 inches to fit in with the MOTUC line. Sadly that is not the case and these figures are pretty much a true 6 inches. Whether you imagine these guys as smaller or not, is up to you.


I am not a huge scale Nazi and given that many lines are called 6 inch or 3 3/4 and end up being varying heights, I don’t get too bent out of shape about this stuff. I do like it when lines can mix and Lion-O does seem a bit more like a Teen Titan next to He-Man than I’d like, it won’t stop me from buying future figures.


Plus it would appear as though there is a scale within the line itself, meaning certain characters will be larger than others. Spoiler alert, Mumm-Ra figure review coming soon.


The paint is simple, clean and effective with little to no slop. The same could be said for the sculpting itself, as it’s a bit softer than MOTUC, but it’s appropriate for the style of figures. It will be interesting to see how some of the more visually dynamic characters like Vultureman or Slythe look in this line.

Articulation:
The old LJN line was loaded down with goofy gimmick actions and pretty weak articulation. Thankfully the Bandai line has plenty of articulation to make this figure quite poseable. It’s not the most poseable figure on the market, but it’s up to par with DCUC or MOTUC.


You’ve got all your typical joints, including cuts at the top of the boots which are quite well hidden. The only weak area is the neck, which does have a ball joint but it doesn’t really move up thanks to the hair sculpt.


The torso joints are a bit different too, as you have two joints there, with one being more of a pivot/crunch and the other doing some swivel.


But you won’t have much trouble posing him in a variety of situations. The hands are legit ball joints, so you can get some extra movement out of them as well.


In fact the posing may be the best part of this figure. He’s a lot of fun to fiddle with and he’s got a great center of balance. You don’t feel like you need a stand to do anything with him. The ankles in particular have great rocker motion.


I think most people will be impressed. I did feel a bit of loosening the more I posed him, but not as much as many other figures on the market.

Accessories:
One of the best parts of the Thundercats concept was the cool glove claw and sword of Omens. Bandai has included that along with a few other things to round out a solid figure.


You get two sets of hands, one pair of slightly open claw hands and one set of sword gripping hands. I found the sword gripping hands to be very tight and nearly impossible to just slip the sword into. However the hands are soft enough rubber than you can bend the fingers with your own hands and then sort of pop the sword in.


“Shout out to my gloved brother Rene Goulet!”

The glove is actually a hand all it’s own, which definitely works better than just a clip on attachment.


The small sword of Omens even fits into the glove, just like on the show. Another great little detail from Bandai.


There is also a little belt strap that can be plugged into the side of the hips. This allows you to carry the glove on the figure, for even more poses and accuracy.


The swords both look great and the long sword is actually quite long… The only problem with the swords is that they’re made out of a very pliable rubber.


I am very lucky that my Lion-O’s sword is not warped in the least… But ALL of the three other Lion-O figures in the store, were. I’ve seen some really warped figure’s swords in other people’s photos as well. This should really be made of a harder plastic.


The hands all pop off quite easily and aside from the sword’s flimsy nature, the accessories are quite good.

Value:
A highly articulated figure with two sets of hands and three weapons for only $14.99?! That’s like 2008’s prices or something! Seriously, the value here is quite good. While it’s not cheap by any means and it certainly has a few cost cutting measures (like the screws) it definitely does feel like there is a value here. It’s been so long since we’ve seen a 6 inch property that actually comes with more than the bare minimum. I don’t feel like I’m getting robbed with this toy, which is something I can’t say for a lot of toys at this scale.


Another thing I noticed is that Target has sold these figures well, yet I have had no issue finding them. It’s almost like you could actually market a line like this in stores, so long as you don’t overstock unpopular characters and keep the main guys out there for purchase. Pretty amazing concept!


Score Recap:
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 8
Paint – 9
Articulation – 9
Accessories – Extra Hands, Claw Glove, Holster, Sword of Omens (small), Sword of Omens (full)
Value – 8
Overall – 8 out of 10

This figure has it’s flaws, but the decent price point and the nice amount of accessories make this a pretty good buy in today’s market. I’m not sure how much of that is because of how expensive toys have gotten or if it’s just neat to have some classic Thundercats toys on the shelves.


I wouldn’t pay $20 for these at the 8 inch scale, but I don’t feel as bad paying $15 at the 6 inch scale. As if often the case, your mileage may vary. Bandai was able to sell me on these by putting them in stores, though. That’s a big advantage to a line like this.


I never would have bitten had these been online exclusives.

Need more Thundercats? Wes reviewed the SDCC 8 inch version: SDCC 8 Inch Lion-O

The modern 6 inch version: 6 Inch Modern Lion-O

And a long time ago I reviewed a Snarf pencil topper/straw holder: Snarf!


Figma
Robocop
5 Inch Scale
By: Max Factory
$49.99 (price varies)

Part Man. Part Machine. ALL Cop. Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 Robocop film transformed the concept of a cyborg. Robocop was a movie that had a lot of social commentary, gratuitous violence and one of the coolest looking “robots” in film history. It also instantly became a hit with kids, which is pretty amazing because the movie is actually Rated R. That didn’t stop toys from being made, cartoons from being launched and Robocop becoming everything that perhaps the movie was against.


None of that matters though, because Robocop is a badass. I love Robocop, even the bad sequels and the underrated TV show. I owned a ton of the Kenner figures and I bought quite a few of the Toy Island figures, even Commander Cash! Despite a ton of attempts from McFarlane, NECA and even Hot Toys, I’m not certain we’ve ever had a perfect Robocop figure.


Ultimately, this figure isn’t “perfect” either, but it’s damn close. I’m sure Hot Toy’s second attempt at Robcop will be perfect… But it will also run you $300 or so. For $60 or less, you won’t find a better Robocop figure than the Figma. This guy is incredible, both in detail and design, but most importantly in articulation. This is the most poseable Robcop to date and he’s an amazing figure because of it.

Packaging:
The packaging is a fairly plain window box. The presentation is nice, but not nearly as sweet as Revoltech or the Bandai MonsterArts packages. This does it’s job, but won’t likely make you want to keep it MIB for display.


The package art does conjure up a bit of a Robocop feel, but I think they could have had a lot more fun with that concept. The back has some details about the posing and accessories.


There’s a picture of the figure on the sides.


The nicest part of the package is actually the inside backing card. It has a lot of little wires and circuitry as well as the Robocop logo. As usual, kind of a shame when the nicest part of the package is something you see the least of.

Sculpt/Paint:
The sculpting on the Figma Robocop is fantastic, with just about as much detail as the McFarlane figure, at around half the size. Robocop has actually had a pretty good run with figures, as they’ve always had a lot of sculpted detail. Toy Island did nice work, and Kenner wasn’t too bad, but the Figma is really amazing for the small size.


It’s a stunning figure and is immediately recognizable as Robocop. The paint has a mix of blue and purple hues in it, but in some shots it looks like there is too much purple. I would say that there is a TAD too much purple, but it’s not as bad as some photos may have you believe. I’d rather they went with more blue than purple, but such is life.


The other area that is of concern to many collectors is the mouth. This doesn’t appear to be Peter Weller. It looks pretty generic and the lips aren’t given a lot of detail, making this look a bit flat. It doesn’t bother me, but it’s worth noting. You could sculpt a bit more detail in yourself, but honestly macro function cameras are tricking you for the most part… In hand you’re not seeing the face as close up.


To many, the McFarlane Robocop is still the standard bearer and Figma’s Robocop does not have quite as much detail. However, for the most part, the detail is very close. Given the difference in size, it doesn’t seem like anything was directly omitted.


This Figma Robocop even has working pistons on the heels. In fact these pistons work quite a bit better than the other pistons on similar figures, because you can move these around a lot more. Although they can pop out and are TINY so don’t lose them (I almost did) if you drop them.


The pins can come out, so be careful.


The intricate detail at this scale is pretty astonishing. He’s just the right amount of bulky, complex and slick. Some Robcop figures just don’t seem to nail the overall feel of Robocop, NECA’s is gangly, McFarlane’s head is a bit small but Max Factory has succeeded in getting just the perfect mix.


The body looks good and the articulation is hidden rather seamlessly. This has often been a problem with other Robocops, but it’s not an issue here.


The hands all look great and there are quite a few to choose from. The data spike hand is particularly impressive. It’s tiny, but so well detailed for it’s size.


They managed to cram in a lot of details.


The figure’s height will get to a lot of people. He’s more in line with 5 inch figures than he is 6 inchers. That means he’ll look great with Doctor Who, but won’t work with Marvel Legends or DCUC. He matches up okay with the old Kenner Terminator, though.


The scale doesn’t bother me too much…


So long as Max Factory gives us a Figma ED-209! He’s too big for my old version. I’d like a RoboKane too please!


The crowning achievement of this figure, though, has to be the opening leg compartment for his gun. This is an important part of Robocop that is often not made into a figure for various reasons.


Figma has nailed it! While it’s not “fully” functional, it’s perfect for recreating those iconic poses.


Articulation:
The articulation is the other truly amazing part of this figure. He’s just so much damn fun to fiddle around with. Robocop toys usually get a pass because Robocop didn’t seem all that poseable in real life… But this one isn’t a big hunk of unarticulated junk.


Robocop can finally disco dance!


Or meditate!


Or do his best Shawn Michaels impersonation!


Or even relax after using his roboweiner to rock Anne Lewis’s world!


Seriously though, this guy is super poseable. The joints all move smoothly and they’re not clicky like a Revoltech. They are just easy to function. Nothing strange or odd about them.


This means you can put Robocop in lots of wacky poses that you might never had imagined him in before.


But it also means you can help him hit essential Robocop poses, better than ever before. Nothing you can’t do within reason with this articulation.


Accessories:
Japanese toys tend to load you down with accessories and low and behold, Figma’s Robcop is no exception.


You get a total of 10 different hands. Two look nearly identical, but they are actually different stages of trigger pulling. You also get a Figma stand, a bag for your accessories (this is a nice little bag) and a battle damaged head. Not to mention the removable leg for the gun, his actual Auto 9 and a little gun blast effect.


“WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOUR FACE?!?!”

The helmet just pops off to replace it with the battle damaged version. It’s easy to remove, but at the same time, it’s not going to fall off either.


The battle damaged helmet looks great and although there isn’t a matching chest piece, you can remove parts of him to make him seem more damaged.


Like an arm!


The outer thigh pops off to reveal the inside where you can attach the opening gun leg portion. That is two separate pieces that plug in.


Note the very minor differences in these sculpts. Not necessary for some people, but quite cool to be included.


The Auto 9 is an incredible sculpt and the firing effect is decent, but a bit cumbersome to plug in.


The stand is a of a pretty high quality. It’s not the best stand, but it can help you to acheive some poses. He stands fine on his own in most posing situations, though.


Everything is really well made, no cheap flexible plastic. This is all made to last.

Value:
Of course the kicker here is that this guy is at least $50 in most locations. That’s certainly a lot more than a MOTUC or something you might find at retail. He’s also under 6 inches, which will upset a lot of people. However, if you’re a big Robocop fan, you simply can’t not have this in your collection. All other Robocop figures pale in comparison and I should know, I pretty much have them all. If there continues to be more Robocop Figmas, I will be in LOVE. I can only hope we get several more figures from the Robocop films in the Figma format!


Score Recap:
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 9
Paint – 9
Articulation – 10
Accessories – 10 Hands, Stand, Auto 9, Blast Effect, Battle Damage Head, Bag, Leg Pieces
Value – 9
Overall – 9.5 out of 10

This is not perfection… But it is close. It’s as close as we’ve ever gotten and I’m not sure we’ll ever get any closer at a price point this low. For that reason, he’s very much worth it.


Sometimes you have to pay a little more, to get a little more.


If the mouth sculpt was a little tighter, the purple a little less and perhaps more blue, this guy would be perfect. As is, he’s an essential for Robocop nuts like myself. Don’t miss out on this one.


Your move…


Creep!


GI Joe: Rise of Cobra Action Battlers
Cobra Viper
6.5 Inch Scale
By: Hasbro
$12.99 (price varies on secondary market)

More crap from the vault, this time a figure that very few people seemed to want. The Action Battlers were a strange concept from Hasbro introduced during the roll-out of Rise of Cobra movie toys. While many have labeled these the bastard sons of Sigma Six, the figures honestly seem more like giant versions of something like Imaginext. Had these actually been in scale and used the Sigma Six molds, I suspect they’d been revered as great figures. Instead, I think few if anybody picked them up.


That’s where I come in at. I loved this figure from the moment I saw it. The design was similar to the smaller 3 3/4 ROC Vipers, but it had a little bit of something extra to it. The stylistic chunky design, just looked awesome to me. Despite that, I, like most, balked at the price, especially considering I knew these figures were limited in articulation.

However, when the opportunity came to army build this guy for cheap, I was all over it like white on rice. One crappy figure is just that, crappy, but a small army of them? Awesome! The real question is… Is this figure crappy at all, or is it just misunderstood?

Packaging:
The packaging is a neat little window box with a peg hook. It was surprisingly shelf friendly during it’s time in the retail stores and as best as I can tell, these guys were average to slow movers. Hasbro really screwed the pooch by offering so many different ROC toys, that they muddied their own toy market.


The package is pretty nice, but it won’t blow your socks off. The artwork is the best part, showing off a cartoon drawing of the Viper. That’s just downright swank.


It appears in a couple of different forms on the package, to really help sell the character. It also helps make this box look nice if you’re keeping him MOC and it dare i say it, seems to borrow a little bit from what we see in designer vinyl figures these days.

Sculpt/Paint:
The sculpting on this guy is pretty fantastic, with a design that definitely harkens to the smaller scale version of this Cobra Viper… But yet, does it’s own thing too. Of all the Cobra Viper figures from ROC in all the scales, this is my favorite.


The alien look of the face is really highlighted in this bigger, chunkier figure. The gold and black contrasts well and although the figure doesn’t have a ton of paint, the mixture of molded color plastics and paint mingle quite well to give a good representation of color depth for this toy.


A lot of people compared this to Sigma Six when it first came out, but oddly aside from the large feet, it’s really not much like Sigma Six at all. The lines and angles are a lot smoother and even softer here, than the more angular Sigma Six line. Of course, I think you could recreate this figure using parts of the Sigma Six line (Shipwreck’s legs for example) and have a much better figure. I really wish this WAS a Sigma Six figure.


Unfortunately, even if you wanted, this guy is nowhere near Sigma Six scale. He’s 6.5 inches exactly, making him a decent fit for DCUC. His thick body actually allows him to mix it up with MOTUC or some of your favorite 7 inch lines. However, for the most part he’s an oddball all his own.


The design is nice though and he looks pretty wicked. He’s definitely got that softer sculpt that is designed to appeal to kids, but he doesn’t look particularly “kid friendly” either. So it’s a nice compromise on the aesthetic.

Articulation:
Ultimately where this figure falls down is in his articulation. He’s not nearly articulated enough, BUT he’s not the brick that you might think he is either. He works surprisingly well with just a few basic joints.


The Action Battler line is all about using cuts. However much like an old Kenner figure, the arms and knees are semi-bent already, allowing the cuts to give the figure a greater range of emotion with just a few simple poses. I know it’s hard in the days of modern articulation to appreciate something like this, but I do.


Unfortunately all the Action Battlers have a stupid squeeze leg action, that hasn’t been neat since… Actually it’s NEVER been a neat toy feature. This means his arms sort of want to pop into place, but they do retain full poseability. The legs amazingly can also be rotated, though the actual “squeeze leg” is a tad bit more limited.

Accessories:
The Viper comes with his big goofy gun. It’s hollow molded and it seems a bit cheap. Remember that this figure was competing with ROC figures that while smaller, were coming with TONS of accessories. It seems odd that this guy has such a weak weapon.


The gun does have two spots to hold it from and he can hold it in both hands. However, the grips on either hand is not particularly good at holding the gun. It can be held, but it’s a tad looser than I’d like.


“I can raise my gun. What awesome action battling this allows me to do!”

That’s it for accessories and it just seems, very light. The gun is okay at best and just sort of junk at worst. Some of the other figures had neater guns or swords, so it’s really the Viper who suffers.

Value:
At around $13, this figure was horribly overpriced. You can find them for about $10-$15 now on the secondary market and that’s still far too much. Remember that the awesome ROC 3 3/4 figures were about half that price at the time these came out. It boggles the mind that Hasbro would release worse figures, for more cost. Tht said, if you can pick them up for a $5 bill or so, they’re nice little toys.


Score Recap:
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 7
Paint – 6
Articulation – 4
Accessories – Gun
Value – 4
Overall – 5 out of 10

This is not a terrible figure. I really mean that. The design is sharp, the articulation although limited, is actually more poseable than you might think and the general presentation is nice. Unfortunately, the wacky action, the lack of good accessories and the price point knock this guy down to being a low average toy.


Of course if you’re insane and like to army build stuff like this, the figure gets cooler with the more of these guys you have. They look good in a row or as a platoon of evil and I definitely want to pick up the Cobra Commander (who looks awesome) to lead this little gang of miscreants. The Action Battler Viper has some charm to him, despite all the flaws.

Hasbro really misfired with this line, the designs were good, but they should have been applied to a pre-existing platform like the Sigma Six line and left the gimmicks off. Trying to create another subline that had no real rhyme or reason and was saddled with uncompetitive pricing and lame gimmicks really struck the fatal blow to the Action Battlers. If you like stuff like designer vinyl or old school 1980’s figures, you might warm up to this guy’s charm. I did.

Do you like browsergames? Of course you do, it seems as though everyone does these days. There are so many great broswer games out there available right now, but it’s often hard to figure out where to get the best games and it’s even harder to find them in German language. That’s where www.browsergame-world.de comes in. They offer tons of top quality, super fun browser games for download in German language! Es ist wunderbar!

Here’s a screenshot of their website just to give you an idea of what all they offer to fans across the globe, particularly those who speak German.


Doesn’t it just look like a blast?

Visit their website: Browsergame-World.de for all the info and games that you need.


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