Michelangeo, Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, Splinter & Shredder
#60 – #65
3 3/4 Inch Scale
My friends over at Fun.com invited me to take a look at a few Funko Vinyl Pop figures in celebration of their big push for more toys and collectibles. They have tons of Funko Pop Vinyl figures at great prices and it only made sense that I take a look at the TMNT figures. Series 1 is based on the classic Fred Wolf Ninja Turtles designs. It includes the four turtles as well as their sensai Splinter and their arch rival, Shredder.
There isn’t a ton of nostalgia TMNT product out there right now, but I expect more and more of it to hit shelves as the new Ninja Turtles movie draws closer to release. Among the various things that are out there, these Funko Pop Vinyls are actually pretty nice. Definitely better than some of the other stuff we’ve seen. It’s a testament to Funko’s knowledge of the “nerd” industry for them to have so many awesome licenses under one roof.
The other really nice thing about the Funko Pop Vinyl line, is that you can collect tons of different characters all in the same style. Which is basically unheard of in this day and age. Or if you’re only a fan of a single property like the Ninja Turtles, you can just get their whole series. Continue reading
#7 King Joe
5.5 Inch Scale
As part of the new Ultraman Ginga TV series, Bandai is rolling out a whole host of classic characters in new 5 inch form. Along with classic heroes, comes vintage villains such as the nefarious robot monster, King Joe. This giant robot has been popular since his first appearance in Ultra Seven and has returned in various forms through the years. He seemed like the perfect foil for my Ultra Seven in this scale.
King Joe has been recreated in dozens of action figures and vinyls through the years. The Japanese seem to have an obsession with this character and he’s become an enduring part of the Ultraman franchise. This week’s topic in the League of Extraordinary Bloggers is about Robots, so King Joe is the perfect fit. As is always the case, with King Joe figures, he’s very interesting to look at from a visual standpoint. But does he have anything else to offer? Continue reading
14 Inch Scale
Many years ago, in the early 1990s, I would get an awesome catalog in the mail every so often. It was filled with page after page of the coolest toys and collectibles that were being made at that time. Far beyond the stuff you could get at Toys R Us or KB, there were Japanese and European imports and specialty products. Everything from rare collectibles to model kits, stuff from older-skewing science fiction and horror… It blew my mind as a child.
I loved Godzilla and the other monsters I would discover during TV monster weeks, probably on Monstervision. Suff like Godzilla vs Mothra and War of the Gargantuas. The only toys of Toho-type monsters I owned were knockoffs and imitations, up until Trendmasters started making them in the US. So every time the catalog arrived, several times a year, I would pour over each page and save the issue for months. I wish I had managed to save just one over the years, or at least could remember the name of the store that put it out. Even if they have gone out of business, I would love to look through the pages again.
One of the coolest items in there consistently was a large scale vinyl Ultraman figure, about 12” tall. I had only seen a limited amount of Ultraman on TV, probably one of the later sequel series. But I knew who he was, and loved the idea of a giant superhero who fought Godzilla-like monsters. Unfortunately for me, my parents did not think it necessary to order something out of a catalog when there were perfectly good toys available in stores. I never owned one, or even saw one in person. Eventually we moved and I no longer received that catalog in the mail.
About twenty years later, I dug into a Walmart $5 DVD bin whilst killing time and came across Ultraman: The Complete Series. I bought it, watched it, and my childhood desire to own that Ultraman figure was reborn. Not knowing where to start looking for an obscure old toy, I took to eBay and started sifting through Ultramen, eventually settling on the subject of this review.
Despite all of that… This is not the figure from that catalog. This figure is stamped under its foot with the year 1999, long after I had admired the one on those pages of paper. However, it is very close to what I remember, whether those memories are real or muddled by time I cannot say for sure. The pose or size might be a bit different, but the idea is the same. It might even be from the same company, which in the case of at least this figure is Japanese toymaker Banpresto. Standing at 14”, this is actually the tallest figure I own. So after all this time, is this really the figure of a lifetime? Let’s take a look. Continue reading
#2 Ultra Seven
5.5 Inch Scale
One of the things I picked up at this year’s G-Fest was a few of the new Bandai Ultraman Spark Dolls. This is the newest series of Ultraman figures, based on the Ultraman Ginga TV series. What’s interesting about Ultraman Ginga, is that he’s able to transform into previous Ultraman characters (both hero and monsters) using these “spark dolls”. Yes, in the actual show they use these action figures. The whole thing is pretty surreal, but since these are the newest Ultraman figures on the market, I thought I’d take a look at a few.
Ultra Seven is one of the most popular Ultra characters and was the second Ultraman to appear in a television series. Ultra Seven (also referred to as Ultraseven) remains a fan favorite decades after his first appearance. He’ll be appearing in the Ultraman Ginga show along with many other Ultraman characters. This small vinyl figure could be a great way to get into the world of Ultraman vinyl toys, if you’re on a budget. Let’s take a closer look at Seven, SEVEN, SEVEN! Continue reading
10 Inch Scale
I was a big fan of the 1992 “American” Ultraman show, Ultraman: Towards The Future. It was the first real relaunch of the character for the US market in decades and it had a lot of fun concepts. Sadly for whatever reason, it didn’t catch on. A short while later, Power Rangers would miraculously click with audiences where Ultraman had failed. Thankfully before the show ended it’s run, we got some great vinyl figures from DreamWorks.
Kilazee wasn’t particularly memorable in the actual show, but he was the last villain in the Super Nintendo Ultraman game. I happened to have that game (still do) and this long necked gaseous monstrosity, certainly left an impression. As a younger man, I never owned this figure but about a year or two ago I came across one at a flea market for a couple of bucks, still in the box. Naturally I purchased it for Ultraman Week! Continue reading