iDance Toy Story
Buzz Lightyear
8 Inch Scale
By: Thinkway Toys

When the new Toy Story products started hitting the shelves this year, I was a bit torn on what I wanted. It was bound to be confusing for the consumers as well, with dozens of iterations of Buzz Lightyear on the market. Mattel has some Buzzes, as does Thinkway and several other companies got in on the act as well. While I like the idea of the 12 inch official “movie size” Buzz Lightyear, I feel having him in hand, that he was a tad big.

Buzz is a space ranger from the Intergalactic Alliance and is stationed in the Gamma Quadrant of Sector 4. He is the captain of the Alliance’s Team. Lightyear is known for his bravery and courage. Buzz believes that following rules is the way people should live their life. Though a great leader, at times he can be rather unemotional, one of his biggest character flaws.

From the moment I saw the 8 inch iDance Buzz, I’ve thought he was the perfect size for a Buzz Lightyear toy. Not too big, not too small. However I couldn’t quite commit with the $30 price tag. Recently, several Target locations have began to clearance this Buzz out so I decided to check him out and review him. I’ve looked high and low and nobody else has reviewed this guy anywhere else on the internet, so let’s see if we can finally shed some light on this Buzz.

Buzz Lightyear comes in a special window box package. It’s not as cool as his actual movie accurate package, but it displays the Toy Story colors and theme well enough. I like that you can see so much of him as well.

Of course with the “Try Me” function, Buzz is slightly ajar inside from dancing on the toy shelves. He’s also bound to be a little banged up as a result.

Each side of the box shows off some of the features.

The iDance Buzz is compatible with pretty much all MP3 players, in addition to the iPod.

The back of the package goes over even more of the details. Once outside of the box, this guy is a BEAST to get out. He’s got a ton of twist ties, tape, taped down twist ties and tabs to muddle through. Given that he moves around so well in the box, I was shocked to see how secured he was inside of it.

Since this Buzz is made by Thinkway, you know he’s got all the right stuff. Sure enough this Buzz looks like he just walked right out of Andy’s room, or flew out of a Al’s Toy Barn commercial. Of course, this Buzz is slightly smaller than the bigger 12 inch version, but Thinkway used a lot of the same sculpting techniques here, just smaller.

The head sculpt is magnificent as is the rest of the body. This guy looks just like Buzz should. He has a few scratches of paint off of him, but that’s because he’s got a “Try Me” function. When he’s shook around in the package and the trial function is used, Buzz essentially begins Karate chopping himself in the face. So expect to see some damage on your Buzz as well, unless you can find one that some kid hasn’t been punching on.

Despite a couple of minor issues with the paint, the details here are nice. This doesn’t have the opening compartments or the pop-out wings of the larger Buzz… But it looks like it does. I have to give them some serious credit for making this stuff look so much like it would be functional. Of course any Buzz without his wings, instantly loses some cool points.

He’s still bright and colorful enough to be a lot of fun. If you’re looking for a Buzz that’s not as big, this guy will definitely fit that bill. His helmet also LOCKS into place, which is nice since so many Buzz Lightyear toys end up with floppy helmets.

Speaking of the helmet, in a couple of the pictures it looks scratched up, but it’s not. That’s just tape residue. I’ll eventually clean it off, but I didn’t mess with it before reviewing him. Mego fans will especially appreciate the scale on this guy as he’s just at 8 inches tall. He fits in pretty well with Mattel’s new Retro-Action DC Heroes.

There’s a couple of stickers and stuff, but all the paint work is pretty good. It’s not quite up to the standard as the main Buzz from Thinkway, but it’s better quality than a lot of mass market toys.

Although iDance Buzz is designed to dance and get his groove on to music, there is also a “play” mode where you can freely pose Buzz Lightyear. That’s one of the reasons I wanted this guy, since he’s also an action figure. Unfortunately some of his joints don’t really hold their poses as well, since they are designed to be “floppy” for when he dances. He also has some servos in certain joints and there isn’t a real mode to turn him to “play” you just simply unplug him. I worry a bit about playing with his over time.

That said, this guy is pretty loaded with articulation. As you can see above, he has a ton of joints. His waist and neck joint are cut, but they don’t turn really. I guess it has something to do with the motors inside. They’ll turn when he’s dancing, but no so much in freestyle when he’s unplugged.

No wings, no real accessories. He does have his base stand, which is where all the play functions come in at. Simply plug Buzz Lightyear in and press either the speak function or the MP3 function and get jiggy with it.

The base is a nice bright purple and has the Star Command logo on it. Pretty spiffy.

Action Feature:
This Buzz is like Michael Flatley, all about the dance. As such you get a couple of modes. I’ve embedded some YouTube video of both modes. One of the cool things is that it does feature the voice of Tim Allen and it says things that none of the other Buzz Lightyears available do.

The first mode isn’t particularly exciting. A generic tune plays and Buzz says a variety of different sayings before cutting a rug. It is what it is, but I don’t love it or anything.

The second mode is more fun and it’s Buzz dancing to music from your MP3 player. There are two dance speeds. One that’s sort of fast and one that’s a bit slower. He jukes and jives according to the music’s speed. I tried him out with a few different songs here for you to enjoy.

It’s pretty neat to have Buzz dancing to Uriah Heep. That said, the servos and stuff are pretty loud. Not louder than the music, but you can definitely hear them. If you leave Lightyear alone for a minute or so, he’ll do a little shutdown sequence as well to save the battery life.

This guy originally retailed for $30 or so. Target is clearancing them out. It’s not a super value at $30, but it’s definitely worth it at the reduced price I paid. Obviously this is more of a gadget than a toy. I don’t know how long he would last with small children playing with him, but older kids might enjoy him. Once you have him plugged in, he’s certainly the most “alive” Buzz out there. Even more so than the giant $200 in my view. He seems very alive at times.

To Infinity and Studio 54!

Score Recap:
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 9
Articulation – 6
Accessories – Base
Action Feature – 7
Value – 8
Overall – 7.5 out of 10

If you’re looking for a Buzz at a more manageable size, I think this 8 inch Buzz Lightyear is pretty sweet. The articulation is great, although some of the joints are floppy or difficult do to the motors. Still, he’s got some added play value. As a gadget, he’s pretty sweet. When I was a kid if they had made something like this, he’d been stuck to the base and not poseable at all, so I applaud Thinkway for including the added posing ability. It’s not perfect, but it’s got some charm. If you can catch this guy for under the original retail value and want a slightly different Buzz to add to your collection, he’s a solid pickup.

If this Buzz isn’t your thing, check out some of these other Buzz Lightyear toys I’ve reviewed:
Ultimate 5 Inch Buzz Lightyear
3 Inch Mini Buzz Lightyear

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