Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Robo Force: Maxx Steele - the Leader

Back in December of 2013, I posted a quick review of my first Robo Force toy, Blazer. I had forgotten the lot of toys I had purchased actually had two boxed Robo Force toys. These pictures have been edited and sitting in one of my "to do" folders for awhile so why not put them to good use?

 photo BlogampCharticon128_zps82662e72.jpg    photo BlogampCharticon129_zpsa96f2dde.jpg

I vaguely remember these toys from my childhood, but I never owned any of them. I was surprised that Maxx Steele's box was in good condition as the other one in the lot I purchased had a very tattered box. Max Steele has a very boring design in my book, however some of the other robots released later looked really cool.

 photo BlogampCharticon130_zpse5fd2bf1.jpg    photo BlogampCharticon131_zps32aaea2e.jpg

I think it's funny how people thought of robots back in the late 70's / early 80's. The suction cup bottom and the tube arms...this screams 80's. I do have to give it to the designs on the engineering of the arms and how they move with the press of the button on the back of the robot.

I guess I can see the collectible niche of these figures. While they really aren't for me, I was glad I had a buyer at Charticon in 2013 that was more than happy to take off my hands the two Robo Force toys I had at the time.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Transformers Adventures: Thunderhoof TAV38

I wasn't sure what I thought after I watched the first episode of the new Transformers Robots in Disguise animated show. It looked different and had a more "kiddie" feel to it, however I gave it a chance. With each new Decepticon that was introduced in the show the more I enjoyed it. It almost felt like the show writers were following the Scooby Doo formula...each episode featured a new scenario and villain. Once Thunderhoof made his debut he quickly became one of my favorite Decepticons on the show. I mean, what is there not to like about a mafia like tough guy w/ a New York accent that just happens to have antlers?

Sadly when it came to getting a toy of Thunderhoof fans had to wait. Eventually Hasbro released the character as a one step changer and then as a legion class toy. Thankfully Takara Tomy stepped up to the plate and announced a Warrior class (i.e. deluxe) figure was on it's way as part of their Transformers Adventures series. Finally, I have a great show accurate figure and I couldn't be happier!

 photo IMG_3400_zps1wbi4xru.jpg

   photo IMG_3401_zpskxzqq4vb.jpg

The packaging is your standard blister card with the bubble taped to the card. I was surprised it wasn't the type of packaging where the backing card could easily be removed from the plastic blister. None the less it's still some very attractive packaging. Packaged inside are a set of instructions as well as a poster/catalog. Sadly no character tech sec card.

 photo IMG_3402_zpsz7mlzysj.jpg

In place of a character card, the profile is posted on the back of the blister card. I'd love it if someone could/would translate this.

 photo IMG_3403_zpsuipmyy7x.jpg

 photo IMG_3405_zpseacjlgtr.jpg

Thunderhoof is a beautiful figure, let me start of by saying that. It seems like the molds used for this series (Hasbro's RID as well) have been hit and miss. Some of the toys look nothing like their show counterparts, while others suffer from being hollowed out in places. While I still have a good many figures to open, this toy quickly jumped to the top of my favorite list. For starters the mold feels solid. The plastic doesn't feel cheap and I never thought any part of him was going to snap in half during his transformation. The figure is well articulated and is generally a fun toy to play with. Combine that with the premium paint applications courtesy of Takara Tomy and you have yourself a winner.

 photo IMG_3404_zpsnon1ied3.jpg

Thunderhoof's main color is that of a turquoise blue with black used for the limbs. On his chest is a nice metallic pearl turquoise. His wheelwells are a shiny metallic silver and when combined with the shades of blue he stands out as a great looking figure.

 photo IMG_3406_zpsucym7m9u.jpg

Thunderhoof is aptly named for his animal like features. His antlers are easy to notice, however check out his feet. Hooves...that has to be a first for Transformers. He comes packaged with a very interesting looking shotgun. Look carefully at the top of the gun and you'll see something that looks like antlers. Flip that around and it would look like one of the guns from the video game Gears of War.

 photo IMG_3407_zpsyeegfz08.jpg

Articulation is pretty good on the figure, much better than the poses I came up with. His shoulders are on ball joints, but because of the wheelwells and the antlers there is some restriction. His waist can rotate a full 360 degrees, but that is mostly due to the transformation. Hips are on ball joints while he has a mid thigh swivel. Knees are hinge joints and the lower leg is on a pin. This gives you some movement, but again it's part of the transformation.

 photo IMG_3408_zpse3x8eubb.jpg      photo IMG_3410_zpspx5khlxw.jpg

 photo IMG_3409_zps2xvotwjx.jpg

I was surprised at how small and compact Thunderhoof was when transformed into his alt mode. Everything snapped together and held in place just fine and his large wheels rolled across both smooth surfaces and carpet with ease. I love the fact that he transformers into a combine tractor and it's surprisingly fun to play with in this form. The "teeth" on the front can be lifted up a little.

 photo IMG_3411_zpsqettb7sw.jpg

I didn't see this documented anywhere on the large instruction sheet, but you can place his shotgun right in the middle of the underside while in vehicle mode. It fits in perfectly and doesn't hinder the toy rolling on the ground.


As much as I love this toy, Thunderhoof is a little undersized. Take a look at the screen shot above from the animated show.

 photo IMG_3426_zps1aqyiw3w.jpg

None the less this is one of my favorite RID/Adventures figures thus far. The Decepticons have sorely been outnumbered in Hasbro's series so it's great that more characters are on their way. The Hasbro version of this figure should be released to retail around the time of this post, however if you don't want to wait or just want a more show accurate deco look no further than the Adventures version.

 photo IMG_3428_zps5uuyq60w.jpg


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Mega Bloks Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Series 1 Blind Bags

It doesn't seem that long ago that LEGO had the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles license for building blocks. Now said license has transferred to Mega Bloks and boy are they making good use of it. A quick stroll down the building block aisle at my local Target and I see several different sets of varying sizes for TMNT.

 photo IMG_2920_zpscyhgnuap.jpg   photo IMG_2921_zpsqlo7nir3.jpg

Being a sucker for blind packaged toys I had to pick up one bag (or maybe a few more!) to see what Mega Bloks was doing w/ the TMNT franchise. A quick scan of the back of the packaging and I see a total of 8 possible figures - the 4 turtles, Krang, a Foot soldier, a translucent red Shredder and a mystery figure.

 photo IMG_2922_zpsq29xszgr.jpg

Finding a bag w/ one of the turtles is rather easy thanks to their rounded shell. Two (Donatello & Raphael) of the four turtles are easier to obtain than the others. I'm not sure what the significance of the red Shredder is and I still don't know who the 8th mystery figure is.

 photo IMG_2925_zpswtdawhkj.jpg   photo IMG_2926_zpsbgp4eivg.jpg

I have purchased a few of the Mega Bloks Halo sets so I kinda knew going in what these figures would be like, but I didn't expect the figures to be this nice! The level of detailing for a $3 bling packaged figure is amazing. The figures are based off the current Nickelodeon show so they have goofy facial expressions and the large knee pads.

The figures have to be assembled. The arms were already attached in the bag, but they do pop off. The turtle head has mold bumps for the eyes, this helps keep the bandana on, but it also makes it hard to fit the piece on the head. The belt is a rubbery plastic that you have to stretch to fit over the body of the figure. I like that you can sheath Donatello's bo staff on the back.

 photo IMG_2924_zpsaj2tfria.jpg

The figure has a good amount of articulation for such a small figure. Ball jointed shoulders and hips and hinge joints at the knees. Sadly no elbow articulation, but the wrists to rotate a full 360 degrees.

 photo IMG_2928_zpsea2zlmik.jpg

If you're wondering why Donatello has a heart painted onto his front side, it's because he's been staring at this sketch of April O'Neil he comes packaged with.

Overall I really like what Mega Bloks has done with these figures and I eagerly await the 2nd series of blind packaged figures. I don't know if I'll pick up any of the larger sets, but I do like how the Turtles that come in those sets vary in deco from these blind packaged versions. At only $3 each, I encourage you to pick up a bag or two and check out these fun little toys.

 photo IMG_2923_zpsfwrz85yq.jpg

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Transformers Robots in Disguise (2015): Overload & Backtrack

 photo IMG_2740_zpsewwibgaa.jpg

One of Hasbro's biggest issues it seems with the newest iteration of Transformers' Robots in Disguise line of action figures has been distribution. I picked up Overload & Backtrack, part of the second wave of Deployers back in January 2016 from HasbroToyShop.com. Just in the last 2 weeks have I actually started to see him show up on retail shelves locally in my area. 

At the time I ordered Overload, I had no idea who he was as he hadn't made his appearance in the animated television show yet, but I liked the way he looked and then there is the whole Mini-Con thing...again. Some of you may know I used to be a big Mini-Con collector and at one point had a very large and lucrative collection of Mini-Cons and Microns. I sold off 95% of that collection, however these new RID Mini-Cons have their own unique charm that has been growing on me.

 photo IMG_2741_zpsxrem5mtl.jpg

The first Decepticon Deployer released was Fracture. A lot of fans weren't too crazy about the toy for a couple of reasons, however it seemed like the consensus vote was the ugly Mini-Con launching gimmick that hung off the robot mode. Overload has been designed around a new form of Mini-Cons so his vehicle and robot modes are more slimline and pleasing to the eye.

 photo IMG_2744_zpshlallb47.jpg      photo IMG_2745_zpsnlfofyvz.jpg

While I like the animal themed Decepticons in RID, it's refreshing to see another "normal" Decepticon join their ranks. The inclusion of a new style Mini-Con is also refreshing, however there is something about Backtrack that reminds me of something else...* Bakugan anyone? *

 photo IMG_2746_zpslkiom4um.jpg photo IMG_2748_zpsxfhjqzco.jpg


My first impression of Overload himself upon taking him out of the box was how light he felt. He seemed to have a solid overall design, but just didn't weigh much. Most of the vehicle parts are well hidden in robot mode with is a nice touch. Judging from the large wheels on his shoulders, you would think he transforms into some sort of off road vehicle. Kudos to the design team for not making him look so "tank-ish". The orange weapon you see him wielding is actually the launching mechanism when his Mini-Con is plugged into this tank mode. Again, clever way of integrating this play pattern feature into the toy.

(not sure what happened to the photo on the left...when I was editing the photo this is how it came out and I lost my original photo when I had to re-format my camera's memory card)

 photo IMG_2749_zpsmxtffahn.jpg

Once I began to play with the figure for a bit I noticed why he felt so light...several parts of him have been hollowed out such as this arms. I know it's just a cost savings move by Hasbro/Takara Tomy and it's nothing really new, however I don't like the effect it has on the figure. It makes them too light and feel cheap in some cases. 

 photo IMG_2751_zpsne0cqdc6.jpg

 photo IMG_2759_zps12itryyd.jpg

Backtrack pairs up with Overload nicely. I'm surprised however that his color wasn't matched to Overload's. Playing around with these figures I quickly started to get a bit of a G1 Soundwave vibe. In robot mode the Mini-Con can be transformed back into this sphere form and placed in the clip on the back of Overload's back.

 photo IMG_2753_zpsw7esraco.jpg

I have to admit that I had fun with Backtrack. I never owned any of the now defunct Bakugan toys, but I can see why he would remind people of that franchise. For me I was reminded of the spherical Transformers released in Japan under the Beast Wars II series. Backtrack features a very simple transformation and when all rolled up he holds the form quite well.

 photo IMG_2754_zpsvcdoz8at.jpg

 photo IMG_2756_zpsfhribt6j.jpg

 photo IMG_2757_zpsg6dih2rj.jpg

Like the individually packaged RID Mini-Cons, Backtrack comes with a translucent orange Deception symbol shaped "tree" holding on the various detachable weapons and armor bits. You get a piece that fits on the head, two shoulder mounted guns, what appears to be a jet pack of sorts backpack and two pieces that look like feet.

If I'm being completely honest - I really don't like these Energon bits. Maybe it's the translucent plastic that is used. I don't know, but these pieces really don't do much for me. Speaking of the parts, you can leave them attached when you transform the Mini-Con back into spherical form.

 photo IMG_2760_zpsupgr6fvt.jpg

As I mentioned earlier, the designers did a good job at hiding the fact that Overload's alternate form was that of a tank. He transforms rather easily from robot to tank and I love how the tank treads are hidden in the back of the legs. Sadly though the tank treads are solid plastic and not rubber. At first glance of this form I was immediately reminded of Armada Megatron and his H style tank form. The little clip in the front also mimmicks the horns of Megatron as well. This clip in the center is what holds and launches the Mini-Con spheres like Backtrack.

 photo IMG_2762_zpsnjzkh5yb.jpg

Loaded up, Overload may look a little odd however I like the overall look better Deployer Fracture. There is a small black button on top of the orange gun that when pressed, launches the Mini-Con forward.


Overload is a fun toy to play with. My youngest daughter has taken a real interest in the television show and the toys already enjoys launching Backtrack and watching him roll across the floor. Speaking of Backtrack, he has already been repainted and included in a 4 pack of Mini-Cons, current at retail. He seems more like a real Transformer and less of a gimmick toy. I couldn't say that about the Deployer versions of both Drift and Fracture. If you enjoy the show and you like the new style Mini-Cons, I encourage you to pick up this set.

 photo IMG_2758_zpsvw2kgcpi.jpg

I would like to apologize for the less than stellar photography in this post. Sometimes my current set up works great and then there are times my pictures come out with a quality lower that what I'd like to use. However with my current backlog I just didn't have the time to start over and re-take all the photos. Hopefully my next post with feature better photos.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

GI Joe 25th Anniversary: Croc Master

I always gravitated to the bad guys of any toy series I was interested to. May have been the Mutants from Thundercats, the Decepticons from Transformers or in this case, Cobra from GI Joe. While I look back on some of the Cobra characters and their action figures from the original A Real American Hero series and laugh (Raptor), there is one that always stood out to be as a pretty bad a type character...

 photo YoJoe047_zpsa5ed1eef.jpg

...Cobra's Croc Master! What kid from the 80's would have wanted the figure of a guy that wrestles and trains alligators and crocodiles. Better yet, he came packaged with a crocodile! Sorry Snake Eyes; sorry Spearhead...your animal partners just can't complete w/ Croc Master!

The 25th Anniversary version of the character looks fantastic. Not much was changed to the overall costume, just updated. He has a six shooter pistol holstered on his left leg that he can wield, but I prefer the look of his Indian Jones like whip.

 photo YoJoe048_zpse1d40302.jpg

One of best features of this updated Croc Master is the fact that he comes with an updated crocodile toy. This thing has a good amount of detail sculpted right into the figure. The top of the mouth is hinged so it can open and close. The chain leash could be a little longer, but hey I can't complain too much from this release.

Since the 25th Anniversary version was released, this same figure has been used twice. He swapped his normal olive green shirt for a yellow shirt in the Pursuit of Cobra series. The figure would later be used in a 2 pack celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the brand, only this time in red. Even the crocodile was cast in red!

I get that some of the Cobra characters got to be a little far fetched, but Croc Master always seemed to be one of the more grounded characters and one that I could see a terrorist organization that hid in the Everglades employing. No matter which version of this figure you pick up, it's a great addition to your Cobra army.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Transformers Galaxy Force: Megalo Micron Team

Back during my days of collecting every single Transformers Mini-Con / Micron figure, the Megalo Micron Team had to be hands down one of my favorite sets. The molds themselves were pretty cool, but I really loved the white/blue/red unified color scheme. Combine that with the fact that they were made to go side by side w/ Megalo Convoy (Cybertron Metroplex) and you had a winning combination.

 photo Microns019_zps93bfbc81.jpg

Like many of the Japanese Micron sets, these figures were released individually as store exclusives. Megalo Gritbit and Megalo Zapmap were made available on September 29, 2005 with the purchase of any new Transformers product. Megalo Gritbit was exclusive to Hello Mac stores while Megalo Zapmap and Megalo Zigzag were exclusive to Joshin Denki stores. Tokyo didn't have any Joshin Denki stores so you'll probably find that two of the 3 figures are harder to find and will command more on the secondary market.

 photo Microns025_zps4c45c8fc.jpg

 photo Microns026_zps765c5a62.jpg

Megalo Gritbit is my favorite of the three. At one time I owned every single version of this mold, a task that took me some time and money to complete. I kinda wished I still owed a few of this mold.

 photo Microns021_zps5c32aa01.jpg

 photo Microns022_zps098b4f42.jpg

Megalo Zapmap sorely needs some additional paint apps on his robot form. I'm not sure why red wasn't at least used to highlight his visor. Something other than the blue is needed to help break up all that white.

 photo Microns023_zpsef083b6d.jpg

 photo Microns024_zpsf2493fda.jpg

Megalo Zigzag is one of those molds that just takes some getting used to. I used to loathe this mold, but I guess when I started to accumulate the different variations of it the mold started to grow on me. He certainly is colorful in robot mode, more than I can say for Megalo Zapmap.

 photo Microns020_zps6b52dd7a.jpg

 photo Microns027_zps843f1bc8.jpg

I haven't kept up w/ the secondary market prices of these exclusive Microns, but I know I had to shell out a decent amount when I picked them up new. My guess is that have gotten crazy expensive...if you can find them. Great molds, even better colors, the Megalo Micron Team really is a sight to behold.