Saturday, March 6, 2021

Machine Robo, Revenge of Cronos: Steam Robo #10

Ever since Action Toys first launched their "masterpiece" like series of Machine Robo toys in 2015 (?) based on the Revenge of Cronos anime, I've been wanting to pick up a few if for no other reason than being curious.

While I've moved on from the larger, more complex designs and transformations of Takara Tomy's Masterpiece Transformers, the smaller scale of these new Machine Robo figures better fit into my collecting style. I've always been fond of the original MR/GoBots toys so it's not like I'm entering this new line completely blind.

Steam Robo isn't my first Action Toys Machine Robo purchase, he is the first one that I actually opened! Yeah, I've got a bad habit of sitting on new purchases for way too long. Anyhow, Steam Robo is the 10th figure released in the line and up until recently when the line had new life breathed into it, this locomotive was the last figure released for awhile. 

Fans outside of Japan probably recognize this guy as Loco, one of the Renegades in the GoBots series. I am amazed at how much Steam Robo looks like the source material, yet sleek and modern. The stickers on Loco have been replaced with nice paint apps and are an exact match, down to the D-5147 designation on the chest.

Where Loco was short and basically a brick, Steam Robo now stands taller, thinner and is packed with articulation. The head, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, thighs, knees and feet all feature some sort of articulation. I've never been the best at poses figures (for photography or not), but as you can see above Steam Robo is putting Loco in his place.

At first the transformation from robot to locomotive gave me fits, but once I figured it out it was a thing of beauty. I'm especially impressed at how the legs unfold to form the sides of the locomotive. The figure stays together quite well in this form and is rather solid. The die-cast metal wheels roll freely across any hard, smooth surface. The level of detail sculpted into the figure, especially in this form is very impressive. 

I'm very impressed with Steam Robo, so much that as soon as I was done fiddling around with him that I opened Bike Robo (Cy-Kill) immediately. You could tell how far the engineering has come since the earlier releases. If this foreshadows some of the coming figures (Buggy Robo, Blue Jet) we are in for a treat. Steam Robo comes highly recommended...however he does command nearly doubled what he originally retailed for.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

WWE Beast Mode Series 1 Blind Box: The Rock & "Brahma Bull"

Mattel has recently jumped into the blind package toy market with their release of the new WWE Beast Mode toys. I first saw these in an episode of the Major Wrestling Figure Podcast when they visited Toy Fair. I liked the novel idea and I'm a sucker for trying out a new gimmick at least once, so when I ran across a fresh cash on the shelves of my local Walmart I decided to take a chance.


The outer packaging resembles that of a red cage with silver chains wrapped around the outside. On 3 of the sides you can see fists griping the bars with words like "uncage me" and "break the chain". The back of the box shows off the entire series 1 cast of figures with their accompanying beasts.

To open the package you grab the pull tab location on the chains on the right side of the box. There is a perforated section that allows you to rip the top of the box open.

Once you have ripped the top of the packaging off you are left with a orange/red foam like cage sitting in the tray of the box. There is a little instruction sheet/catalog also included. As you can see from the image on the sheet, you are supposed to just rip the cage open by gripping it in one hand and using your other hand to tear open the top. The best way I can describe the material this cage is made out of is it's similar to the Thanostone from Funko's Marvel Battle Ground game/toys. Its soft, but firm and rather easy to sink your fingers into to rip apart.

Once you've ripped open the cage, you'll find your mini WWE Superstar figure inside with it's beast shell. I ended up with The Rock.

The figures stand close to 2.5 inches tall, with the WWE Superstar figure having 4 points of articulation: head, both arms and waist. The beast mode figure is basically a hollow shell that snaps around the wrestler figure. The Rock's beast mode is the Brahma Bull...which if you know anything about the Rock or WWE you would know this makes sense.

The beast mode shell has more sculpted detail than I imagined they would. Sadly there are zero paint apps, just the molded yellow semi-translucent plastic. Personally I love the spiked shoulder armor held up by a chain and a leather strap. The loin cloth completes the look of this minotaur looking creature giving him a very tough, rugged look.

The tiny Rock figure is pretty chiseled and even features those large, iconic tattoos of his. The head sculpt doesn't quite capture the look of Dwayne Johnson, but it's close enough. The figure is articulated at the head, arms and waist.

My one gripe with this figure is that the arms look like they are about to pop off. The large sculpted physique of the figure also looks off if you have the arms in any position other than down by the figure's side.

The first series of Beast Mode features some big names, such as Triple H, Daniel Bryan, Becky Lynch and Roman Reigns. Some of the beast figures make sense since they are based on nicknames of the wrestlers, while others seem a little goofy like Daniel Bryan's "Planet Champion" from his earth hugging heal turn time.

This is a goofy, but fun little toy line that I hope catches on with the kids. Priced at $5.99 they are reasonable enough to keep going to back to the well in an effort to land your favorite WWE Superstar. I personally wouldn't mind pulling a Becky Lynch, Braun Strowman or Triple H. So far I've only seen these stocked at Walmart so I'm not sure if they are exclusive to the chain or if other stores are just slow to get new product stocked on the shelves. If you've picked up one of these let me know in the comments what you think about them.


Thursday, February 4, 2021

Hot Wheels City Track Pack

During a recent stroll down the die-cast vehicle aisle at my local Walmart I found some Hot Wheels City Track Packs. As a little lad I tons of Hot Wheels and other die-cast vehicles I played with, however rarely did I ever had roads for my vehicles to travel on. I had playsets, but nothing else. Where were these when I got down on the floor and played?!

I recall seeing two different types of packs. This one with an intersection piece and a straight piece and another with two pieces of straight roads. The back of the packaging shows that you can connect these road pieces with the traditional orange Hot Wheels track, as well as connect them to various playsets.

The pieces of track are molded in a dark colored gray plastic. Each end of the track has tabs that easily connect to another piece. The sides of the track are raised with a concrete curb like look. This only allows room for one vehicle, despite the orange sticker lines down the middle of the track. If you are fine with your Hot Wheels city essentially only having one way roads, these are a great addition. Priced at just $2 per bag, this could be an affordable way to bring your Hot Wheels to life.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

BeastBOX: Leviathan BB-14


It's been awhile since I've posted a BeastBOX review, but that doesn't mean that I haven't added a few new releases to the collection. I understand the appeal of a robotic animal transforming into a box/cube may not float everyone's boat, but I love this series and with each release they keep getting better and better.

Today we are taking a look at Leviathan, a (blue) whale. Up until this release the aquatic animals have just been OK. Leviathan however takes it to the next level. The packaging as seen above is now the standard fare. The box features a window that shows a portion of the figure, along with large artwork of the character. A character specific logo appears in the top right corner, while the code number and name appear in the bottom right portion. The 52Toys logo is on the lower left corner.

The back of the packaging features more artwork of the character, along with a diagram of some of it's features. In this case it shows a diagram of the included small aquatic creatures/weapons and a small figure of Jojo (ape). The left side of the box gives credit to the designer of the character. Most of the recent releases have featured a large sticker that appears to be covering (wrong?) information. You can see this sticker was applied upside down. Whoops!

Images from the left and right sides of the box include some nice artwork of the character as well as drawings of the beast mode and box mode.

From the rear view you can see the two small gray turbines on each side of the tail. Just behind the cockpit are two yellow air tanks.

I'm amazed at what the designers are able to do with these figures and Leviathan is no different. This looks like a robotic whale, complete with curves and fins. The fact that this folds up into a box/cube is amazing.

the included small blue figure of Jojo (one of the earlier BeastBOX figures) can fit inside the cockpit. Even though there are two chairs, Jojo must be position in the middle in order for him to stay in place.

The included accessories include this small orange/gray whale torpedo and blue/gray manta ray. Both of these accessories can be attached to the underside of Leviathan.

Some of these BeastBOX figures have a tricky transformation required to get all of the pieces folded up and neatly tucked away to form the box mode. Leviathan however has a pretty straight forward transformation that didn't give me any fits. Everything folded together with ease and made a convincing box/cube. All of the accessories can be nearly stored inside the cockpit.

Leviathan comes with a translucent Box Charger crate. This allows the figure to be stored in box mode. The Charger can also be connected to additional Box Chargers, or stacked on top of each other. In my display case I've started to store my less favorite characters inside their Chargers and make a display of sorts, effectively using them as risers.

This is by far one of my favorite BeastBOX figures yet...and that says a lot since just about everyone I've opened thus far are so much fun. 52Toys has a winner on their hands with this series.