Friday, November 30, 2012

Thundercats: Lion-O (6 inch)

When Bandai resurrected the Thundercats line of toys they opted to released (most of) the main cast in two different scales for the modern series - 4 inch and 6 inch.  Growing up a fan of G.I. Joe I initially gravitated towards the 4 inch figures.  They were smaller so they took up less space.  Cheaper so they were more friendly towards my wallet.  They also interacted with several of the vehicles that later came.  The 6 inch figures sported more articulation, but since I suck at posing action figures I only picked up a few.

With the series being officially dead you can find both scales heavily discounted.  While it's sad to see the line die, I'm glad I can finally pick up a few of the figures I never got around to now for a deal.  Lion-O in the 6 inch scale was one of those I originally passed on.


Not all of the 6 inch figures came with accessories, but Lion-O comes with a fair amount of gear.  Of course you get the Sword of Omens, but it comes in two sizes!  You also get to different claw shields.  The silver piece of shoulder armor actually comes attached to the figure in the package, but it's removable.


The smaller claw shield can attach to his side via a thin plastic piece.  Just like in the show (and in the old days) it also acts as an holster for the Sword of Omens.  Once attached it's rather bulky and prevents Lion-O from standing with his arms down by his side.


The larger Sword of Omens is made of a soft plastic, but thankfully it came out of the package without being warped.  The Thundercats logo on the eye of Thundera is nicely painted.  The other claw shield can be wielded by popping off the hand just below the elbow.  The arms feature a ball like peg that allow the pieces to be interchangeable, but man are they hard to pop back on.  I don't know if you have to line it up perfectly, hold your mouth in a certain fashion or just pray really hard to get the hand/claw shield to pop on snuggly.  I'm sure this would probably get easier with continuous use, but I had a very hard time with this.


The quality on these figures has been hit and miss, but overall Lion-O seems pretty solid.  The head sculpt looks great and the paint applications are nicely done.


Like most modern action figures, Lion-O sports a great amount of articulation.  Most of the joints used in the construction of the figure are of the hinge variety, but if you are skill at posing figures then I'm sure you will be able to strike some better poses than me!

The only common complaint about Lion-O is that Bandai opted not to color the black pins used in the various joints.  While the shoulder and wrist pins may blatantly stand out, the others seem to blend in better.  For me this is a non-issue as once I had the figure in hand my eyes quickly glossed over the black pins.

Outside of finding a 6 inch Tygra and Mumm-Ra I'm done with this scale.  Now that everything is said and done I really wished that Bandai had picked one scale and focused all their attention to it rather than spreading things out as they did.  The 6 inch figures are superior to the 4 inch figures in every way so it's a shame that all of the characters didn't get this treatment.  Make sure to keep your eyes open at discount stores such as Marshall's, Ross or TJ Maxx for this and other discounted Thundercats figures.


"Sword of Omens, give me sight beyond sight."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Beast Saga: Boosters - Series 1

When people discovered the blind packaged Boosters in TakaraTomy's Beast Saga line would consist of translucent figures, a lot of fans weren't happy.  I think part of the reason is there wasn't any solid information solicited about the Boosters and some people bought a case...only to end up with a lot of duplicates and (in some cases) figures they just didn't care about.

I was on the fence.  If I'm going to drop $6-8 on a single figure I'd rather have a new unique least that's what I thought.  Once I had Moriku in my hands I fell in love with that little bat.  I knew I wanted his Booster figure.  I sought one out for just about the same price I paid for the regular figure.  Then I stumbled across two others from the same seller.



Thankfully I wasn't thrilled by all of the Beast Saga figures.  Some of them I just decided to skip over all together.  Dorufan & Bamed were two of those.  However the same guy that had Moriku had them and I got them for super cheap.


In hindsight I'm glad I got 'em.  The Booster versions of each look so much better in my opinion than their regular painted counterparts.  Both animals seem so passive to be in a series called Beast Saga so who knew a armored parakeet would be so cool?! 

I do have one small complaint about Dorufan - his weapons.  His shield is a new piece which is OK, but his sword - the plastic is so soft that it is horribly warped.  I'll have to try some boiling water or the hair dryer trick and see if I can resolve this problem.  Bamed comes with a new shield as well, but re-uses the lance type weapon that Eredoramu came with.

All of these figures look stellar with a proper light source is shown through the figure.  I doubt I'll seek many other Booster figures out because let's face it - both money and display space are at a premium these days!  However if you want to roll the dice (figuratively) and take a chance they aren't that bad looking.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Transformers Generations Asia (GDO) exclusive: Decepticon Brawl

A lot of the attention of these Asian exclusive Generations figures have been on the deluxe and voyager scales.  So much in fact that I nearly forgot about the new scouts and almost overlooked them several weeks ago at retail.  Most of the them I could care less for...maybe that's why I didn't think to look for them.  However I'm so glad I decided to pick up Brawl.


10-29-12012   10-29-12013


Decepticon Brawl, or Brawl as I'll refer to him is an armored personal carrier (APC), but oddly enough resembles IDW's least in vehicle mode.  The toy itself is a repaint of Reveal the Shield Breacher, which is one of the main reasons I decide to buy this figure.

The APC mode looks fantastic in olive green.  There is a lot of sculpted detail, sadly most of it isn't painted.  However the few paint apps are nicely done - from the two purple Decepticon insignias on the front to the awesome "D67" on the sides.  This is a nice homage to his Japanese G1 Combatron D-67 release.  The turret on the top does rotate a full 360 degrees and the clip on black dual gun can elevate up.


For such a small figure he is loaded with articulation.  He is covered in ball joints which give him excellent range of motion in all of him limbs.  The paint on the figure looks equally as impressive in robot mode as it does in vehicle mode.  It has a flat finish, but looks oh so good in hand.  Probably my favorite aspect about this toy is the gun and how it attaches.  The gun itself has a clip on the underside.  On the back side of each fist is a small bar allowing the gun to be clipped on.


Depending on how you articulate the arm you can have him wield his weapon to the side or up right in a more traditional way.


Brawl uses the same exact head as Breacher's, but what a different a few color changes make.  I love gold on this forehead/crest and the red on the lower portion of the face.  Even without the Decepticon symbols his guy just screams bad guy.


I loved Breacher so it should come as no surprise that I love this figure as well...probably more.  Both are great figures and at least one of these deserves a spot in your TF collection.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Masters of the Universe Classics: Clawful

The Masters of the Universe Classics line has done a great job updating characters and in some cases merging the designs of the vintage and 200X toys into one.  Clawful, unfortunately, wasn't one of those.



As a whole Clawful isn't a bad looking figure at all.  I love how the red crustacean skin slowly fades into the human flesh.  The large crab shell on the back is a very nice touch as well.  The large articulated claw is very cool, but the head...the head!  When I see this version of Clawful I can't escape his lame voice from the cartoon reverberating in my head.  Too bad the Four Horsemen didn't use more of his excellent 200X design they captured in NECA's "staction figure".

picture courtesy of
This is my preferred look for the character.  The long arms and the hunched over look give him a much more powerful and menacing look.  He also looks more crustacean and less human.


Clawful comes packaged with a shell shield and his green mace...very similar to the accessories his vintage figure came with.  He features the standard articulation that most of the MOTUC figures have.  Unlike some of the characters that have capes or other appenditures, Clawful will stand on his own without assistance.  He makes a good shelf filler if you're building an army for Skeletor, but there are better figures in the line if you're looking to pick up another villain.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thundercats: Armor of Omens w/ Lion-O

The modern Thundercats line of toys by Bandai left a lot to be desired by many.  I was super excited when I heard that the 'cats were coming back and I anxiously hit several stores last year waiting to find the new toys.  I ended up buying several figures from both the 4 inch and 6 inch scale.  However I quickly fell behind watching the new cartoon and lost a little of my excitement.  It wasn't long after that I heard rumors the series was coming to a close.  Toys started to disappear from retail shelves and so I wrote the series off.  Lately however I've started to see the toys on deep clearance which is great for my wallet.  The Armor of Omens was one of these clearance purchases I made.



Standing in the store I thought "why not?".  Then I started to have buyer's remorse before I got him out of the box.  He looks cool in the packaging, but he also looked like a big golden brick!  I only saw a little bit of the episode where Lion-O first activated the Armor of Omens so I was a little cloudy about this toy.  For those of you that never saw the armor in the new cartoon here is a little clip:

After standing in the aisle long enough I finally convinced myself to go ahead with the purchase.  In hindsight I'm really glad I got off the fence because this surprisingly is a pretty cool figure.



The armor (or figure) stands approximately 12 inches tall.  The figure is cast in gray plastic with the armor bits painted gold.  The feline face on the chest is gold plated.  There is some slight assembly out of the box - you have to snap on the brown "hair" on the back of the head and attach the tail.

When it comes to the Bandai Thundercats toys they seem to be hit and miss.  Seems as if Bandai hit with this release.  There is a good bit of sculpted detail on the armor.  Because of it's play feature there isn't a lot of articulation; which I know will be a major turn off for a lot of collectors.  The head and rotate a full 360 degrees, but you'll have to lift up the arms as the shoulder armor prevents the head from turning as is.  The arms rotate 360 degrees at the shoulders and the elbows are hinge joints.  The forearms surprisingly swivel giving the arms more range of motion than I would've guessed.  Below the waist there isn't any moving parts...bummer.

If you notice on the back of the figure you can see a small on/off switch just above the tail.  When you switch the toy on the toy can make several sword slashing sounds.


The gold chrome lion chest lifts up and the midsection folds down to reveal a cockpit of sorts to insert the included gold Lion-O figure.  Presumably you could use the regular Lion-O figure as well, but I haven't tried it...I'm lazy.  Like many of the other toys in the series, the Thunder Lynx magnet on the back of the figure is what activates the toys gimmick.  Once you place the figure inside and close the panels, the eyes light up and flash red and you hear "Thundercats...Hoooo!".  


The included Lion-O figure is cast entirely in gold plastic and features 8 points of articulation.  No accessories for the figure are included since it's main purpose is to be placed inside the Armor of Omens.


The one accessory included is a huge Sword of Omens.  The sword is cast in a very soft plastic and in some cases can come out of the packaging warped.  I'm sure this could easily be straightened out using a hair dryer or some boiling water.  Thankfully mine came out pretty flat and straight and I hope it stays that way.  My only complaint about the sword is the eye on the sword's hilt isn't painted.

Overall I've enjoyed most of the Thundercats toys Bandai released, but this piece particularly surprised me.  While I loved paying 75% of the MSRP, I kinda hate that I missed out on this toy for so long.  It's really a shame though that Mumm-Ra's suit of armor was never made.  If you have a chance to score this on clearance or for a decent price (check Ross, Marshall's or TJ Maxx) then go ahead.  It's one of the last toys released and have it's own special charm.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Transformers 3rd Party: Toy World - Grind Rod TW-T01

Trying to keep up with all of the new third party Transformer releases can make the head spin of even a veteran collector.  Toy World is still relatively new to the third party Transformers market with only having one release under their belt...that being the awesome G1 inspired Megatron figure, Hegemon.  Oddly enough I thought I'd have Hegemon reviewed here by now, but Toy World's next release is here and it's one I've been highly anticipating since I first saw pictures in April during Botcon.

The popular trend has been taking G1 characters and giving them proper modern day makeovers or upgrades.  Hasbro and Takara started this trend several years ago with the Classics line and now small third party companies are stepping in to continue the trend.  This is where Toy World comes in.  They decided to tackle giving the 6 G1 Throttlebots a proper update.  Now who on the face of the planet saw this coming?!  What an odd, but awesome choice of characters to select.






Grind Rod - better known as Rollbar in G1 comes packaged in a nice green window box that is slightly bigger than an Alternity box.  I hated the packaging Hegemon came in so this is a nice improvement in my book.  The cardboard used for the box is thin, but the quality of the plastic used for the front window is nice and thick and shouldn't crumple or dent very easily.  The bottom of the box showcases the next release, Aurora (Searchlight), which according to Toy World's website is slated for release in 2012.  We'll see about that.

GrindRod006   GrindRod007

I know it's geeky of me to get excited about getting a tech specs style trading card, but I love it!  Similar to iGear's cards these are printed in thick plastic with rounded corners.  Sadly Toy World didn't write a new bio for Grind Rod, but they did give him some number rankings.  These rankings by the way are different (mostly higher) than his G1 counterpart.







Right out of the box the first thing I noticed was how solid this toy feels.  There isn't any die-cast metal parts so the toy isn't necessarily heavy, but it does have some weight to it.  This tells me that the plastic used is of good quality.  Another thing many may first notice is the shade of green.  G1 Rollbar was more of a muted olive green where as Grind Rod has a light metallic brighter green.  Some may be disappointed with the final color, but it's a non-issue for me.

Grind Rod retains his jeep form from his G1 days - this time being a modern hardtop jeep.  By looking at the vehicle head on there is no denying a real world Jeep brand was used as the model.  I wonder if Jeep could go after Toy World for this dead on resemblance? 

The paint apps in vehicle mode are nicely done.  I love the small touches added as well such as the "hinges" molded onto the back of the vehicle that would serve as the swinging bracket for the rear mounted spare tire.  Flip the vehicle over and you've got what appears to be silver shocks and struts on the front axle.  Also of note is most of the robot bits are well concealed.


Before we get to the robot mode let's look at one other thing.  It has been officially confirmed by Toy World that the 6th and final release will come with combiner parts to merge all 6 "not-Throttlebots" together.  I could care less for this feature as the figure itself is more than worth the price of admission, but who knows - Toy World may take this combiner idea and knock it out of the park.  I guess only time will tell.  Looking at Grind Rod there are several possibilities for attachments to make him either a leg or an arm.  The most logical use for him as a limb that I could find is a leg/foot.  As part of the transformation, the front grille lifts up and over on top of the hood.  This would make a fairly solid leg.  We'll have to wait until spring or summer of next year before the 5 are released so let the speculation continue on his this combiner will look.


GrindRod017   GrindRod019


Grind Rod had to have some of the tightest joints I have on a new figure in quite some tight.  There were times during the transformation process that I thought something was going to break.  I've still only transformed in a few times, but I can tell things are starting to loosen up a little bit.  His transformation isn't that hard or complex, but the included instructions aren't a lot of help.  I basically had to just pull and gently tug at the front of the vehicle before it became loose enough to pull down to form the legs.  The arm assemblies and head are hidden underneath the center portion of the vehicle.  These too were a little tough to get separated the first time.


I love this new head sculpt.  Toy World did a pretty good job re-creating his original G1 look.  The flat yellow paint used for the bottom of the face blends in great with the green and gray.  He also features some awesome light piping, but I'll touch on that in more detail as I do have a slight problem with it.



Grind Core features a lot of articulation.  I know this will make a lot of people happy.  As I've mentioned in past reviews I'm not the best at posing my figures, so bare with me and my photography skills!  Starting with the lower section, Grind Core's waist can rotate a full 360 degrees.  It's not part of he transformation so I'm not sure why there is such a range of motion on the waist, but it's better than it being static.  The hips are on ball joints and the thighs have a swivel to them.  The knees are actually double jointed so to speak thanks to the transformation process.  Going to the top half of the figure, the shoulders are on ball joints with the hinge joints for the elbows.  The hands can rotate a full 360 degrees as well, but the doors on his forearms get in the way.  The instructions have you lift the doors up and forward, but then they are covering part of the back of the hands.  This also causes a slight problem when Grind Rod is wielding his spare tire weapon.  There are two notches on the back of the tire, but one of them needs to be ever slightly wider to accommodate the door on the forearm.  Not a big issue at all, but worth pointing out none the less.  The head can also be rotated fully around.


I know a lot of people may be wondering how does he scale with other Transformers.  Grind Rod is full own deluxe size as you can see here with my Henkei! Henkei! Hound figure.


This new size of course is a nice upgrade to his diminutive G1 self.  All I need to make him complete now is some Autobot symbol labels.


If I have one complaint about the toy is the "backpack".  What I mean by that is the roof of the vehicle doesn't fully fold in behind the head.  While I'm guessing this was done to recreate the look of the G1 figure, this piece blocks a lot of the light from entering the translucent plastic used on the back of the robot head.  What good is light piping if the light can't properly enter?  I remedied this by taking the piece and removing it from the figure.  It attaches via two small pegs on a gray connector.  Most will find this piece pops off rather easily and often during transformation as you try to tuck it down behind the rear wheel welds.  By flipping this piece upside down and reattaching it you can then lay it down flat.

I like the results.  It gives the figure a more streamlined look and helps the light piping in the head work properly.

I can't begin to express just how pleased I am with this figure.  If Toy World keeps this up with their subsequent releases then we may have a new third party company on par with the likes of Fans Project or MakeToys.  I have noticed the price has crept up to near $70 before shipping from a lot of retailers, but as of the time of this posting you can still get him from Captured Prey for $60 + shipping.  If you've been on the fence about picking this piece up or not then don't put off your purchase any further.  It's a great figure with good craftmanship and quality and a great update to G1 Rollbar to boot.  We have ourselves a winner here people.