Thursday, February 28, 2013

Visionaries: Cryotek

Ever since I moved my toy, comic, trading card and video game collection into a larger room in the house I've been looking for ways to decorate the few bare spots left on the walls.  Using my sealed G.I. Joe 25th Anniversary collection of Cobra figures, I created a wall paper like border that almost completely wraps around all 4 walls in the room.  I had a little space left however and I wanted to showcase something else.  After looking at some of the card artwork Hasbro used for their Visionaries line of figures I knew I wanted to take a closer luck.  It didn't take too long before I grabbed all 4 of the evil Darkling Lords to display on my wall - still in their original carded beauty.  Why stop with the bad guys though I asked myself.  Why not go for the Spectral Knights as well.  This process has proved a bit tougher, but I did finally land my first carded Knight...Cryotek.

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I decided to not make these pictures too small so you could appreciate the awesome artwork.  I don't know what it is about that bear, but man is this some great looking packaging!  The biggest kick I got out of seeing this in person was the old Kay Bee price tag still left on the card.  I sure wish I had a time machine so I could've grabbed all the figures at the clearance price of $2.00 each!  Sadly I can't remove the price tag without causing damage to the backing card so I just left it on.

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The back of the blister card is just as impressive as the front in my opinion.  At the top is a file card that gives a little info on the character as well as his mystical hologram powers.  The personality power comes from the hologram on the character's chest armor while the totem power comes from their staff.  I know holograms aren't state of the art now like they were back in the day, but I'm still impressed with the way Hasbro pulled these off.

The middle of the blister card has the awesome castle that sadly was never made into a toy.  I believe Hasbro had plans, but due to high production costs the subsequent toys were canceled.  The bottom of the card shows off the 4 Spectral Knights and the 4 Darkling Lords.

I've got one or two loose Visionaries figures that I plan on sharing at some point in the near future, but for now that's about it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hot Wheels: HW Showroom Corvette

Anytime I can find a Hot Wheels Corvette that I don't already own is a chance for me to bring home a new car.  I don't really follow the die-cast scene like I did at one point in time, but that doesn't mean I don't scour the pegs at my local retail stores hoping to find something new.

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The packaging didn't give a year or model, but from the stamp underneath the car it's a 2009 ZR1.  Candy apple red with white wheels...yes please!

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This is one of my favorite Corvette models and the red and white just made it that much more attractive to me.  The 10 spoke wheels look great in white.  This is by far my favorite release of the ZR1 that I currently own.

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red beats silver

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Marvel Universe: Scarlet Witch

Hasbro's Marvel Universe line of 3 3/4" figures has been hit and miss with me.  When the line first started several years ago I found myself buying all of the figures I could get my hands on.  The loose joints that plagued some of the early figures or the lack of accessories didn't really seem to bother me.  While the toys have vastly been improved, I started to loose interest in the line when I decided to cut out reading just about all monthly comics.  I would still stop and look at some of the new figures I'd find at retail, but I hadn't felt compelled to buy any of them...and then I saw the Scarlet Witch.  The first one I found suffered from horrible paint apps around the head and face.  Thankfully though I'd find another one several weeks later and decided to pull the trigger.

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The packaging really hasn't changed much since the line's inception.  The pack in item started off as a S.H.I.E.L.D. ID card and dossier, then latter changed to H.A.M.M.E.R. card and dossier following the big story lines from the Marvel comics.  Eventually this was dropped in favor of figure stands and now what they call a collectible comic shot.

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Yeah, I don't get the purpose of these small pieces of cardboard either.  At least the old ID cards were trading card size and featured larger artwork.

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Scarlet Witch features the now standard female body sculpt.  For the most part I don't mind this mold.  It's super articulated - head, shoulders, elbows, wrists, torso, thighs, knees and ankles - all points of articulation.  Even the head sculpt is nicely done.  I like how her hair flows over her headpiece onto the side of her face.  Colors are pretty spot on too to how she appears in the comics.  I don't know about you, but I wouldn't mind seeing a figure of Wanda in her gypsy looking costume from the Heroes Return / George Perez days from the comic.

The cape is one large sculpted piece of soft plastic.  I didn't try, but I'm sure you can pop off her head to remove the cape.  Overall I think the cape looks great, but the only problem I have with it is that it's a tad long.  Even with Wanda's legs completely straightened out I found the cape kept her feet from firmly standing on the ground.

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This long cape does help you pull off some "levitating" action shots however so perhaps this isn't such a bad thing after all.  Her lone accessory is this red blob that fits over her hand.  I'm guessing it's supposed to be a hex tell me.  Overall I'm pleased with this figure and I'm glad I decided to pick her up.  She'll go nicely with my cast of other Marvel Universe Avengers characters.

Monday, February 25, 2013

DiaRobo: Kurucross DR-0006

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As much as I love the DiaRobo line, I finally found a release that I just don't care for.  Even when I saw the early pictures I wasn't crazy for this release.  It's not because the alt mode doesn't look cool.  It just didn't have that wow factor that the others had.  The mold is offered in both yellow and blue.  I went with yellow hoping that it might be cooler than I expected.

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One of the best things about the DiaRobo toys are that the vehicles are modeled after real life licensed cars.  Kurucross is a Toyota FJ Cruiser.  Other than the rear bear feet hanging down a bit from underneath, the alt mode is very nice looking and could almost pass for a regular Hotwheels or Matchbox release.

The paint apps unfortunately are a little on the sloppy side as you can see.  The plastic used is a thinner, lighter plastic than what you normally see, but it is on par with the other DiaRobo releases.

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The good news is the alt mode isn't as bad as I thought it may be, but it still isn't great.  Kukucross does feature a more complex transformation than some of other figures I own.  It almost pulls off hiding a bear inside an SUV.  There were two beasts in the first wave of toys and sadly the ambulance/t-rex release is the best of the beasts.  By the way, the t-rex will be featured very soon.

If you are a completionist then go right ahead, but if you are cherry picking the line you may want to skip Kukucross in favor of picking up some of the others.  If you are wanting to pick up a few of these check out  The listings may say they are out of stock, but they seem to get them in fairly often.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Maz interviews the guy behind the blog

January of 2012 I was interviewed by a local news station solely because I had a large Transformers collection.  While that was a great experience and I love how the interview turned out, I was still being interviewed by people that don't collect.  The interview was part of a television show that would reach people that also don't collect.  While I did get some positive feedback, it mostly went unnoticed...or so it seems.

Flash forward to a few months ago and I was approached by Maz.  He writes for TFSource's blog and among the many topics he writes about, collector's get the spotlight once a month.  He also has an excellent TF site of his own called TF-1.  I was honored (and surprised) that someone of my meager status would be selected.  I proceeded to answer his questions and submitted a few pictures to him upon his request.  To be completely honest I forgot about the interview as I've been so busy with the holidays, work, family and of course working on content for this blog.  Just in the last few days did Maz contact me again letting me know the interview was almost done and ready to be posted.

How did it turn out you may ask?  Well, why not read it HERE for yourself!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Transformers G1: Skywave C-340

While digging around in my closet the other day I ran across a few Transformers that I forgot that I had. Yes, I have so many freakin' toys it's hard to keep up with them all!

Most long time G1 Transformers fans will recognize this toy by his American name, Flattop, one of the Decepticon Micromaster Transports. However in Japan he is known as Skywave. Like most of the Micromaster toys released in Japan during Zone, he is a Cybertron (Autobot).

The packaging is awesome, but where it really shines for me is on the back of the box. Instead of having an elaborate battle scene featuring gorgeous artwork as in past series', we are treated with an awesome "Autobot city" of actual Micromaster toys. I love how Takara even worked in Metroplex into the scene. I've always dreamed of taking my Micromaster toys and doing something similar. Perhaps one day I'll get up off my duff and actually make my own huge Micromaster city.

When it comes to the toy, Skywave is identical to the U.S. release of Flattop. Since my Skywave specimen is still sealed, I'll use Flattop to get a closer look at the toy.

Just for clarification, Skywave/Flattop is the small Micromaster jet and not the aircraft carrier. I've always thought this was one of the best Micromaster transports out there, even if the scale is a little off.

Skywave/Flattop transforms from a very awesome little jet into a robot. Unlike a lot of Micromaster jets, the rear tail fins of the jet don't form the robot's feet. This means the robot can stand up without much assistance. The robot arms double as the jet's missiles, but he has defined fists and the arms can rotate a full 360 degrees. This is easily one of my favorite Micromaster toys.

Skywave/Flattop's transport goes from an aircraft carrier to a jet. Where have I have seen this before? Oh, that's right - the Autobot Triple Changer Broadside. Transformation is quite easy. Flip the carrier over and spread the landing deck to form the jet's wings. Flip out the back tail section and remove the cannons. Snap the cannons onto the wings and flip up the black handle bar. Ta-dah!

There is a small peg in the jet's "cockpit" that allows the Micromaster figure to snap into place. Now why would a Transformer that has a jet as it's alt mode need a jet transport is beyond my comprehension, but it's still a fun toy.

Seeing how Skywave and Flattop are exactly the same toy, I can't recommend that you go out and hunt down Skywave. I bought Skywave a very long time ago when prices on vintage TFs were uber cheap. If my entry is correct then I only paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $20. Man I miss those days!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

SilverHawks: Mon*Star

I've been wanting to get around to this review for a long time.  While I never had any of the SilverHawks toys as a kid, I loved watching the old cartoon.  For those of you that don't know, the SilverHawks were basically the intergalactic space version of the Thundercats.  The same pair that created Thundercats expanded their talents and created the Galaxy of Limbo, set in the 29th century, and created the crime fighting SilverHawks.  Even many of the same voice actors lent their voices to the new animated series.

On the toy front, LJN - the company responsible for the Thundercats toys, was set to produce the auction figures and vehicles.  At the last minute however LJN pulled out for unknown reasons.  Kenner stepped in and took over...with mixed results.  The SilverHawks toy line is rather small and most of the action figures aren't that hard to come across, but the vehicles are a whole different story.  For that reason alone good luck to any collector that has their sights on collecting the entire line.

The SilverHawk's enemies in the series were a group of space mobsters if you will, led by Mon*Star.  The similarities with him and the Thundercats' Mumm-Ra have to be intentional.  First of all Mon*Star has two humanoid forms.  In his "normal or powered down" form he often is shown sitting upon a throne.  He can at whim transform himself into a more powerful, armored, version of himself.  The animation sequence of this transformation also shares many designs as Mumm-Ra going from his mummy self to his powered up state.

Kenner tried their best to capture this transformation in action figure form, but it falls a little short.  Let's take a closer look at the figure.

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Like the SilverHawk characters, Mon*Star comes packaged with his own bird (or bat) creature that doubles as a weapon, Sky Shadow.  More on that later.  Mon*Star seems to have some feline characteristics while in his normal form.  Normally the rest of his body isn't all armored up and features darker shades of red.  His hair is also much larger, but due to the transformation gimmick I'm sure Kenner had to trim this back on the head sculpt.

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Like with LJN's Thundercats toys, Kenner's SilverHawk toys usually featured some sort of auction feature built into the toy.  For Mon*Star when you squeeze his legs together his chest and back panels opens up and reveals the powered up, armored head.  Using a spring, the new head flips up into place.  Mon*Star pulls off this transformation by using beams from the Limbo's Moonstar.  During the transformation he utters these words a la He-Man:

"Moonstar of Limbo, give me the might, the muscle, the menace, of MON*STAR!"

Pretty cool, huh? By the way, the same voice actor (Earl Hammond) that voice Mon*Star also voiced Mumm-Ra if you couldn't figure that out from the above video clip.

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Now we're talking!  Now he looks much more menacing, don't you think?  While I love the character design, the gimmick really hampers this toy.  If you look carefully the figure is built using two different types of plastic.  The arms, lower legs and head(s) are cast of a softer plastic while the center portion of the figure is a more traditional hard plastic.  For this reason I'm guessing that explains the difference in the shades of red.  Being a 1980's action figure you can probably guess that articulation is almost nonexistent.  His arms can rotate a full 360 degrees and you can just barely get his legs to bend out straight to make him sit.

Mon*Star was given his own personal ride, the Sky Runner, a squid hybrid space craft.  However the toy seems to be extremely hard to find these days.

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So we go from Mon*Star looking like this on the left, to this on the right.  Big difference.  It also doesn't help that the paint apps applied to the face on the left are horribly sloppy.

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Mon*Star's companion is the bat Sky Shadow.  The toy is roughly the same size as the birds that come with the various SilverHawk characters.  Not really a whole lot more to say about this.

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Sky Shadow's head ever so slightly pulls out and "locks" into place.  When the head is depressed the wings pop forward in a pinching form.

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I don't recall Mon*Star using Sky Shadow as much in the cartoon as say the SilverHawks Tally Hawk was used, but at least you can clip him onto Mon*Star's wrist for display purposes.

When it comes to a recommendation I'm a little on the fence.  It's not a bad action figure, but isn't that great either.  If you are a fan of the series then you'll probably like it, otherwise I can think of better 80's action figures to spend your hard earned money on.

I've got a few more SilverHawks figures that I eventually plan on sharing, so if you liked this post let me know and perhaps I'll bump up the next review higher up in my que.

Friday, February 15, 2013

GI Joe Retaliation: Cobra Trooper

After a near one year delay the second live action G.I. Joe film, Retaliation is slated for release next month.  With the movie comes more toys from Hasbro.  I grabbed a few figures last year when the first two waves were available at retail before Hasbro recalled the toys after the announcement was made that the move was being pushed back to 2013.  I can't believe that it's taken me this long to finally get around to taking a look at the new Cobra Trooper.

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I'm not sure what to make of the new packaging.  While it's much brighter in color than the Rise of Cobra toys were, I don't care for the image of Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson being plastered on everything!  At least the figure inside the packaging looks cool.

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The back of the blister card is much better, although there isn't as much character specific info as I'd like to see.

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Stripping the figure of it's webgear and accessories will give you a good look at the figure's construction.  Like all G.I. Joe figures, the figure is a frankenstein; using parts from previous figures to form a new figure.  I believe the head sculpt is new, but I swear it looks familiar.

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In addition to the real working parachute, the Cobra Trooper is also given two sets of webgear, a helmet, black pistol and a semi-automatic rifle.

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The parachute webgear easily attaches to the figure, however I never took the time to attach the actual parachute.  I figured it would be cumbersome and get in the way when trying to display the figure on my shelves.

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The parachute itself is made of a nylon like material and is rather large.  I love the huge, red Cobra symbol.  If I was a kid I'd be all over this toy, throwing him up in the air and watching him float down.  First thing I wondered when I saw this toy was if the Official G.I. Joe Collector's Club would be using this figure as a part of their annual parachute figure drop?

From what I've seen of the Retaliation toys thus far I like.  It appears that Hasbro is making an effort to combine some classic elements of the A Real American Hero toy line with the modern movie elements.  I doubt I'll be buying much from the line this year as I'm trying to keep my focus on Transformers, but I'm glad I grabbed this figure last year.  I may eventually grab one more to keep sealed and add it to my Cobra collection I have displayed around the top of my toy room.  Fun stuff.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Brave Express Might Gaine: Hiryu

While there wasn't much going on in the world of Transformers in 1994, Takara was pushing ahead making toys based on the varied Brave anime series. The enemy of the Brave Express Might Gaine series was a character called Hiryu and he just happened to a recolored Sonic Bomber from Transformers Zone!  Ever since I learned of this 15 years ago I had been in search of this toy.  I eventually found a seller on the message boards and I went back and forth trying to strike a deal for the toy.  Some time has passed since I acquired this piece, but I'm finally glad to be able to share it here on the blog.

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Like a lot of other Japanese Takara toys, this is the Koren release by Sonokong.  I would have preferred the original Japanese packaging, but hey, beggers can't be too picky.

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On the back of the box you get a good look at all three of Hiryu's forms - robot, jet & Micromaster base.  You can also see that he can still merge with Dai Atlas, known as Goryu in the series.

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Hiryu exchanges his black/white/orange color scheme from Transformers Zone for a more evil looking red/black/yellow look.  I apologize for not giving you a comparison shot w/ Sonic Bomber as the different colors really make a difference with an otherwise unaltered mold.  I'm not sure which version I prefer better.

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Hiryu does have the same Micromaster that was included with Sonic Bomber, but to my knowledge he is unnamed.  Transformation for both Hiryu and his Micromaster are the exact same as their TF counterparts.

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While the darker colors may make him look more like a villain, the head sculpt doesn't help solidify this.  The face just looks too honorable to be a villain.

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While the robot mode suffers from G1 brick syndrome, the jet alt mode is where this toy really shines in my opinion.  While the jet is a tad on the simplistic side, I love it.  Sleek design with very little to no undercarriage kibble that a lot of transforming jets and planes usually have.  Plus I love the color red.  The seller I bought the toy from had already applied the Decepticon symbol...and I really like it.  I wouldn't mind seeing this guy go toe to toe with Starscream!

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Hiryu's base alt mode is OK.  It's the exact same as Sonic Bombers, however there aren't any other Micromaster bases to hook up to Hiryu.  At least he has the little Porsche you can still launch down the ramps.

Comparison time!  While I forgot to take pics of Hiryu and Sonic Bomber in robot mode, here are a few I did snap.

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I tend to stay away from buying straight repaints these days, but this is one that I don't mind essentially owning twice.  It's a fun mold and by adding the Decepticon symbols I feel as if it's different enough.  One day I wouldn't mind grabbing his evil partner, Goryu as well, but he seems even harder to find...well at least at a decent price.

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