Wednesday, July 31, 2019

BeastBOX: Dio BB-01BPD

I don't remember where I first heard of 52Toys' series of transforming robots, BeastBOX, but after picking up my first one on Amazon I'm hooked. I still don't much about 52Toys, who they are, where are they based, etc., however their product seems to be being picked up by more and more retailers online. This is a good thing because these are great little "deskbots" for the office if nothing else.

Dio is the first release in the series and this version is just one of many variations of the cute little velociraptor available. Dio comes in a small cube window box with a small box flap. The packaging has a matte feel and is rather simple. The back of the box contains the transformation instructions...which is just 4 steps, as well as small thumbnails of three other molds available (at that time).

The sides of the box has a series of images of the figure going from the it's "box" mode to animal mode. The bottom right corner of the box has a hexagon shaped grid that shows Dio's traits. This is basically the same as a Transformers' Tech Specs.

The other side of the box has a lot of text which I can't read as well as the product's barcode.

I didn't really notice this insert inside the box behind the product until I opened the box. This removable cardboard "internal structure" insert is a very nice touch by 52Toys.

I know what you may be thinking. "What's so special about a robot that transforms into a box?". I said the same thing as a kid when I first saw Rock Lords on the shelves. However once I was given my first Rock Lord (Magmar...which I was immediately reminded of after opening Dio) I fell in love with the quirky toy. The same applies to BeastBox. There is just a charm about this toy that's hard to describe.

Dio forms a small box, or cube if you will that measures about two inches across either side. It's pretty amazing how the designers were able to engineer a velociraptor transforming into such a small package. In the box form you can see bits and pieces of the dino if you look carefully. I love the deco on this particular version of Dio, the black and white looks so great. Throw in the touches of red and blue, along with the various logos and this is one of the best looking versions of Dio released to date. Well at least in my opinion.

I only have a few BeastBOX figures thus far, but I'm 99.9% sure that the Dio mold is the smallest in the series. Here he is beside Elephinx, one I bought second hand to sate my curiosity.

Transformation is just four steps and is really easy. Dio is more articulated than I would have imagined. While there isn't much to him, his hips are on ball joints, while the feet swivel (thanks to the transformation) giving the figure rocker like joints. The neck allows the head to be lifted or dropped, depending on how you want to pose him. The head can turn 360 degrees and the lower jaw can open and close. The tail simple moves up and down. Like a velioraptor, Dio has small arms with claws that fold out from his body. They are very tiny, but they do have a small range of movement.

The overall design and look of Dio is fantastic. I love the head sculpt, especially the eyes. It was until later that I noticed the other version of Dio I purchased had a different sculpted eyes. The whole figure is fun to mess around with. I told someone else that if I didn't work from home, Dio, or any other BeastBOX would be my new favorite "deskbot". To date there are a lot of different versions of this mold and while I'd love to own them all, some of them aren't the easiest to find online. There is also a new version 1.5 that is being released soon. This one appears to have a gun mounted on the dino's back. I'll definitely have to check that one out!

Dio runs anywhere from $12 to $18 USD at most online retailers. If you're interested and want to check one out head over to Amazon, BigBadToyStore or HLJ or Hobby Search.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Transformers Legends: Fortress Maximus LG-31

Growing up in the 80's I was a huge fan of both the Transformers toys and the cartoon. While I was blessed to own several great G1 Transformers toys, my interested started to change and I drifted away from the line before the giant Headmaster Fortress Maximus toy was released. Needless to say I started to collect the toys from my childhood, Fort Max was one of many toys I had my eye on.

While I eventually would be able to pick up a loose G1 Fort Max body and begin to piece it together, I was equally excited to hear the mammoth figure would be returning in 2016. Then the pictures of the Hasbro version would hit the 'net and I lost a little bit of that excitement. The paint apps chosen just didn't float my boat and I began debating if I wanted to even bother with the giant figure. Then Takara Tomy came and saved the day.

Takara Tomy's Legends series of Transformers would sadly be the last line (as of today's date) where their releases would differ from what Hasbro was offering in the West and other parts of the world. No longer after this series would the Japanese releases feature a premium deco *sigh* or feature more of a cartoon accurate deco. However if this would be the last line to feature this premium "upgrade" of sorts I'm glad that Fortress Maximus was included in the line. The changes made by Takara Tomy were enough to re-ignite the excite enough to import this big guy.

Some of the larger releases in the Legends line featured windowless boxes, but this gave more room on the packaging to feature stunning artwork in both horizontal and vertical orientation. The packaging was one of my favorite aspects of the Legends line itself.

One side of the box offered a near 1:1 view of the figure itself, while the other side featured more artwork. When you line up the art side of the Legends boxes it makes a wonderful Transformers collage!

Fortress Maximus comes housed in a large cardboard tray, with Fortress, his Transtector unit and the Master Sword accessory in 3 parts. This is the same sword that was included with Hasbro's 2016 SDCC exclusive.

Speaking of the Master Sword it's a rather sweet accessory and really big! Here you can see the sword propped up behind Legends Chop Shop.

The Legends release of Fortress Maximus would see the smaller Headmaster retooled to resemble his Headmasters cartoon appearance. This was another reason I decided to take the plunge and import.

Fortress, the head of Fortress Maximus, is just a tad larger than his fellow Cybertron Headmaster (deluxe) figures. Just has the smaller Headmaster was changed to better resemble Fortress' appearance in the Headmaster television show, so has the rest of the figure. Gone are the darker shades of gray used in the Hasbro/SDCC version and replaced with lighter shades of gray. If you ever see these two figures side by the side the differences are very easy to spot and helps makes the figures look like the two different characters they are.

Japanese voice actor, Ikuya Sawaki, provided the voice of Fortress. When you press the head down one of several recorded phrases can be heard (in Japanese) such as "Head On!", "Transform!", "I am Cybertron Supreme Commander" and more. There is even a snippet of the very catchy Transformers Headmasters television theme song. I did my best to capture these phrases, including the song sample.

In head mode, Fortress' features a lighter grey deco (almost white) in the face area. The two side crests are also blue where as they are a dark gray on the other releases.

I thought it would be fun to compare and contrast Fortress and his Headmaster with their G1 counterparts. I didn't have a lot of room to work with a figure as large as Fort Max so these are the only comparison photos I have.

I don't usually photograph large toys the size of Fortress Maximus so I had to take a few shots outside of the light box. 

Fortress Maximus is a heavy re-tool of Generations Metroplex, so if you are familiar with that toy then you know what you're getting with this mammoth Headmaster. The figure is well articulated for it's size and the new Master Sword accessory is awesome. My favorite aspect of this figure however is it's G1 deco. I just couldn't get past the deco on the Hasbro/SDCC version, especially the red trim around the leg cannons. All of the colors blend so well together in this version of the character that there is no mistake who this is...well at least to Transformer fans.

Even with the G1 version of Fortress Maximus, I never cared too much for his alternate modes. The designer of this figure did a good job at re-purposing Metroplex and his city mode for Fortress' city and battle modes. While a toy's play pattern may not be as important to me, I'm glad that this figure does offer different styles of play if you so wish. For example, you can put the small Headmaster figure at the helm of a cannon here in base mode.

The battle mode (or whatever it's proper name is) is rather plain in my eyes, however kudos for the inclusion of the side mounted heli pad. I should point out if you haven't already noted that my Fortress Maximus is "naked" as I opted not to spend half my summer applying the stickers!

If you're so inclined to purchase this version of Fort Max be prepared to spend $150-$200 depending on where you shop. At the time of this post there have been a few of the Legends versions sale in this range on eBay. Of course if you want to purchase him new several of the larger TF e-tailers such as TFSource.