Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ravage and Soundwave

Ravage and Soundwave by "Orion Pax"
Ravage and Soundwave a photo by "Orion Pax" on Flickr.
Done by Orion Pax, this custom Lego Soundwave is pretty cool.
He's done some other Transformers that transform too, so check him out if you get the chance.

Post Toy Fair 2011 report

Been really busy, so this one is REALLY late. Sorry guys!

Really cool display
@Diamond select area
Well Toy Fair 2011 is done as of this past Wednesday and it's been an interesting to say the very least. As everyone knows it is an annual event where toy companies come from all over the world to show off their latest wares for the year to come. Thanks to the fact that I am doing some work for a new, small company know as Toy Dungeon Studios, I was fortunate enough to be able to go to this years event. And while I wasn't able to get into showrooms to huge companies like Hasbro, Mattel and Bandai, I was still able to peruse the rest of the event and managed to learn a thing or two that some of the other toys sites missed to didn't take note of.

At the Gamestars Collectibles area, a division of Panache Place (no relation to the company Panosh Place, who made Voltron figures in the 80's), I really got a good look at the figures from Crysis 2. Now I have to admit that I had seen these figures at Target and considered buying them but didn't just because there were other figures/ toys to buy. But actually seeing the whole line of 6 figures there, at Toy Fair, I was actually impressed. Initially I'd only seen the characters in Nano-suits which weren't bad and no aliens but I have to say, the aliens are probably the best part of the line. And they're all in 1:18 or 3.75" scale. So the Heavy assault aliens was really like 5" tall but totally in scale. While I have yet to get any any figures from this line, I think it's definitely worth giving a shot. That's what I plan on doing tomorrow when I go to Target. Plus from the bit of research I've done on the line, they are generally well liked, especially the aliens. Hopefully these do well so that they release the Assassins Creed the rep told the plan on releasing!

Also on the 1:18/ 3.75" scale front, is Jazwares who is working on both Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat lines! The last time I remember a company having both IPs was Hasbro during the 1990's. I'm glad that they are both being produced at the same time by the same company. There's nothing like a good SF Vs. MK match.

Unfortunately what was on display for MK was just what I believe was card art and a pic for the the character from various incarnations of the games. The good news is that they are starting the predominantly with the ninjas. I mean who does love the MK ninjas? Judging by the art on display they are using the MK3 versions for sub-zero, scorpion smoke and reptile. And if you love the cyber ninjas, Jazwares has you covered with a 3 pack!

On the Street Fighter side of things, I believe Jazwares will have an impressive showing. Much like the MK figures they are iin the scale. While most toy sites report that the figures are in the works most fail to report that Jazwares did have "rough" prototypes. I suppose this toy equivalent of a 1st draft of a report. Either way I did see the sculpts and they looked fantastic.  Let me tell you, scale is VERY important to Jazwares. While they only had 5 or 6 figures on display, you could clearly tell who was who just based on size. Sagat was the tallest and bulky like his SF Alpha incarnation, Chun-Li was smaller but with thighs that were obvious that it was here and Bison who smaller than Sagat but bulky also. I REALLY wish I got to take a pics of them but there was NO WAY to take a pics without them knowing.

While I didn't get to visit showrooms to bigger companies, I will give my 2 cents on what was show based on what other sites have reported.

Mega Bloks- while I didn't see much coverage on them I did find pictures on Blok forums and Cool Toy Review. From what both sites had to offer picture-wise, I'm happy with what they had. I believe it's safe to say that Mega Brands (name of the actual company) has impressed Marvel Entertainment, enough to grant them the license for both the Thor and Captain America movies in addition to continuing the Marvel line. It seems that MB is planning to release blind packs of characters for Marvel and hopefully sets to, but I'm happy with mini-figs. I feel that MB is really starting to push to gain more ground from Lego and I believe it's going to work.

Speaking of Lego, their showing was pretty cool. I especially love the new Millennium Falcon. Their games seem pretty cool and I found some cool reviews of them on YouTube. But what I thought was REALLY cool was a game that had a monkey mini-fig. Not too many ppl know this but I love monkeys, and when I saw this game on the outside of their showroom it made me stop in my track just to stare at it. The new Heroica game looks cool and reminds me a bit of Hero Quest. Do you guys remember that game? Their selection of new mini-fig are cool too and I have to make sure I the punk/rocker from the next wave. That mohawk it SO me. Especially since I have one for real.

Mattel, hmm... what can I say about Mattel..? They canceled the Infinite Heroes lines after improving them and then they bring out a Green Lantern line that is barely moving me. Seriously. I LOVE Green Lantern but what they have to offer in the 3.75"/ 1:18 scale is just a bit short of adequate. I mean in this day and age I find it insulting to myself and kids all over the world to offer a figure with 5 points of articulation. While it may have been the norm 20 to 30 years ago, I feel that you're phoning it in when you are the largest toy manufacturer in the world and 5 points of articulation is all you can muster. But then again it is the "kids" line. Ugh... kids aren't stupid Mattel. Either way I'm just going to get the aliens (I really do applaud the choice to add them to the line though.) and I'll think about maybe getting GL himself. As for the Retro-Action line, it looks good, no complaints. Is it me or is Mattel just not with it when it comes to working at smaller scales?

Hasbro- I gotta got say, they have surprised me in two ways. First with Transformers, which virtually no showing from the Generations. I really hope that they continue this line but from past history, I'll assume the worst and expect it to go on hiatus. At best they're holding back and anyone who makes to Cali for Botcon will be treated to a viewing of new figures then.

The second thing that surprised me was Kre-O. This comes to a surprise to me for two reasons. one, because after the Built to Rule line failure, I did not expect Hasbro to get back into construction toys. Second, even though the transforming brick toys seem to be based on the live action movies, the mini figures are G1. I think Hasbro has done this to appeal to two different targets. The movie aesthetics to attract the kids who are growing up with them and the G1 mini-figs to appeal to the grown up/ parent fans. Good move Hasbro, you got me.

Marvel Universe was pretty impressive for a line that relies on reusing and frankensteining their parts. Despite the reuse of bodies it's nice to see that new heads were created for Thor and Iron Man, besides the nearly brand new body for the Hulk in the Classic Avengers box set. But even more surprising is that despite FINALLY getting a Sue Storm figure, and we're getting a HERBIE figure! Add that to all that has been announced or mentioned before and I think Marvel Universe is going to have a great year.

Thor and Captain America will be great additions to the expanding Marvel Universe line and I'm happy that the Cap movie line is starting with mostly comic series figures. It'll give me a chance to switch to other lines when a slew of different movie Caps hits the shelves. Not that they aren't good figures but I'm not a big fan of buying the same figure just for different accessories. Same goes for Thor. This can only kind of work with one superhero in my opinion, Iron Man. And that only KIND OF works because he does have different armors for different situations, even then, I didn't go out and get EVERY Iron Man that was made for the IM2 line. Hopefully there will be some Thor comic figures too.

While it seems like GI Joe is dropping the Pursuit of Cobra part of it's name, that's all it seems to be dropping. Hasbro is continuing to put out amazing Joe figures and I'm happy that Renegades is included and not animated looking like the way the Clone Wars series is compared to the Star Wars Vintage Collection line. Not that there is anything wrong with Clone Wars, I have a good deal of Clone War figure that I love, but you can clearly tell one from the other. Regardless, Renegades seems to have a strong start and I hope to see more once Joecon hits. I hope to see more of the the 30th Anniversary collection at Joecon, which looks great and is starting this Fall. By the way, new Skystriker repainted as Starscream with pilot Cobra Commander, who can hold Megatron in gun mode is full of win, SDCC exclusive, fail.

And finally but not least, Bandai. The new Thundercats series looks promising but knowing how the quality of figures can vary from figure to figure (Damn you Goldar!) I'll be taking a wait and see attitude. The quality changing from figure to figure is quite evident in the Mumm-Ra figure. The mummy version seems to lack ANY articulation while the Ever Living version is fully articulated. Either way the new line looks promising on a whole and I hope it does well.

And on that note I wrap this up but before I go I just want to say that if you're a fan of 1:18/ 3.75" and/ or 1:48/ 2" figures, this is the year for you. Most IPs are either/or sizes and I believe that we currently living a new age of the 1:18 scale figures.