I had no real reason to buy the Imaginext Ion Crab other than it looks neat. It's amazing to me that one of the more interesting toys in recent memory is a vehicle with a cool, nameless alien figure aimed at toddlers. It's a durable little set and feels like it could withstand some abuse in sandboxes, tubs, and with actual children - which is something I don't think I can say about most toys examined here.
The 3-inch green figure has blue claws and red hair like Blanka from Street Fighter II. His legs are bony, but by and large he could pass as an alien crab. Sure, he's got a little red tail on his butt but who am I to judge? Sculpting is on par with or better than most Imaginext figures (in that it has original sculpting) and he's got a little "i" branded on his ankle. Compared to the creatures in the blind-bags or previous years of Space figures, this is pretty amazing. The detail is positively toylike and the bright, neon colors are sure to blind collectors from its greatness. It wouldn't stun me to see this mold redecorated in the future, warts and all. (It has warts.)
While the scorpion vehicle seemed small, the crab vehicle seems cheap. You get about a dozen plastic pieces slapped together with articulated claws, rolling wheels, and geared legs that "walk" as it goes along the carper or floor. The figure fits right in the seat and can easily grip the controls in his hands. There's a place to stick a weapon near his seat, but not this weapon - the lobster-cracker doesn't have a peg to fit in the hole, so it can hold it or you can set it aside. It's certainly a distinctive weapon, and the vehicle itself has a little "face" under the chair and no paint of any kind. Mattel really made sure costs were kept down here, but it's still a neat little thing for the price.
Rounding out the set is a suit of armor. It's able to be put on his head multiple ways, and I believe it's intended to be some sort of six-armed tiara. If they left it out, I don't think I'd miss it but it does give him a Doc Ock vibe. He can wear it while seated in the vehicle and while that's a plus, I can't say that I'm crazy about it. The vehicle and figure are great, though.
Of the sets I've held so far, I think the Ion Scoprion is best but this is a close second. The colors feel a lot like the Roton from Masters of the Universe, although the Alpha Blade holds the distinction of being an update of that particular vehicle. I'd say if the price is right and you need a 3-inch scale vehicle for any reason, this is a worthy purchase. If you have kids, I bet they'll enjoy it too. Having bought a lot of toys in my life (and sold a lot at work) I can say that this is one of the ones that I think I'm going to keep around within arm's reach for a while. It begs to be played with.
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