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Double Vision
March 1 2006
Toy Fair 2006: G.I. Joe 3 3/4-Inch

One of the lines we're seeing less and less of is Hasbro's legendary (since 1982) G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. This line was originally introduced as a sort of opposite of the original, larger Joes-- the vehicles were the items you were selling primarily, the figures were considered to be the accessories. This mentality lasted about 15 minutes, as the comic book, file cards, and cartoon made the figures into bigger-than-life personalities and kids collected all their favorites.

Fast forward to today, and Hasbro's pushing $10-$15 8-inch versions of these guys for Sigma 6. But for us old farts? There's still a few items left to drool over, and of course we took pictures of the limited selection of items we saw in New York City. On the left, you'll see the display of this line of toys. Below, close ups of the new stuff.

The rumor for 2006 was that the little guys would make a return to stores, but as of yet, it doesn't seem that this is entirely likely. Doesn't mean it won't happen-- Hasbro's Fall plans are still (more or less) top secret and this sort of thing may not get out until the Joe convention this Summer. But until then, though, some new items like these are coming.

The first shot on the left there is one of two new comic packs. This one features Lady Jaye and a couple of gas mask clad Cobra Troopers. The second image shows the other comic pack from this wave, and those are new Oktober Guard figures. (Huzzah!)

Finally, there's two figures and at press time, we don't have information on final names or how they're to be distributed, although Hasbro has hinted at the girl character's name in the recent past on their own "Ask Cobra Commander" page.

Because we plug our sponsors, and they paid for our flight and hotel, you may be interested in knowing the comic packs are available for preorder today at Entertainment Earth for $24.99, available this May.


New New Super Mario Bros. Images for Nintendo DS

For dyed-in-the-wool Nintendorks, this game is possibly one of the most exciting announcements in years. The Magic Box has a new page of preview images and word of your being able to become Koopa Mario by wearing a Koopa Troopa's discarded shell. Awesome. The game is coming to the USA on May 7, 2006.


Reminder: Darth Vader Anakin Reveal On Sale

It's on sale! Limited to 5,000 pieces worldwide (4,000 in the USA), this exclusive bust features Anakin Skywalker inside the suit of Darth Vader. As you can see, his head looks a wee bit small because of the Sith Lord's bionics rebuilt him into a much taller, bigger, beefier guy. We ordered one because we like things with removed helmets and we're weird like that. If you, too, are weird like that, click here to see the bust and the various discounted bundles available.


Stuff, Things

First up: click the image on the left to go to the current podcast feed URL. Paste it in iTunes or whatever and enjoy, we posted a new one yesterday and odds are we'll post another one in the next week. It's like having me sit next to you on your drive to work. Hell, if you want, I can just read these headlines daily for your commute. Of course, if I were a she and had a decent voice, that might sound promising. But, well, I'm all you got for this site, so.

We're also futzing heavily with Hasbro's recent Titanium offerings from Star Wars. As you may or may not know, the brand is branching out to include Battlestar Galactica and Transformers this Spring, and Stargate SG-1 later in the year. We're not sure how we're going to handle it for our collection as of yet but the quality and overall niftiness of the recent Star Wars waves has us very high on the brand right now. We've got a buttload of shots from Toy Fair to show you in the coming days and weeks, too, we're just kinda lazy.

Heck, we'll probably do a Titanium theme show. We'd also like to do a Marvel Hasbro theme show but right now that'd last about 20 seconds before the incessant rumblings of our illustrious host kick in and then he starts telling amusing stories about friend of, Pete. (Hi, Pete!)


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It's A Lost Art
March 3 2006
Toy Fair 2006: Titanium Transformers

We're reasonably easy to get to when it comes to grabbing our attention, and when we heard about Titanium Transformers last year, we were curious. A line that combines both non-transforming and transforming die-cast metal robots? Surely, this is the stuff of myths.

Turns out it was no hoax, and not a pipe dream. The first two transforming toys are: War Within Optimus Prime, based on the fan favorite designs. And to the right, is Megatron in a sort of doofy tank form which, at this time, is a little perplexing. Still, it's different enough to be interesting, which is all that we ask for. Actually, that's not true-- we're just willing to suck it up to get our very own War Within Prime, and in die cast no less!

These larger, transforming robots are going to be about $15-$20 each and will be coming out-- we hear-- in the next 6 months. We also hear there are at least a couple more series planned, and this is supposedly the tip of the iceberg. Also coming, as you can see below, are the Titanium Robot Masters, non-transforming robots plus the Autobot Ark, replicated in die-cast metal.

As of yet, there are no known plans for Titanium versions of other ships, although small replicas of Beast Wars space vehicles Axalon and the Predacon ship are set to be bundled with the upcoming anniversary full-size toys of Optimus Primal and Megatron. There's no word on what they're do be made of, but hot damn, it'd be nice if they were metal wouldn't it?

Left image: Cybertron Megatron, Beast Wars Megatron. Right image: Alternators Sideswipe, Alternators Jazz. According to all Hasbro documentation we've seen, the guy on the right should be named Jazz, despite obviously being a scaled-down version of Meister with added rally stripes, who himself was basically Jazz. So there you have it for those. Series 1 will include Unicron, War Within Optimus Prime, and Beast Wars Megatron. Series 2 includes the same figures but also adds Starscream, Jazz, and Sideswipe.

Left image: G1 Unicron, G1 Starscream. Right image: Beast Wars Optimus Primal, War Within Optimus Prime. The line of Robot Masters really seems to be gunning for the same kind of market held by the former SCF series, released stateside as Heroes of Cybertron. Overall, we very much like what we see.

There's shilling to be had. You can find the first two waves of Robot Masters at Entertainment Earth, either by the set or by the case. Product is expected to start showing up in April. For those not in the know, the basic schtick to Titanium is to convert the die-cast car market (read: Hot Wheels) into a character-driven one by offering new products every 45 or so days. That ain't no small feat. Still, for the time being, Hasbro has our undivided attention as we've jumped head-first into Star Wars Titanium just this past week and are enjoying it immensely so far. Until we can't get a piece. Then the stabbing starts.

Overall, we're impressed with the concept and the prototypes. This seems like a line better suited to Japan, but as they're more or less giving our favorite Cybertronians the cold shoulder this year, well, we suppose we'll have to settle for buying them for as little as $5 and not outrageous import fees.


It's a go: Transformers flick given the green light

While work has been coming along on the new Transformers movie, which has a release date supposedly of July 7, 2007, nobody has officially given the movie the green light. Well, that changed, it got the green today. The movie is apparently nicely under way for preproduction and we have a special plastic pin made for Hasbro employees-- we assume-- with the date on it which we'll snap and show you shortly. Of course, anything can change, but old fart fans like myself are optimistic that the movie will usher in toys with new levels of awesomeness, although the recent offerings worldwide have been enough to make many a fan's tongue sweat with dorkish glee. (Admit it, you went nuts over G2 Laser Magnus too.)


Entertainment Earth: Hasbro's Star Wars Cinemascape Darth Vader In Stock

Available Now: this link can take you to the brand new, huge, just-came-off-the-boat Hasbro Darth Vader Cinemascape Statue. (Yes, we bought one, we get it today.) Standing just under 18-inches tall, these high-end Hasbro collectibles are basically really heavy expensive Unleashed figures. While Hasbro has yet to divulge the quantities publicly, we're assured it's a low-run item and it looks pretty darned cool if you're a fan of such things.


March 6 2006
Star Wars Q&A Updated at Galactic Hunter

Galactic Hunter has posted a Q&A column by yours truly. Woo-hoo!

Oh, we got a whole mess of new crap. And we gush too much about Titanium. What can we say, we have weeks of weakness. This was one of them.


Toy Fair 2006: Art Asylum's Battlestar Galactica

"Pending licensor approval." This was a phrase we saw a lot of in New York. And, naturally, it applies to what you're looking at right here. After the so-so lifespan of their C3 line of DC Comics-based toys with superb figures and pretty great vehicles, Art Asylum re-imagined what a good brick vehicle should look like while combining it with their already hot figure design. The end result? Nifty. All packaging is, of course, conceptual. And since we go ga-ga over concept art and the early prototype phases in any toy development, we're quite pleased to have been able to see such things, let alone to share them with you, our seven loyal readers.

The concept is sound: bring back classic Battlestar Galactica figures and a couple of vehicles alongside a brand-new line of all-new figures and vehicles. So the lines are essentially compatible and, well, cute. For lack of a better word. The chunky, super-deformed vehicles will remind some fans and collectors of the various Choro-Q offerings from Japan, and if it doesn't, well, color us huge toy nerds then.

The product line, as it was described to us, would incorporate at least two 4-packs of mini-figures as well as four figure-with-vehicle packs. Our notes are out of sight at the moment but we seem to recall hearing about some two-packs as well.

Left image: Classic figure concept art. Right image: Classic Colonial Viper. We had a big book when we were kids called "Space Adventure Collectibles" that showed all sorts of space toy awesomeness so we get a little giddy seeing new versions of old items such as these..

Left image: Vehicle concept board. Right image: Modern figures, Viper vehicle.

Left image: Modern Cylon, Cylon Raider. Second image: Classic Cylon Raider. Third image: Modern Cylon Raider packaging concept. Right image: Classic Cylon Raider packaging concept.

Overall, we're pleased. We hope to have information surrounding prices and release dates for you shortly. Until then, start saving your pennies.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for 2006's Battlestar Galactica offerings. Also coming are 12-inch figures from Majestic Studios (details coming), and Titanium items from Hasbro (a full report is on the way from us as soon as we get to it.)


You might care: The Weird Al Show DVD

Like most toy collecting high school students, we had a strong affinity for "Weird Al" Yankovic, even though his CBS kiddie show skewed heavily toward the "let's teach the kids a moral" segment. The show managed to be pretty funny when it was obvious a bit was made up ten minutes before shooting, though, and a lot of people never got a look at it. You can decide for yourself if this is a good or a bad thing. has info on a cover picture, release date, and all that crap. If you're a fan of Pee-Wee's Playhouse-esque entertainment, Mr. Yankovic, or notable attempts at live-action kid shows ruined by network intrusion, you will want to see this show.


Entertainment Earth: Master Replicas Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Preorders

Is it news, or merely an ad? A little of both. You can scope out all the new Johnny Depp pirate crap here. We saw this stuff in New York and were pretty pleased with it. Master Replicas' new limited edition items come packaged with a very unique display concept. Rather than a stand, they give you an old, weathered frame with a canvas back and the means to hang the prop on it, like you would a photo on a wall. It's surreal and cool. Jack's flintlock, compass, and sword are available with the framey goodness.

The non-limited items include Davy Jones' key, yet another pirate gold necklace, and Jack Sparrow's ring. The limited items are $200+ish, the others are about $15.


March 7 2006
Toy Fair 2006: More Transformers

We snapped a number of random shots in Hasbro's showroom, knowing full well other sites covered it better, but we're suckers and like Transformers a lot so we wanted a few images of our own. To the left, you can see Cybertron Deluxe Optimus Prime, the next entry in the vast canon of $10 toys. This one is a repaint of the toy first released in 2002 under the Armada banner, and it is not presently known if he will feature new accessories, his Mini-Con partner, or a retooled mold with a key slot.

The line seems to be going strong this year, with Cybertron adding more new molds and repaints, a couple of new Beast Wars molds, and the "rumored" G1 redux line (not yet shown to anyone with a camera) with new molds of classic characters like Starscream and Megatron.

Left image: New Beast Wars 10th Anniversary Optimus Primal. Right image: Primal, plus companion Megatron. Both figures are up from preorder at Entertainment Earth by the set or the case, and are coming around June. Both are a sort of reimagining of the characters, combining elements of various artistic and toy interpretations of the Maximal and Predacon leaders. We're not quite sure what the gist is, but we also heard that early on, these were almost to be rolled up into Cybertron so I guess you've got two new Beast Planet denizens if nothing else.

Left image: Alternators Mirage. Right image: Alternators Dodge Ram Optimus Prime. Optimus should be out around May and is supposedly the largest vehicle in the entire lineup to date. Mirage is due out after Prime, supposedly around May/June with a repackaged Meister (Jazz) from before.


Stuff, Things

So, what else. Short update tonight because we're working on a podcast. Check your feeds today and tomorrow, it'll be up on one of those.

We're also setting up the new Labs, in which we would someday like to incorporate the podcast studio. Of course, that requires new hardware, so we'd need a lot of people to click on a lot of banners and to buy a lot of stuff to make that happen. (So here's hoping 2007.) We opened our new and quite fancy Darth Vader Cinemascape Darth Vader Statue from Hasbro, which is basically a bigger and arguably better giant Unleashed figure. More will be coming in the podcast but it's neat enough to warrant a look if you're hungry for that kind of collectible.


Beyond Tomorrow
March 9 2006
Toy Fair 2006: More Titanium

It's no secret that the line we're the most interested this year in both its potential and what its forefathers delivered is Hasbro's Titanium Series, a line of collectible die-cast figures, vehicles, and Transformers covering multiple generations of characters. So they focus on both the old fart and the young whippersnapper. To the left, you can see a thumbnail of Hasbro's (as assume) first series of Battlestar Galactica Titanium Series vehicles. These are the $5-$7 ones. You can see samples of the packaging and the toys, and here, you've got a classic Colonial Viper, a modern Cylon Raider, and what we think is a modern Scout Ship (or the Galactica, Hasbro's documentation and what they show in the showroom may have a disconnect.) Either way, we're happy to see classic Galactica toys of this nature. Elated, really. Old sci-fi toys were something we drooled over as kids and it's great to have the opportunity to get something like this in 2006.

Left image: New Ultra-sized Galactica Scout Ship (we think, $19.99-ish). Right image: Star Wars (various). Battlestar Galactica is going to have, according to what we've been able to dig up, very few releases spanning the various Titanium price points. Like, it looks like you can count them on two hands. These items will be sold in the same assortments alongside Star Wars which, well, that makes us squeamish for many reasons. You can see the basic Galactica assortment case packouts and/or preorder them here. (No, no images yet.)

Star Wars as you can see, is expanding. The figure line has each figure coming in a normal version, which looks like a heavy 3 3/4-inch Unleashed figure, and a special "Vintage Deco" version. The "Vintage" version-- also called a "Patina Variant"-- is basically a silver figure with a black wash. We have not yet 100% confirmed IG-88 will come this way but if he does, man, what an empty gesture as far as variants go. What you see here is just the tip of the iceberg, many more are coming. The Slave I and Snowspeeder in the image are available now, actually they're in stock at Entertainment Earth and have been reported to have been seen at a few brick & mortar stores.

For full Star Wars coverage, please consult the Galactic Hunter 2006 Toy Fair Coverage photo gallery. 30 images are to be had of Titanium Series Star Wars, including the not-often-seen upcoming Ultra-sized Darth Vader's TIE Fighter.

So. For those keeping track, Hasbro has captured the following licenses for Titanium:
Battlestar Galactica
Stargate SG-1
Star Wars

At the moment, we haven't even heard rumors of others being considered. Our fingers are crossed that we see other popular robots (Voltron), sci-fi vehicles (Star Trek, especially Star Trek), and Hasbro properties (G.I. Joe) enter this product line. We're not saying we'd kill a man for a die-cast G.I. Joe Cobra HISS or would commit arson just to get a transforming metal version of, say, Beast Wars Ravage. (Or would we?)

Because Hasbro has so successfully captured our imaginations and future collecting dollars, we salute them with this Titanium Series checklist which, at one point, we were told would be something Hasbro would be making themselves. Oh well. Ours includes the entire series of Hasbro Titanium offerings, although we may be producing a companion one with the basis for the line-- Galoob's die-cast Star Wars Micromachines from the 1990s-- as well as possible suitable companion lines, like Johnny Lightning's bitch-to-find-at-retail Legends of Star Trek. (Which, we find, is so hard to get in LA it may as well not exist.) So kudos, Hasbro, for making us your bitch yet again. Expect some sort of archive here as the weeks go by.


The Dude Abides: The Big Lebowski Toys Coming!

How can we be first to bring you this news? Well, it isn't a hoax-- we wrote the press release! The toys are coming from a company that, more or less, formed in 2005 called Big Bang Pow! which at this time does not have an official website. They do, however, have a blog with the official press release which you can read. We're actually working with Bif Bang Pow! to develop these as toys (along with many other cooks) and hope to have more news we can share soon.

If you don't like reading the release, here's the short version.

The Dude and Walter are the two characters being made. The scale is about 7-inches, although the license covers other sizes. These are only going to be available through EE Distribution, which is, shock, the company we work for (Entertainment Earth) for the forseeable future-- so that's their wholesale department as well as their retail department.


Transformers: New Sightings

First, the robots in disguise got #41 on VH-1's Behind the Toys show, which is, to say the least, not good enough. #41. These are some damn fine toys, they deserve better.

At Target, they have a large Hasbro endcap at most (but not yet all) stores with a number of toys for $16.99 each. There are B-Daman items included, as well as tons of Transformers. For Universe, all the pieces of Devastator are available, as are the oft-delayed Repugnus vs. Overbite set. (Which is purty.) For Cybertron, there are a number of packs. For starters, three Mega-sized toys (Mudflap, Leobreaker, and Evac) are packaged with bonus Mini-Cons. Also, several deluxe toys come in a two-pack where it looks like two bubbles are sealed to one huge cardback. These deluxe toys (Red Alert, Sideways, etc.) are basically the same as previously released BOGO packs, but more expensive with slightly different packaging.

The really exciting news were images that got out for die-cast transforming The War Within Thundercracker and Jetfire. We plan to have more images, pricing, preorders, and all that good stuff tomorrow. (Speaking of which, did we mention when you buy something from a banner on this site, you support us? Not in the last 20 seconds? Well, there we go again.)


Final Fantasy XII: A Perfect 10?

That's what they're telling us. According to reports at The Magic Box and GameSpot, Japanese gaming mag Famitsu gave its legendary platinum rating of 40 out of 40 to this game. Which has been in development for a little while now. Now we're excited. If you care, The Magic Box has six pages of screenshots.



One feature some of you have written in to praise has been our semi-decent series of Checklists which we keep up for some, but not all, action figure lines we enjoy following. First, we present the following new entries and updates:

Titanium Toy Checklist (2005-present, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Transformers, Stargate SG-1)
Transformers Universe Toy Checklist
Transformers Cybertron Toy Checklist

We do not profess these to be complete or perfect-- that's why you're here. Did we forget something? Great. Tell us. (We know the Cybertron BOGO packs are entirely missing.)


Flavor Flav!
March 10 2006
Toy Fair 2006: Public Enemy from Mezco

A few years ago, Mezco Toyz made a bit of a splash with their Run DMC figures-- and then they got a few more great licenses, developed their own brands, and kept on making great toys. In New York last month, we got the first look at Public Enemy, featuring Biggie Smalls, Flavor Flav, and Chuck D.

The line focuses on Mezco's trademark stylized look, and includes cloth clothing. So apparently VH-1's "Flavor of Love" will not be the only place you'll have the chance to see Flavor Flav sans pants. The prototypes (which, we believe, are all pending approval still) looked superb in person and are certainly good enough to justify your attention if you're into music toys or just want to get a look at figures that, on the whole, are on the happy side of awesome. (Fight the power.)


MST3K Volume 9

According to Satellite News, the next collection of Mystery Science Theater 3000 on DVD will get you:

More disclaimers, release dates, and related information can be found at Satellite News.


March 13 2006
Star Wars Q&A Updated at Galactic Hunter

Galactic Hunter has posted a Q&A column by yours truly. Woo-hoo!

This week, it seems a lot of you like Titanium Series stuff, which is good as that's going to be an obsession for us for a while. Read on!


Toy Fair 2006: Toy Vault, Continued

Today, we look at the remaining pictures from Toy Vault. Some of which, well, didn't turn out so hot. To the left, see the prototype for the plush Godzilla Slippers. We think these are really cool, and we were told they were somewhat expensive to make and there's talk (or was talk) of including a sound chip at one point. Toy Vault has done pretty well with Cthulhu slippers, and with dragon slippers as well, it seems Godzilla is the only sensible next step. But after that, you're going to need to watch your step.

These spidery slippers, we were told, are likely to come with some sort of a warning label. The limbs of the tarantula are easily stepped on, possibly causing tripping to those who aren't especially careful. As such, be warned-- arachnids are a dangerous bunch. In person, both sets of slippers were quite cool to see and a welcome alternative to the usual plush bunnies we've all seen at Mervyn's Secretaries Day sales since the beginning of time.

As far as other photographed items...

Left image: Trigun cat plush. Right image: Rygel from Farscape plushes. What you see is pretty much what you get-- Rygel comes in both huge and not-so-huge, and are the first Farscape items from Toy Vault in a few years.

Beyond this? Plush KISS, more Monty Python, more video game licenses, and just a whole mess of stuff. Oh, and "Swear Bears."

As far as other Toy Fair coverage goes, we're basically going through the stuff as we get to it. We've got a ton of neat Mega Blocks items, more from Art Asylum, and, well, generally just more. We're also going to go back and finish the G.I. Joe Comic Pack section with the DTC offerings. Which may mean nothing to you.


Final Fantasy XII & New Super Mario Bros.

Want 3 pages of new images from the upcoming Nintendo DS title New Super Mario Bros.? Sure you do-- and The Magic Box has them. Unlike before, these shots aren't stuffing Giant Mario down your throat, and it looks a lot more like a traditional and potentially superbly awesome game. It's still due out in the USA in May, 2006.

Also, Final Fantasy XII for PlayStation 2 is due in Japan on March 16. Mark your calendars! No USA date has been confirmed but we'd wager holiday 2006.


G.I. Joe Club Exclusives for 2006

In addition to the traditional membership figure, the G.I. Joe Collector's Club has another exclusive. Reportedly $32 shipped, this specially boxed set includes newly decorated versions of the Frag Viper and Night Viper, namely, jungle deco. Click here to see them, and to read their file cards.

As for what you get when you sign up for the club, click here to see your choices. For 3 3/4-inch fans, there's the Cobra Nullifier, which, we guess, is really Destro's Nullifier. For 12-inch, it's a Foreign Adventurer... which we guess is cool. (Not really. But we're not 12-inch toy people.)


Transformers Club Exclusive for 2006

While it's a few weeks old, we figured you'd like to know about the Exclusive Landquake Figure from the Transformers collector club. If you join for $35, you'll get Landquake, a repaint of a couple of Energon figures that greatly resembles last year's Skyfall. Except this time, it has paint. We're on the fence, but if you subscribe to the club by March 15, you get one as part of the membership package. Otherwise, it'll cost you.


March 14 2006
Toy Fair 2006: Mega Blocks Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest

Building on their already strong and fairly great Pyrates line, Mega Blocks announced their full line for Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest in New York last month, and we snapped a whole mess of photos. (We also got their other lines, but we're starting with the licensed stuff.)

On the whole, we don't have too much to say as we didn't take good notes. The items look excellent and will be showing up this Spring, alongside the pre-movie merch rush. The figures look excellent, as do the building kits. As LEGO has more or less dropped the ball on pirates as a whole, it's interesting to see someone else not only grab the ball, but go the extra... mile? We don't do sports metaphors especially well.

So. What did we see?

Left image: Point of sale display. Middle image: Another one. Mockups are NEAT. Right image: Exclusive treasure chest gift pack. Supposedly for one of "the clubs" (Sam's or Costco), if we recall.

Left image: Skull assortment. Sub-$10 plastic skulls contain a bundle of bricks, figures, and more-- and will cost $1-$2 more than current, license-free Pyrates kits of a similar nature. We're also told they will be bigger and, overall, better, with 200% more Pirate Depp. Right image: Compass pack assortment. Entry-level cheap bricks-and-figure sets will get you just a few figures, if that's all you want, and enough fun to have a small setup on your work desk.

Left image: Black Pearl. Huge pirate ship with tons of features. Right image: Flying Dutchman. See previous comments. Other playsets are coming too, but we don't seem to have images of those handy.


Transformers Masterpiece Edition #3?

A good pal of ours directed us to this link in a language we don't understand. We're assured what this is, is a teaser flyer for TF MP-03, Starscream, which will be included in the upcoming Hybrid Convoy toy. What does this mean? Well, it's assumed it means a $50-$90 Starscream is coming, with die cast parts and all the sweet crazy robotness you've come to love in overpriced robots in disguise. We're sold. We imported MP-01, Convoy, and never once regretted it. (We're still in the market for MP-02, Ultra Magnus.)

--AP, thanks for the heads-up Walky!

March 15 2006
Toy Fair 2006: Mega Blocks Pyrates

Sometimes our product shots turn out great. Other times, not so much. Guess which one this was?

Here is a small smattering of new and old product shots from Mega Blocks' Pyrates range. This license-free line is basically just a generic pirates construction line with a lot of neat parts, good sculpting, and interesting gimmicks.

Items from this line have been available for quite some time at better toy stores everywhere, often next to LEGO sets. Or as I like to say it to piss people off, next to the Legos.

Left image: Shelves of toys. Right image: Toys on shelves.


Microman Updates

We keep forgetting to post it, but over at Microman Forever, they posted the March update of Tom's Micro News. One of the new figures includes a chrome double guitar thing. We can't make this stuff up. There's little that will make you squeal with glee, but if you're a toy junkie, you owe it to yourself to check out the new installment.


Misc: Pirates of the Caribbean 2 Toys from Zizzle

To make a long story short, we got the information on Zizzle's 3 3/4-inch (re: Star Wars or GI Joe scale) Pirates line yesterday at work and put up some of the items for pre-order. It looks like this is going to be a fairly sizable launch-- not just "big" like "Fantastic 4" big but rather low-level Star Wars big.

While not yet available for order, Zizzle has assured us that they're going to be putting out a special evenly packed assortment for online distribution in which you can get one of each series 1 figure. (That's fantastic news if you're like us and want a set from the get go.) The bad news is there's more than one Jack Sparrow, but there's a decent selection of minor characters in the line, including Elizabeth Swann as a pirate and, a big shock to us, a Barbossa in series 3. Aside from future waves and special mixes, you can get a list of pretty much everything at our work and we'll be doing checklists and whatnot at a later date.

In addition to this, there's props from Master Replicas, 6-inch figures from NECA, video games, and tons of other stuff. Big movie merch launches outside of superhero flicks or Star Wars are fairly uncommon, so we're astounded by the quantity of product and the fact that we generally don't think much of most back-to-back "Part 2" and "Part 3" movie franchises. (Guilty pleasures they may be.) We like pirates, and we liked the first movie, so, like with Hasbro's Titanium Series this year, our business is Zizzle's to lose.

Of particular note are two ideas stolen from Hasbro's (and Galoob's) playbook that we're happy to see. One, Pirate Fleet, a micro line of 3 small scale pirate ships and mini-figures (as well as a treasure chest that unfolds into a playset) that's an obvious nod to Hasbro's abandoned and once-awesome Action Fleet line. (Galoob toys, 1995-2001. Hasbro, 2002-2003.) The other is Pirate Battlers, basically the same size and style of figures as Hasbro's fairly popular Force Battlers. We're intrigued. Zizzle is also doing 12-inch figures on top of all of this. So if you like pirates, you've got a few too many options.

In New York last month, these figures were some of the most interesting things we stumbled upon, and as such, you might see we're a bit wordy. We'll keep you posted as we get more news, samples, etc.


March 16 2006
Toy Fair 2006: Mezco's Kong

Playmates Toys has no plans for new Kong product in 2006. So, Mezco has decided to make up for it.

The head variant of this large rotocast figure looks pretty slick. You can have angry Kong, or pensive Kong. Or you can buy both, and re-enact your favorite scenes from the E! Channel's The Soup's Brokeback Kong sketches. This low-cost but high-awesome figure is supposedly due with the DVD, which is, we believe, August according to some reports. They don't all connect, so for the time being, just expect this figure this year.


Misc: Site Updates

We're in the midst of various updates and tweaks around the site-- some of the line overviews haven't been touched in a year so you might be seeing a few updates and fixes. If you read any of the site, which our traffic counters indicates that you don't.

We take your requests very seriously. If something is within our abilities, and it would make you a happy reader, we'll do it. As such, we had a reader request for a Transformers: Robots In Disguise checklist, and we made the first draft. We may have left out an item or two, and some items from RID and Universe cross over a little, but as you can clearly see, we now have these lists available to you. Would you like to see checklists for other toy lines? Let us know. We don't promise fast delivery, but we do promise delivery eventually.

And thanks for your support. Now give us a link so we can get that 9th reader we so need.


March 17 2006
How about that Final Fantasy VII Remake?

A happy quote, as seen on The Magic Box:

At the Shibuya Tsutaya Final Fantasy XII launch event, when Square Enix president Yoichi Wada was asked about the existence of a Final Fantasy VII remake on PS3, he smiled and mentioned that such remake is likely to happen with a large demand, the company is currently examining the possibilities, but nothing has been confirmed.



Hasbro Launches Titanium Series Web Site

Looking to see new Star Wars Titanium Ultra vehicles? Well, Hasbro has a page you may wish to see. It's the Official Site of Titanium Series Die-Cast Action Figures from Hasbro, which, well, has only two action figures. The rest is all vehicles, with sneak preview logos from Transformers and Battlestar Galactica, all of which were previewed here in recent weeks.

The site has a lot of fun little Flash toys to look up and futz with, so we advise you try it out. At this time there's no non-Star Wars product to see, but hey, gotta start somewhere.


Zizzle Launches Pirates of the Caribbean 2 Toy Line, Pre-Order Announcements Shamelessly Follow

Want to see the latest 3 3/4-inch action figure line based on a movie? There aren't many, but Zizzle is going to give the once-unbeatable action figure scale a shot with its own Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest toy line. We haven't seen official images of the toys before yesterday at work, and well, that of course means they're up at Entertainment Earth.

If you'd like to see official shots or preorder, click the thumbnails below. If not, skip to the Toy Fair Coverage articles below.

While the image is not yet up, there's also this 8-Pack of Wave 1 with all 8 figures and no duplicates for $49.99. Zizzle informed us this is a sort of online only thing, which, well, we can appreciate that. The "Ultimate Black Pearl Playset" vehicle boasts a size of over 20-inches long and a whopping 20 action features. It's not often we go ga-ga over something that's actually meant to be a child's plaything with the same sort of appeal such an item would have had with us at, say, age 6, but after seeing this sucker in New York, we're feeling foolish and needing of a giant pirate boat. (If nothing else, the Clone Troopers can take it over.) We're not advocating that you buy one, but we're going to get one and review it here down the road.

You can also find more on this great line at other toy sites who have more and better Toy Fair coverage than we do:
Altered States Magazine

We're ga-ga over this because we're fiends for 3 3/4-inch figures. Star Wars established the scale as the go-to size for a large collection of figures, and G.I. Joe refined the size by adding tons of articulation, accessories, and the largest selection of vehicles and playsets you could hope for. We're happy to see Zizzle give the scale another push, and we're going to be covering it to the best of our abilities in the coming months. (We just put in an order for several items, ourselves.)

We're also thrilled/staggered to see Pirate Fleet, a line that's obviously a stab at the now-dead Action Fleet toys from Galoob and Hasbro. Micro makes us happy.

NECA will still be doing its fine line of collector figures, of course, and these higher-dollar, larger, collectible figures are all fine and good.

...but we at are toy people. We like things designed with rough play in mind because it means that it's going to be more difficult to damage them in the long run. As such, you may guess, we're quite pleased.


Sponsor: New Gentle Giant at Entertainment Earth

From our sponsor (which we plug as we, as an affiliate, do get a tiny cut of what you buy, which makes us happy): The latest from Gentle Giant Studios are now available for preorder.

We don't ordinarily jump on "high end" collectibles-- which, to us, are things that aren't toys. Since we work at EE, we put in our order for Fett immediately. We're just that nutty over it.

And thanks for your support.


March 20 2006
Star Wars Q&A Updated at Galactic Hunter

Galactic Hunter has posted a Q&A column by yours truly. Woo-hoo!

This week, we ramble a lot. Read on!


Rockman ZX for Nintendo DS

Coming soon for Nintendo DS: yet another Megaman game. The Magic Box has 3 pages of neat looking photos of this new 2D side scroller, so be sure to check it out. No word on a US release yet, but hey, it looks pretty cool.


Transformers: G1 Returns for 2006?

First, click here. That's the new Astrotrain, or so we're lead to believe, as it's been found on a Japanese patent office web site. No joke. Rumor has it this is one of many of the "G1 Revisited" line coming out in the next year, which has been more or less confirmed to also include a new Megatron in gun mode and a new version of Starscream. The new Astrotrain goes from a bullet train to a space shuttle to a robot-- not quite a choo choo, but we'll live.


Sponsor: New Hasbro at Entertainment Earth

From our sponsor: added over the weekend, (to the left) the Mace Windu Jedi Starfighter. It's a recolor of the 2005 Revenge of the Sith Jedi Starfighter, also known in better fanboy circles as the Eta-2 Jedi Starfighter from Kuat Systems Engineering.

We're tremendous nerds for vehicles and this one makes us especially giddy, being the first non-movie version of this model of vehicle in toy form. Those of you with the good taste and spare cash to blow may have purchased the previous 4 versions: Anakin Skywalker's (yellow), Obi-Wan Kenobi's (red), Anakin Skywalker's (green, Toys "R" Us exclusive), Obi-Wan Kenobi's (blue, Toys "R" Us exclusive.) The yellow and red are still shipping and are marvelous. We're also hearing rumors of another green exclusive version and a black version for Darth Vader from one of the novels. That'd be pretty sweet.

Also new and improved, the old favorite Darth Vader's TIE Fighter. This is the mold that first appeared in 1997 like some sort of blessing from the toy gods, and now goes for about $30-$40 on eBay. It was recolored slightly and reissued in 2004, and that one goes for about $60. The 2006 Darth Vader's TIE Fighter is the first-ever version of the toy with battle-damage and paint wear and tear, but aside from that, is very much like the 2004 release, sans figure. If you're in need of this ship, the new one is arguably the best looking for the money, but if you want it NOW, go get one of the old ones on eBay. New one's gonna be $29.99 online.

And thanks for your support.


It's Not Her Fault
March 21 2006
Rockstar Games' Table Tennis For Xbox 360

Coming soon for Xbox 360: a highly boasted-about game from the makers of Grand Theft Auto. Over at The Magic Box you can see two pages of this highly detailed game, previously discussed in our podcast. (We have one, remember? Look at the top of the page.) This game has pretty incredible graphics, possibly making it the best update of Pong in the history of ever. With amazing textures and tons of product placement, it's worth a look. We assume. For the lovers of Pong.

Also, we hear the long-awaited Metroid Prime Hunters and Tetris DS are shipping for Nintendo DS. Oooooooh.


Palisades: Adult Swim, Muppets, Ren & Stimpy, Fraggles, and more Lost Toys (with images)

The Creatus Maximus Forums has a boatload of Palisades refugees with tons of images of toys that, according to most reports, will never ever come out. Sesame Street, Muppet Babies, Adult Swim, David Bowie, the works-- you'll want to check this out while it lasts. It's rare for a find like this to be shown off, so yeah, clicky clicky.

--AP, mucho thanks to reader Seth

In case you missed it: Emperor's New Groove Series

File under "things you were better off not knowing existed."

The Disney film The Emperor's New Groove, one of few Disney films we actually enjoyed, got spun off last year as a made-for-DVD sequel and, it turns out, a series on ABC and The Disney Channel. It's called The Emperor's New School.

In it, Kuzco's in high school and lusting after some girl while Yzma pretends to be the principal and Kronk is a fellow student. No joke. It's like someone watched Muppet Babies and had some bad elseworlds fanfic idea. It's interesting to see Disney compare their insatiable appetites toward making tween-friendly school-focused programs and recycling existing properties into a show that, like a lot of recent TV Disney animation, is both a little dense and a little too sharp for its core audience all at once. If that's possible. (It's an oxymoron. You know, like "swiss cheese.")

For fans of "real voices," Patrick Warburton and Eartha Kitt are both still here, as are a couple of other players in small parts. Kuzco and Patcha are recast, though, which is really what you wanted to know.


Yo Joe, Again!
March 22 2006
3 3/4-Inch G.I. Joe Returns to Retail

The rumors are true! G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toys have returned to stores. We spotted the B.A.T. Attack 6-pack at Toys "R" Us. That's the good news. The bad? $24.99. The 6-figure set goes for $22 or so online, so it's not exactly a spectacular deal. Still, it's nice to see! We also hear basic figures and vehicles are showing up, but have yet to see them ourselves.


Cybertron's Heavy Load (from Menasor) Up Close

If you haven't seen it, well, you know the drill! Click on the left image to see decent size (as big as we can get 'em) shots of Heavy Load, a new Mini-Con that will be packaged with the upcoming Decepticon Menasor. Cool!


PSP Me & My Katamari Out, Reviews

We don't have a PSP in our staff coffers as of yet, but we wish we did because of the new Namco game Me & My Katamari, which ships this week. Reviews aren't stellar, but then again, they don't have to be perfect. The load time comments bug us, but here's a list of reviews in case you care.

GameSpot: 8.0 out of 10 7.0 out of 10


Sponsor Dump: Primus Preorders at Entertainment Earth

Primus: for a limited time, with the severed head of Unicron. The first run of this mighty planet transforms from the planet Cybertron into Primus, the Transformers creator god. (Seriously.) Preorder at this link for the one with the special bonus accessory, which will not be in the entire run of this item. We're quite pleased with the concept, although it's a high dollar item and a variant-- so some of you may wish to not bother with this. (We decided we had to bother with it and hope to review it immediately upon release. We've got all the domestic Unicron toys so far, why stop now?)

Also coming: the same toy sans bonus head. We don't expect anyone who'd dare preorder online would go for it WITHOUT the bonus head, so just ignore that.

Finally, check out the nifty Marvel Legends Monsters Gift Set, one of the final releases in Toy Biz' Marvel Legends line which is, bar none, the greatest currently-running super hero line available today. Four figures, $39.99, and a poster book's in the box. Due October-ish, and the site has a number of new Marvel Toy Biz releases up for preorder in addition to this one. But this one has Werewolf by Night.

--AP & Entertainment Earth Podcast Podcast #16: March 22, 2006 Podcast #16: March 22, 2006

It's toy news! It's a promotional vehicle for a toy store! Wow!

We haven't been great about promoting the podcast on this page, but we've added several entries in recent weeks. Subscribe to our feed and check them out, won't you?



This week's segments:

Toy News. News and rumors on the G1 Transformers line bringing back robots in disguise starting with the leaked Astrotrain toy. G.I. Joe returns to stores as a 3 3/3-inch figure. Zizzle Pirates.

Toy of the Week: Titanium Series Action Figures Boba Fett & Darth Vader. It's a short show, folks.

How to sign up

For starters: You do not need an iPod to hear a Podcast. Podcasting is just a fancy word for "hack job internet radio show," which is exactly what we're aiming to produce here.

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Talkin' About Dragons
March 23 2006
Star Wars: Ultimate Galactic Hunt figures at Galactic Hunter

Enjoy collecting action figures, but frustrated by how easy they are to get? Well, Hasbro has a solution for you. A very limited quantity of variant "Ultimate Galactic Hunt" figures began hitting this week and we penned this article with some photos at Galactic Hunter. (No relation.) These are mixed in various assortments at 2 per box, and include Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, the AT-AT Driver, Snowtrooper, Boba Fett, Commander Cody, Scorch, Han Solo (Carbonite), Darth Vader, and General Grievous. We're a little put-off by there not being a Luke in the mix, but we suppose them's the breaks. Click through for the full scoop, or more of a scoop than you see here.


In case you missed it: Zoids Gil Dragon (Gilvader) Returns

One of the biggest Zoids of all time has been recolored, reissued, and given a few new parts. But aside from that, he's the old timey dragon you know and love-- and you can see him at the EV.5 Review. Lots of images, and lots of description are in store if you care, and you should-- big Zoids are few and far between, and we're hoping to get one of these ourselves.

The toy came out last year, but has gotten pretty little press-- as does the entire Zoids range. You can buy this item at some import shops, on eBay, or somewhere like HobbyLink Japan. The going rate is roughly US $60 before shipping.


Transformers Exclusive Stealth Cyclonus Exclusive Bust

...we don't get it. They took 100 pieces of the otherwise nifty Hard Hero Cyclonus bust, painted it metallic purple, and have it for $80 shipped. This TransformersCon Canadian exclusive can be bought online, so you don't have to make a trip to the 51st state to pick this one up! It's very purple, and as such, somewhat interesting. But we don't get it.


PS3 Region Free?

The bad news: when it comes to the Fall 2006 launch of the PlayStation 3, Sony's Phil Harrison was quoted by the venerable Next Generation as saying "Some Consumers Will be Disappointed" at the time of launch due to hardware production limitations. Well, we'll be sitting it out until a price drop or some sort of Katamari Final Fantasy hybrid or something.

The good news, according to GameSpot, Sony's Phil Harrison said "Software will be region-free," meaning us importers are going to be able to buy all the Treasure developed shooters and Capcom classic compilations we can eat. Which makes us happy.


Sponsor Dump: New Anime at Entertainment Earth

Harvard professor Tom Lehrer said it best, about 50 years ago, in a song he wrote: "Por-Nographic pictures I adore / Indecent magazines galore / I like them more / If they're hard core." Well, as far as toys go, he'd probably like this one-- a very limited quantity remain, but the figure is pretty much only notable because you can remove part of her swimsuit and she's anatomically correct in that spot. We'd say more, but we like to pretend this is a family site. Click through to see what $32.99 can get you.


Tiny Damn Horses
March 27 2006
Star Wars Q&A Updated at Galactic Hunter

Galactic Hunter has posted a Q&A column by yours truly. Woo-hoo! We talk about clones and crap, as usual. You know, corpse figures, who's buying these things, why you can't have everything for free, all that stuff. Read on!

Also, as we're suckers for all things Titanium until we get bored with the whole concept, we posted this article about a couple of Titanium packaging variants. Nothing too fancy, although if you collect the stuff, you may care. (After all, we've got 'em.)


In case you missed it: Transformers G2 Mega-Rare Auctions

Over on eBay, one of two big-name collections is being downsized. One is Leo DiCaprio's Star Wars collection-- no, we aren't kidding. The other is a few items from the legendary Hartmans Collection, in this case, a G2 First Aid toy. While this may not mean much to you, it's one of the rarest toys ever in the line, in the "may as well not exist as you'll never see another" category. It's at $830 at press time-- bid often if you have any hopes of getting it.


The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for Nintendo DS

With all the game news going on lately, it seemed fitting to link to the newest Wind Waker-esque Legend of Zelda game on the Nintendo DS. You can read about it, and see pictures, over at The Magic Box, GameSpot, and

Also, New Super Mario Bros. has been delayed until May 15. The SWINE.


80s DVDs A-Plenty

According to a press release at, DiC animation has got back about 750 half hours of old cartoons like MASK and Popples. The later seasons of G.I. Joe were not mentioned, but shows like Ulysses 31, Dennis the Menace, Care Bears, and a bunch of others that you likely won't remember or like make the cut. Why do you care? DVDs, obviously. You might get to see an episode of Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors faster than you can say "Saw Boss."


Sponsor Dump: New Stuff at Entertainment Earth

There's a bunch of new goodies at Entertainment Earth this week, including this nifty Futurama Bender Die-Cast Metal Figure. It's $24.99 and quite heavy-- we got to mess with one in New York in February.

With new Hasbro images available, you can also check out the Titanium Series Transformers Robot Masters Wave 1 Set featuring tiny metal non-transforming versions of War Within Optimus Prime, Beast Wars Megatron, and Transformers the Movie Unicron. Also new are Johnny Lightning Legends of Star Trek, the Pirates 2 Jack Sparrow Talking 18-inch Action Figure, and the Tenjho Tenge: Capsule Toy Bobble Breasts 6-pack. You heard us.


Freaky Porpoise 3-Ways
March 28 2006
Now Available: Cybertron Excellion & Override GTS; Alternators Optimus Prime

Over at Entertainment Earth, the first cases with Alternators Optimus Prime are in stock now-- go take a look, order, what have you. No known retail sightings in the USA outside of this one have yet to surface.

Also, Wal-Mart stores in LA are getting Excellion and Override GTS from Cybertron. (We found both. Bought Excellion. He's awesome.)


Superman Returns also at Wal-Mart

Mattel's first wave of figures is hitting Wal-Mart stores now. We spotted them on the way in to work yesterday but didn't buy any as we own some other Superman toys and were pleased with them as is. However, these are nice, and about $7 each.


Cutie Honey DVD Microman Figure

Over at Microman Forever, you can now see a DVD bonus collection of the not-family-friendly deluxe DVD edition of Cutie Honey and the added bonus figue which seems to be exclusive. And cold. The link is safe for work, sure, but how about your immortal soul?


Technical Difficulties
March 31 2006
Now Available: Batman LEGO at Toys "R" Us

In LA area Toys "R" Us stores, we've spotted a ton (OK, 3) of the new LEGO Batman sets. Batman & Catwoman were in a set for $10.99, and we saw other sets with Killer Croc and The Joker for $20.99 and $49.99 (we think). So, odds are you're interested, so hop in your cars and get shopping.


Now Available: Cybertron Giant Planet Mini-Con Images,

Over at Entertainment Earth, you can now get a look at the new Ransack GTS and Giant Planet Mini-Con Team due out, in theory, this June. We can't wait!


Sponsor Dump: Entertainment Earth 10th Anniversary Sale

Oddly enough, Entertainment Earth's 10th Anniversary is April 1, 2006-- April Fool's Day. Over 600 items were put on sale on Thursday, and as of Friday, less than 600 remain.

Highlights include:
Star Wars Max Rebo & Doda Bodonawieedo, $5.90
Simpsons Brad Goodman and Lionel Hutz Figure 2-Pack, $1.70
Burst Angels: Meg PVC Statue, $14.90
Star Wars Episode 1 12 inch Qui-Gon Jinn Figure, $4.00
Celtic Predator Mini Bust, $45.00

Don't ask why, just buy buy buy.


So, Technical Difficulties & April Fool's Warnings

For the second time in a couple of months, SBC went out removing all Internet and telephone from our home office. We're posting this update from our work office during lunch as we do not know when we can expect our services to return. So, send those cards and letters to SBC. We've been without service in our offices since Tuesday.

Also, please take note that this weekend is April Fool's Day and a lot of toy collector sites are starting early. Think carefully when you read product announcements this weekend. If it sounds too awesome to be true, it probably is.

Anyway, we're pretty pissed about the whole thing as we actually found some decent stuff this week. Hopefully next week will be more awesome.


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