Odds ‘n Ends > Star Wars Rebels, NES Predator, Funko ReAction, & more

Commentary on a few bits of toy- and geek-related news that interested Poe over the last few days.

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  • Starwars.com revealed a new character from Star Wars Rebels, C1-10P, a.k.a. “Chopper,” a “grumpy” astromech droid. He reminds me a bit of Claptrap from Borderlands, although it should be noted that Claptrap probably doesn’t exist without R2-D2. Chopper is directly inspired by early McQuarrie concept art for Artoo himself (particularly the arms on the head). The video on Starwars.com includes a quick look at Chopper’s 3.75″ figure as part of Hasbro’s Rebels line (static photo here). I’m really everything I’m seeing and hearing about Rebels, and I find myself hoping we see Chopper or the Grand Inquisitor in the SWB 6″ line. Given Hasbro’s tendency toward media synergy, it’s more likely than, say, Kyle Katarn in SWB. On a side note, I love the whole Inquisitor concept, which originated in the Expanded Universe, I believe.
  • Speaking of, I also hope the rumors of strong synergy between Rebels and Episode 7 are true, and to a lesser extent I hope the Mara Jade rumors are true, because if any EU character deserves to be enshrined in the film canon it’s Mara Jade. I mean yeesh, Dash Rendar is (indirectly through the Outrider) canon.
  • And finally on the Star Wars topic, here’s the latest leaked list of Star Wars figures for 2014, including Star Wars Black. The list doesn’t differ much from what we’ve seen in previous rumors; at this point, Chewbacca, Jedi Luke, Darth Vader, a Clone Trooper, and a redeco of the Sandtrooper all look like a lock. The upcoming wave with Bespin Luke, Prequel Kenobi, the Stormtrooper and the Han Solo carry-over is listed for February-May, while the June assortment is Anakin, Prequel Kenobi carry-over, Chewie and the Clone Trooper, and a mere month later is Vader, Jedi Luke, Sandtrooper redeco and Chewbacca (carry-over). I’m guessing the Sandtrooper redeco will be white, since black would be pretty boring. Here’s hoping the figure gets a new left hand that can actually hold the blaster cannon. Look, I understand re-use is necessary to keep a line like this going – NECA re-uses its molds more per wave than this line does – but couldn’t Hasbro at least replace the carry-over figures with some redecos? It sucks we get the Sandtrooper redeco and the Chewie carry-over in the same wave, particularly when the carry-over figure counts as part of the case. Why do they even bother with four-figure waves/cases? I’d rather get less frequent waves with four new figures, or more frequent waves of three figures, than this four-figures-including-a-carry-over thing we’ve got going now. I’ve got a few friends’ kids who are going to be getting a Prequel Kenobi and a Chewbacca in the near future.
  • Okay I lied, one more Star Wars thing:  here’s some neat fan art by Li Jia Tan (who did some concept art work for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II) of Han & Chewie working on a mech. Love the crotch-cockpit that looks like a 1930s sedan. It’s interesting to see a mech cockpit there, instead of the head or the torso.
  • The Four Horsemen have announced their annual Toypocalypse show at Tokyo Kid during Toy Fair next month. They’ll have factory paint masters of some of the Power Lords figures, as well as the “rebirth” of the FANtastic Exclusive project.
  • The Horsemen also released a ton of in-progress production photos of the Gothitropolis Ravens, along with the news that the Ravens will probably be delayed about two months, but they’ll be produced by the same folks who did such a great job on Scarabus.
  • NECA posted a photo of their next NES figure, the Predator. At this point they really need an unofficial name for this sub-line…
  • NECA also released a photo of in-progress classic Planet of the Apes Dr. Zaius. Seeing that name should immediately make you think of this.
  • A friend of a friend is looking for an experienced customizer to make a Doctor Who custom. Anyone have a rec/referral?
  • Jeff Cope has a revealing interview with Brian Mariotti of Funko regarding their plans for the ReAction brand. Definitely worth reading if you’re interested in the line. I need to do a write-up on ReAction. I have really mixed feelings about the line.

Odds ‘n Ends > ThreeA Microman, Boba Fett movie, Power-Con

Quite frankly, I trust Joe Johnston to make a great Boba Fett movie more than I trust Abrams to make a great Star Wars movie.

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  • After first announcing they’d obtained the Microman license way back in July 2011(!), ThreeA has finally revealed photos of the figures (or photos were leaked, I’m not sure). They’re 6″ tall and feature fabric clothes, like most ThreeA releases. They look intriguing, and it’s cool that they’re in 6″ scale, but I’m sure they’ll come with the usual high ThreeA prices and besides, I’m not a Microman fan anyway (well, except for a brief, odd period in 2004). However, I should note that in this particular case, the cloth isn’t what’s keeping me away – ThreeA is the only company whose fabric I like in sub-12″ scale. It’s the license and, presumably, the cost.
  • Let’s start by pointing out that this all comes from Latino Review. I have no idea what their reputation is at this point, but some of the people I follow on Twitter were very snarky about them, so maybe they’re known for being wrong a lot. I don’t know and I don’t care right now because this is so interesting and I want to talk about it. A lot.
  • Anyway, Latino Review claims Joe Johnston – director of The RocketeerJurassic Park IIICaptain America and oh yeah, the guy who designed Fett’s outfit (with Ralph McQuarrie) – may be in talks to direct the Boba Fett spinoff movie. Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote The Empire Strikes Back and is writing Episode VII, is allegedly in talks to write it. But what gets me is this quote: “To counter-act the prequels, the Boba Fett spin-off movie planned for 2018 has an interesting twist pitched by Episode VII writer Lawrence Kasdan: the spin-off will start with a complete stranger killing Boba Fett and taking his armor, starting a Man-With-No-Name bounty hunter tale. So: someone kills the Boba Fett from the prequels and takes his armor and name. One this is for certain is that Kasdan didn’t like the prequel and wants no Boba Fett Clone in the spin-off film.” Does anyone? Maybe kids who have grown up with the character from The Clone Wars, which is one of several reasons I expect George Lucas to veto the idea if it’s actually at all in play. Can he still veto things? (Side note: Latino Review doesn’t understand Internet Star Wars fans very well if it starts off a rumor about killing off the prequel Boba Fett with “Strap in, a lot of you aren’t going to like this.”)
  • But here’s the funny thing about that killing-prequel-Fett-at-the-beginning-of-the-movie: I pitched this exact idea to Nemo Eight in a discussion we had last month. I even argued with him that the killing had to happen at the beginning of the movie and not the end; he liked the “surprise horror twist” of killing Fett suddenly at the end, whereas I pitched a Usual Suspects-type thing where you find out at the end that prequel Fett was killed at the beginning and the guy who you’ve been watching the whole time isn’t prequel Fett. Anyway, chalk me up for hoping this rumor is entirely true.
  • On another note, that article also states that Toy Story 3 screenwriter Michael Arndt, who’s now off Star Wars Episode VII, was focused on the story of the Solo kids while Abrams (and Kasdan) felt it should focus on Skywalker. This is yet another example of something that makes me highly suspicious of Abrams. Han Solo was the audience representative in the original films – something that was sorely lacking in the prequels. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I don’t like Jedi that much – this article covers some of the reasons why. I know it’s a geek cliché to claim some showrunner or producer doesn’t “get” a geek property. And Abrams is actually the perfect successor for Lucas in certain ways – they’re both obsessed with effects and mechanics. Abrams’ work has always reminded me of Treebeard describing Saruman: “he has a mind of metal and wheels.” To me, Abrams’s films fall somewhere between Spielberg and Zack Snyder – great overall concepts, well-directed, great action, but lacking in emotion, real characters, or compelling themes. Lacking heart. Even Super 8 felt like that to me. Abrams’s Star Trek films were fun but forgettable (and the second had some annoying fan service and lazy writing). Quite frankly, I trust Joe Johnston to make a great Boba Fett movie more than I trust Abrams to make a great Star Wars movie.
  • Power Con is moving from Anaheim to New York City. That’s big news, but what I’m more curious about is what “transforming back to its core roots” means. Does that mean Ninja Turtles and Thundercats have been given the boot? (You may also be wondering: am I going? Answer: Maybe. Not sure yet.)
  • There will be a Glyos drop tonight at 9:30 EST. Check out the link for the full list of products.
  • Spy Monkey Creations has updated the story of The Golden Age for the Weaponeers of Monkaa ahead of an upcoming new drop.
  • In the course of following various Twitter conversations I came across the H Hangar by Wave. It’s designed for Gundam figures, but I immediately saw the potential for Star Wars Black 6″ dioramas as a corner of the Death Star or a Star Destroyer. Because they’re only 6″ tall, you really need two, which I immediately ordered from HLJ.

Odds ‘n Ends > SRGM convention, Mini-Rigs, Alien: Isolation, ThreeA’s 2000AD

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  • ItsAllTrue has been running a bunch of 2013-assessment posts, such as It’sAllTrue.net’s Top Ten Action Figures of 2013 and NoisyDvL5′s 2013 Highlights & Disappointments. Definitely worth checking out.
  • The amazing ED-209 by NECA is now in stock at Amazon.
  • CollectionDX has announced a new convention, Super Robots Giant Monster (SRGM). It will take place in Lowell, Massachusetts on March 29, and I plan to be there. Check out this page for more information. I’ll probably put up a separate post about this later.
  • Phil Reed of Battlegrip is putting together an unofficial guide to Star Wars Mini-Rigs. This is the future – extreme niche coffee table books. Frankly, I’m psyched. I love coffee table books. I fondly recall whiling away many a study period paging through The Ultimate Guitar Book…but I digress. I actually picked up two Mini-Rigs recently, the MLC-3 and the MTV-7; however, my motivation for picking them up was because I thought they would make great generic vehicles for the Alien ReAction figures. If you’re interested in learning more about the Mini-Rigs, visit your local library. Kidding! Here’s a Starwars.com article about Mini-rigs. But you should visit your local library anyway. They’re awesome. You can read books for free.
  • The 1980s animation-themed magazine Cereal:Geek has a bunch of issues up for pre-order. I’ve read an issue here and there and it’s always fun reading, if you’re into the subject matter. Which I’m guessing a good number of you are. Because you’re here. Reading this website.
  • I haven’t gotten on the Instagram bandwagon yet, but I do like the funny “toyselfie” project they’re running.
  • Alien: Isolation might be the game to persuade me to invest in a next-gen system…but I don’t know. I’m not really a big survival horror fan. I absolutely hated Doom 3 and what it did to my beloved Doom gameplay. I loved the Dead Space games, but those were pretty action-oriented (and more so as the games progressed). I had hoped for a Dead Space-like Alien game, and Isolation seems close, and yet I find the first-person perspective really disappointing (and rather outdated, frankly). I’ll wait for the reviews before making a purchase decision.
  • I don’t watch The Goldbergs, a show about the titular family set in the 1980s, because life’s too short to watch dozens of television shows. But Dinosaur Dracula has catalogued the ridiculous amount of 1980s toys that young Adam Goldberg has in his room. Holy crap, is that kid spoiled.
  • ThreeA has announced that their 2000AD line will be 1/12th scale moving forward (i.e., 6″ scale). This doesn’t matter to me per se because I’m not a 2000AD fan, but it does remind me of the painfully cool 6″ Boba Fett we will never get to have. ThreeA is the only company who does fabric in this scale that I don’t hate.

Odds ‘n Ends > Toy Review Advent Calendar, Third-party add-ons, Toy Aisle Trolls, Power Lords

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  • Good lord this holiday season went by fast. Just in case you somehow missed my endless shilling, be sure to check out the joint-blog project
  • I’ve expressed my doubts about third-party toys in the form of licensed characters, but I have far fewer qualms  about third-part add-ons, which are awesome. There are some really cool third party projects going on for MOTUC right now, such as Kevin Kosse’s Horde Trooper helmets or the upcoming conversion kits by Mat Vige O’Toole, a.k.a. Zombihamma (who’s also a special effects make-up, prosthetics and storyboard artist with a pretty badass resume) – plus of course Joe Amaro‘s great stuff. Of course, it took a few years for any sort of third party add-ons to appear. What I’m trying to say is, where is the emergent third-party add-on market for Star Wars Black 6″? Let’s skip the 2-3 year delay and get going on that now. I’d like a 1/12th scale cantina environment for Han and Greedo to have their shootout (so that I can have Han shoot first again and again and again), a headset for Han to go with his pilot gloves, laser blast attachments for all the blasters, an alternate open left hand for the Sandtrooper so that he can hold the light repeating blaster properly, electrobinoculars for the Sandtrooper, Boba Fett’s concussion grenade launcher–actually you know what? This might need its own post.
  • I haven’t received a new Toy Aisle Trolls submission in quite a while. Have the trolls actually gained a conscience? Have the stores caught on, at long last? Or are you all just lazy?
  • BigBadToyStore has pre-orders for Bandai America toys from the 2014 Godzilla. There’s mention of “MUTO (Winged)” and “MUTO (8 Legged)”. M.U.T.O. appears to be the name of an organization that the film’s marketing team has created a fake website for. We don’t yet know what MUTO stands for.
  • NECA has released a great visual guide (warning: 1.4Mb) to every Predator figure they’ve released thus far.
  • I think I want to collect a vintage set of Power Lords. This is going to take a while.
  • Out of curiosity: what are your picks for the best action figures of the year?

Odds ‘n Ends > Glyos & Power Lords drops, Funko Legacy rumors

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  • The final Glyos wave of 2013 is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, December 1st at 9:30PM EST.
  • The Four Horsemen’s sale of the Power Lords: Slate Zone Soldier & Slate Zone Elite will begin on Monday, December 2nd at 3pm EST on Store Horsemen and for the first 48 hours it will ONLY be open to Power Lords Fan Club members. Sales for non-Power Lords Fan Club members will begin at 3pm on December 4th IF any stock remains after the first 48 hours.
  • I’m working with NoisyDvL5 of ItsAllTrue on a fun holiday project. It’s a bit last-minute, so hopefully we’ll be able to pull it together. If we do, I think you’ll like it.
  • Rumored licenses for Funko’s 6″ Legacy Line: Game of Thrones, a Whedonverse line or two, and The X-Files (although only The X-Files has been “officially” hinted at by someone at Funko). The GoT hint allegedly came from Popcultcha, who – again, allegedly – had the following figures up for pre-order, according to Funko Fanatic poster arjybarjy: “The Hound, White Walker, Tyrion Lannister, Ned Stark, Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow up for preorder, due in February 2014. They vary in size from 5″ for Tyrion to 8″ for The Hound and White Walker figs.” I couldn’t find them on Popcultcha, so either they got pulled or were never there in the first place (or…I just couldn’t find them). So like that Star Wars Black list from a couple of weeks back, consider this pure rumor-mongering for now.

Odds ‘n Ends > Sales & Effects

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  • Amazon is having a sale on Star Wars Black (6″ and 3.75″). While I’d obviously prefer you buy them via my commissions link, I feel obligated to mention that other stores like Target will match Amazon’s prices if you show them to the cashier.
  • Tamashii has (finally) solicited the first of their awesome effects sets for 6″ figures. First up is the anime-style “impact crater,” which will be great for figures like Superman or Hulk. Personally I’m waiting for the fire and explosions sets, which should look good with Star Wars Black. BBTS already has them (gray, beige) and Amazon probably will too. (Via TNI)
  • Mattycollector is having an oddly complicated “7 Days of Cyber Monday” sale that neither starts nor ends on a Monday.
  • And since waiting for the Friday after Thanksgiving to start Black Friday sales is so 1993, here’s BBTS’s big sale.

 

Odds ‘n Ends > Atari action figures, Robo Force comics, NECA stands, Bayformer Grimlock, Grayskull credit card issues

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Odds ‘n Ends > Mattycollector sale day, Grayskull thieves, 4H news, Star Wars 3.75″

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  • It’s another Mattycollector release day. Today’s sale includes DC Universe Classics Ra’s Al Ghul, John Constantine, and Elasti-Girl; Watchmen’s Ozymandias; MOTUC Geldor and stackable stands and a number of re-releases.
  • Castle Grayskull ships soon, but Pixel Dan won’t have an early review due to assholes who nicked bits off the display piece at NYCC.
  • In Four Horsemen news, rough cuts of the Raven arrived at 4H HQ, and they’ve also been running a feature detailing the creation of my personal favorite Power Lord, Sydot the scientist. I must say, the various exclusives they’ve done to this point are nice, but I think the Power Lords need to be fully-painted to really be appreciated. I’m hoping we get those, but I’m wondering whether funding is becoming an issue for this line. If so, why not hold another Kickstarter to make themselves more financially comfortable? I doubt they would need as high a budget target they did for the Raven. That said, I must admit I’ve noticed very few, if any Kickstarter projects for Glyos-related toys.
  • In the course of getting back into Star Wars via Star Wars Black, I’ve actually gone back and picked up a few of the 3.75″ figures – just my favorites. What’s been interesting about it is that some of the most definitive versions of these characters are nearly a decade old. For example, I picked up the Vintage Original Trilogy Collection Han Solo from 2004; it’s a great figure with great articulation and the best head sculpt I’ve ever seen in this scale. I also got the VOTC Chewbacca and Boba Fett. Each of these figures has been reissued at least once or twice and they’re not that hard to come by. I also picked up the Holiday Special repaint of Fett, because fun. The only other figure I picked up was the Vintage Collection (not “Vintage Original Trilogy Collection”) ANH Darth Vader. This was the only one I had to think about; the VOTC Vader had the better ESB design and a ball-jointed neck but cut rather than hinged elbows, and every other decent Vader Hasbro has made has cloth on the front of his outfit. The VC ANH Vader also has ball-jointed hips, which seemed novel, so I went with that. It bums me out he doesn’t have a ball-jointed neck, though. Not that Vader was constantly cocking his head in curiosity like Data, but I’d like him to be able to look up and down somewhat to add some character to his poses.
  • Another thing about Star Wars 3.75″ – the line seems to be on a sudden downhill trajectory, at least for collectors who want well-articulated, highly-detailed figures. The quality on the Star Wars Black 3.75″ appears to be pretty bad across the board, and the Saga Legends figures have only five points of articulation. It’s odd how a Star Wars figure made in 2004 is far superior to most of what’s being produced now. (Though the Vintage Collection just ended and seems to have retained that level of quality – again, this downturn seems to be recent.)

Odds ‘n Ends > SWB6″, Power Lords, Mordles & Robo Force, ReAction Figures

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  • I hope you all enjoyed Star Wars Black Week! I’ll also be reviewing Han Solo, Leia and Greedo soon. And of course, don’t forget to enter our Trygg Poftu contest for a chance to win a Series 2 Boba Fett!
  • Our partner CollectionDX has had some great reviews recently, including OMFG! Series 3 and the Four Horsemen’s Power Lords Ggrapptikk, as well as the vintage Power Lords Sydot, which I owned as a kid (although I had the version with the chrome chestplate, and the non-chrome one never looks quite right to me).
  • ToyFinity has updates on their Mordles and Robo Force lines, as well as the news that the next Robo Force drop will feature more paint apps on Maxx Zero (née Maxx Steele, but Mattel’s trademark on the name nixed that). I missed the drop for the gray Maxx, a mistake I shall not repeat next time. One interesting tidbit about Maxx, according to Matt Doughty (who aided ToyFinity’s John Kent in the figure’s development), is that there are lots of secret builds in Maxx’s design “from old Tomy robots, ZOIDS and Zeroids to the Trapping Rigs used by our own Rechlen and Aves.”
  • I went ahead and pre-ordered the Alien from Super7/Funko’s ReAction series. Now that they’ve announced all those licenses for ReAction, I just have to try one. Doing vintage-style 3.75″ figures as a kind of retro-aesthetic for both classic and modern properties seems like the most obvious thing in the world now. I think the price tag might limit their collectability, unless Funko can get them down into the $10-$12 range like their POP line. But certain figures, like the Alien, will be hot sellers.

Odds ‘n Ends > Robo Force, SWB6″ Han Solo production pics, Castle Grayskull

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  • ToyFinity has released the first photo of its Glyos-compatible Robo Force figures. An orange “test-shot” preview version of Maxx Steele will be available at NYCC this weekend. ToyFinity will also have three new colors of Mordles and the all-new jumbo-sized Mordle available (and all will be made available online later).
  • At Hasbro’s “Twas the Night Before…” party on Wednesday night, they gave out free samples of Star Wars Black 6″ and Ron of ActionFigurePics got Han Solo. How I hate him. The good news is, I was worried about how this head sculpt would come out – the prototype seemed a little David Duchovny-y – but it seems to have turned out pretty well.
  • Here’s an update from ToyGuru on Castle Grayskull.
  • Speaking of MOTUC, here are a couple more reveals – Flogg and what appears to be a battle-damaged, Terminator-style Faker head, probably part of a rumored “head pack.” Check out the pics here.
  • Please welcome new PGPoA sponsor Nerd Rage Toys, who happen to have Star Wars Black 6″ available for pre-order.
  • Cool links: Dinosaur Dracula has a write-up on obscure Freddy Krueger merchandise and the giant, random Gorzak toy from the 1990s; Nerditis reviews the Heap from McFarlane Toys.