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.

nathanoddsends

  • 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.

Review > Ggrapptikk Grunt (Power Lords, Four Horsemen Studios)

ggrapptikk-power-lords-poe-ghostal-review-head-2

First off, I’d like to thank the Four Horsemen for sending this figure along for review. I only asked for samples of the Power Soldier and  Elite Soldier (since I’d missed the sale), so his inclusion in the package was a pleasant surprise. –PG

Revell’s Power Lords were memorable for three things: great designs, ahead-of-its-time articulation, and gimmicks. In bringing the Power Lords back for modern collectors, Four Horsemen Studios has (so far) chosen to do away with the gimmicks. For example, the upper torso of the vintage Adam Power spun around to reveal the otherwise staid Adam in all his blue-skinned, red-veined, bare-chested alien glory. The Four Horsemen plan to offer an interchangeable, fully-sculpted upper torso.

Ordinarily I’m all for getting rid of action features, which often ruin an otherwise great action figure. But sometimes the “gimmick” isn’t really a gimmick, and actually might be a desirable feature. A case in point is today’s figure, Ggrapptikk. Continue reading “Review > Ggrapptikk Grunt (Power Lords, Four Horsemen Studios)”

Reviews > Power Soldier & Elite Soldier (Power Lords, Four Horsemen Studios)

power-lords-four-horsemen-poe-ghostal-review-1

The Power Lords has to be one of the strangest action figure lines of all time. It was developed in the early 1980s by Revell, a company known primarily for making model kits. Many of the characters and creatures were designed by Wayne Barlowe, a legendary science fiction and fantasy illustrator and creature creator for film and television.* It was a 6″-scaled line in a 3.75″ (Star Wars) and 5″ (MOTU) world. And for some reason, the figures were loaded with more articulation than would be regularly seen on any other (American) action figure line for nearly two decades.

The line was a seminal influence on the sculptors of Four Horsemen Studios – in particular Eric Treadaway (who discussed it in this interview from the second day of this blog’s existence, December 2, 2007). And so it’s not very surprising that Treadaway and the Horsemen managed to track down the owners of the Power Lords license and brokered a deal to bring the line back to the toy world. Continue reading “Reviews > Power Soldier & Elite Soldier (Power Lords, Four Horsemen Studios)”

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

odds_n_xmas

  • 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?

Power Lords Slate Zone figures go on sale for general public at 3pm ET

power-lords-slate-zone-elite-3power-lords-slate-zone-soldier-3

The Power Lords Slate Zone Elite and Slate Zone Soldier go on sale to the general public today at 3pm ET (it’s exclusive for Club Members until then – you could add them to your cart, but without a Power Lords Fan Club number it’ll be cancelled). Only the remaining stock after Club orders will be sold, so if you really want these make sure to get your order in as close to 3pm as possible. Order them at www.shopfourhorsemen.com.

I like the very 1970s sci-fi vibe I get off these designs, particularly in these colors.

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

odds_n_xmas

  • 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 > Mattycollector sale day, Grayskull thieves, 4H news, Star Wars 3.75″

odds_ends_11

  • 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.)

A few new acquisitions & SWB Darth Vader speculation

Just some random musings for you.

toxie-toxic-crusader-playmates

I got this guy recently via sponsor Nerd Rage Toys. Playmates’ short-lived Toxic Crusaders line was great because it was 100% compatible with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in every way –  size, style, articulation, and even the overall theme. I only owned Toxie himself, but it was a great figure and line. In retrospect I wished I’d picked up the Radiation Ranger. Continue reading “A few new acquisitions & SWB Darth Vader speculation”

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

odds1

  • 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 > Power Lord Soldiers Return, Retrobots, Transforming Expectations

odds_ends_11