Friday, 27 September 2019

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Clone Commander Wolffe


Release Date: 2018
RRP: $19.99

Along with expanding on existing prequel-era characters and introducing fans to brand new ones, one of the great things Star Wars: The Clone Wars did was put some focus on the clones themselves. The series even managed to turn many of them into completely unique characters, which is pretty impressive given many of them looked nearly identical and they were all voiced by the same actor. One such clone is CC-3636, who took on the name Wolffe and led the 104th Wolfpack Battalion. Working closely with Jedi Master Plo-Koon as well as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, Wolffe was also one of the few clones to resist and survive the effects of Order 66 - eventually living on the planet Seelos with his brothers Captain Rex and Clone Commander Gregor. Black Series Clone Commander Wolffe was released as a GameStop exclusive in the US, and then a shared exclusive in the UK and other parts of the world. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Psycho Blue


Release Date: September 2019
RRP: $20/£20

If you were to ask Power Rangers fans what the most notable thing Bandai of America did with their ultimately short-lived Legacy Collection line was, the answer would probably be finally producing action figures of the Psycho Rangers. But ultimately even that didn’t go according to plan, as by the time Hasbro took over the Power Rangers brand only three of the core Psycho Rangers had actually been made – with Yellow and Pink passed on in favour of the “comic original” Psycho Green and “not actually real” Psycho Silver convention exclusives. But now Hasbro are here and to show they aren’t messing around, they’re tackling the popular Power Rangers in Space villains within their first year of releasing product. The first to arrive is Lightning Collection Psycho Blue, available exclusively via GameStop in the US and as a shared exclusive in other parts of the world. Created by Astronema through harnessing the power of Dark Specter, the Psycho Rangers were designed to be unbeatable opponents to their heroic counterparts.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Black King


Release Date: July 2019
RRP: 7560 yen

While 2019 has seen the Ultra Series branch of S.H. Figuarts dive into more different points in the franchise than ever before, it hasn't been quite as generous on the kaiju front than it has in the past. This is especially true when it comes to The Return of Ultraman, which so far had only seen two giant monsters released for Ultraman Jack to face off against. Until now that is, with undoubtedly one of the show's most famous creatures arriving in the form of the Tamashii Web exclusive S.H. Figuarts Black King. Appearing in episodes 37 and 38 of the series (Ultraman Dies at Sunset and When the Ultra Star Shines), the bodyguard of Alien Nackle proved a formidable opponent to Ultraman Jack - defeating the hero in their first encounter. It was only after the original Ultraman and Ultraseven saved Jack from execution on Planet Nackle was he able to defeat the pair once and for all. Since then, Black King has also reappeared in Ultraman X, Ultraman Orb, Ultraman R/B and Ultraman Taiga.

Friday, 20 September 2019

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultimate Aegis/Ultraman Zero Armor Option Parts Set


Release Date: July 2019
RRP: 3240 yen

If there’s one thing that Bandai Tamashii Nations have excelled at with the Ultra Series above all of their other ranges, it’s accessories and effect parts. Even though the new S.H. Figuarts line isn’t quite as expansive as Ultra-Act once was, most releases still come packed with an impressive array of optional parts. But in some cases that still isn’t enough, and that’s where these additional accessory sets come into play. Though not uncommon to Figuarts as a whole the S.H. Figuarts Ultimate Aegis/Ultraman Zero Armor Option Parts Set is the first produced especially for Ultraman, based on the dimension-travelling armour Ultraman Zero receives in Ultraman Zero the Movie: Super Deciding Fight! The Belial Galactic Empire. Later on a replica of the Ultimate Aegis is bestowed upon Ultraman X through a new Cyber Card, granting him the Ultraman Zero Armor. As such, the parts included in this Tamashii Web exclusive set are compatible with both S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Zero and S.H. Figuarts Ultraman X.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Emperor Palpatine & Throne


Release Date: August 2019
RRP: $39.99/£39.99

With the Star Wars Black Series now over six years old and sculpting having come a long way since then, naturally some of the older figures in the line are beginning to show their age. One such figure is Emperor Palpatine, who was originally released all the way back in 2015 as part of the phase two "Blue label" assortment. Now with Palpatine set to make a return in some fashion in Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, Hasbro have given the evil Darth Sidious in the form of a special deluxe release. The Black Series Emperor Palpatine & Throne set is again based on the character's appearance in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, and is exclusive to online retailer Amazon in the US (release elsewhere varies by country).

Monday, 16 September 2019

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Goldar


Release Date: August 2019
RRP: $22.99

Whenever a new range of Power Rangers toys starts one of the biggest questions is “will there be villain figures?”. While it was clearly never much of a priority for Bandai of Japan with their Super Sentai lines, despite their flaws Bandai of America did at least try to make their waves a bit more varied with the most recent series. So far Hasbro seem to be doing a great job following suit with the Beast Morphers range, and the Lightning Collection came out swinging by including Lord Zedd in the first wave. Hasbro aren’t stopping there either, with Lightning Collection Goldar being announced and released shortly afterwards as the line’s first GameStop exclusive. No Mighty Morphin Power Rangers collection would be complete without Rita and Zedd’s loyal general, and for him to be released ahead of half the ranger team is quite the pleasant surprise.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Dragon Shield Black Ranger


Release Date: September 2019
RRP: $19.99/£19.99

The Power Rangers Lightning Collection being comparable to other Hasbro toylines like Marvel Legends or the Star Wars Black Series doesn’t just relate to the quality of the figures themselves, but also the release strategies they’ll have. On top of the mainline figures and the odd convention exclusive here and there, specific store exclusives are another big avenue for figures and Hasbro have wasted no time bringing Power Rangers into that fold. The Lightning Collection Dragon Shield Black Ranger is the first of what will likely be many figures exclusive to Walgreens in the US (international distribution will be far more varied). Appearing in An Oyster Stew (the final episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers season one), Black Ranger Zack Taylor takes this form after Green Ranger Tommy Oliver transfers over his waning powers so that Zack can break the spell of the Oysterizer. The form is also notable for being completely exclusive to Power Rangers, and does not appear in its Super Sentai equivalent Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Red Ranger & Zeo Gold Ranger


Release Date: July 2019
RRP: $49.99

If there’s one thing Hasbro know, it’s how to make a great convention exclusive. So when the company announced that they would be taking over the Power Rangers brand, naturally fans were eager to see what they had in store for San Diego Comic Con. They certainly hit the ground running with the Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Red Ranger & Zeo Gold Ranger set, celebrating the forms of veteran ranger and original team leader Jason Scott Lee. The Red Ranger figure also depicts him wearing the Dragon Shield armour, passed on to him by Green Ranger Tommy Oliver following the loss of his powers.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who The War Doctor & Dalek Scientist Set


Release Date: August 2019
RRP: £19.99

The War Doctor is perhaps one of the boldest concepts to have come out of Doctor Who since its 2005 relaunch, second only behind that of the Time War itself. An incarnation of the Doctor kept completely secret to viewers, willing to do the things that his previous incarnations weren’t and an instrumental part in the Time Lords’ war against the Daleks. Though he only properly appeared on screen in the 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor, prior to actor John Hurt’s death in 2017 Big Finish brought the character back for four special audio adventure sets that expanded on his exploits in the Time War. As another of their extremely significant contributions to Doctor Who lore, it’s only fitting that the War Doctor joins the Seventh and Eighth Doctors in Character Options B&M exclusive figure sets. The War Doctor & Dalek Scientist set is based upon the story A Thing of Guile, the second story of the War Doctor’s second Time War set.

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who Eighth Doctor & Dalek Interrogator Prime Set


Release Date: August 2019
RRP: £19.99

Although after the 1996 TV movie the Eighth Doctor wouldn't be seen again until 2013's The Night of the Doctor mini-episode, that doesn't mean that he was completely forgotten during Doctor Who's wilderness years. While he was initially expanded upon through novels and comics, arguably it wouldn't be until Big Finish came along that that he was truly defined. From his main range adventures to boxsets like Dark Eyes, Doom Coalition and Ravenous, Big Finish have made a huge contribution to developing a Doctor that has only ever had two onscreen appearances. So much so, that the direct namedropping of his companions in The Night of the Doctor has even made them canon for the most part. So when Character Options announced that they would be producing three Doctor/Dalek two-pack figure sets as part of their 2019 B&M Stores exclusive range, of course the Eighth Doctor would be included. Say hello to the Eighth Doctor & Dalek Interrogator Prime set, based on the story In the Garden of Death from the second Eighth Doctor Time War set.

An extremely limited edition variant version of this set was also made available from Bigfinish.com, with only 150 in existence.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who Seventh Doctor & Axis Strike Squad Dalek Set


Release Date: August 2019
RRP: £19.99

The 2019 assortment of B&M store exclusive Doctor Who action figures was teased to be the most exciting yet, and all Character Options needed to do to confirm that as being true was utter two simple words - Big Finish. For the last 20 years Big Finish have been the company behind Doctor Who audio adventures, expanding the mythos for all of the classic Doctors as well as producing a number of spin-off series and pressing forward with more unexplored concepts from the relaunched series such as the Time War. As part of their offerings for this year Character have announced three sets based on popular Big Finish adventures, pairing an incarnation of the Doctor up with his deadliest enemy - the Daleks. This also marks the first time that the Dalek figure mould has appeared among the B&M exclusive assortments. The first of these sets we'll be looking at is the Seventh Doctor & Axis Strike Squad Dalek set, based on Gallifrey VI - the sixth entry in the Gallifrey spin-off series.

An extremely limited edition variant version of this set was also made available from Bigfinish.com, with only 150 in existence.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Toybox REVIEW: DX Full Power Gridman


Release Date: May 2019, July 2019 (reissue)
RRP: 15,278 yen

When the SSSS.Gridman anime was first announced, one of the biggest questions for collectors was just who would be handling the toys. Whilst the Denkou Chojin Gridman toys were produced by TakaraTomy, Bandai’s domination of the tokusatsu market (as well as their more recent releases in the Ultra-Act and Super Mini-Pla lines) made them feel like a certainty. However while Bandai and Megahouse have both developed their own version of the titular character, studio Trigger’s links with Good Smile Company undoubtedly had a hand in them arguably leading the way when it came to SSSS.Gridman toys. But on top of their various Figma, Nendoroid and scale statue releases, the crown jewel in their offerings is the DX Full Power Gridman – a fully transformable and combinable set that includes both Gridman and his four Assist Weapons.

Monday, 2 September 2019

First Impressions: Kamen Rider Zero-One

Kamen Rider Zero-One

The arrival of Kamen Rider Zero-One is more than just your usual Kamen Rider premiere. With new series starting annually fans are used to see Riders come and go, but rarely do they see one usher in a whole new era. Zero-One marks the beginning of the Reiwa era for Kamen Rider just as Kuuga did for the Heisei era back in 2000, and while this doesn't come after a long hiatus off the air it still aims to be just a significant a landmark in franchise history. Written by Yuya Takahashi (Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, Kamen Rider Amazons: The Last Judgement) and directed by Teruaki Sugihara (Lupinranger vs Patranger), Zero-One also sees legend Seiji Takaiwa pass the mantle of lead suit actor onto Yuya Nawata – whose previous portrayals include Kamen Riders Geiz, Cronus and Neo Alpha.