Wednesday 30 September 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Dino Thunder White Ranger

Power Rangers Lightning Collection Dino Thunder White Ranger 01

Release Date: August 2020
RRP: $19.99/£19.99

One of the most fun things about collecting the Power Rangers Lightning Collection is that you never know where the latest reveal is going to show up next. Take the Lightning Collection Dino Thunder White Ranger for example - first it showed up in a Malaysian store, then was widely available in UK stores before Hasbro even properly acknowledged its existence. The fan favourite extra ranger from Power Rangers Dino Thunder has had a somewhat tumultuous release, but is finally here and as a Walgreens exclusive in the US. Adopted son of the genius Anton Mercer, Trent Fernandez initially acted as a lone agent - even allying himself with his step father’s evil alter-ego Mesogog against the Dino Thunder Rangers. When the evil within the white Dino Gem was finally destroyed, Trent allied himself with the other rangers to help defeat Mesogog and save his father.

Monday 28 September 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Marvel Legends Deluxe 'Age of Apocalypse' Apocalypse

Marvel Legends AOA Apocalypse 01

Release Date: August 2020
RRP: $29.99/£29.99

Alternate universe stories are one of my favourite concepts in science fiction, so when it comes to the X-Men it shouldn’t be any surprise to hear that Age of Apocalypse is by far my favourite thing to come out of the franchise. An epic event depicting a universe where Apocalypse successfully wages war on humankind and takes control of the Earth, the 1995-96 story remains the gold standard for AUs in comics. I’m no Marvel Legends collector, but when Hasbro announced a wave of Age of Apocalypse figures my interest was piqued - and there was no way I could resist the deluxe Marvel Legends Age of Apocalypse Apocalypse figure. Separate from the main wave, this special release is a reworking of the 2018 build-a-figure, reimagining the despotic mutant En Sabur Nur in his alternate universe form.

Saturday 26 September 2020

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Den-O Sword Form & Gun Form

S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Kamen Rider Den-O Sword & Gun Form 01

Release Date: May 2020
RRP: 8800 yen

Bandai Tamashii Nations immediately set the bar pretty high when it came to the S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou range, but their recent releases have been pushing the envelope and showing off just why these are a cut above normal Figuarts. It's always the most exciting when it's announced they're going to be moving onto a new Kamen Rider series to see what new tricks they'll throw in, but I don't think anyone quite expected what they had in store for Kamen Rider Den-O. S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Kamen Rider Den-O Sword Form & Gun Form is a two-in-one deal that features two of the Rider's main form changes in one figure, thanks to a number of swappable parts. Bandai had previously toyed with the idea of a larger transforming Den-O figure at the Tamashii Nations event in 2017, but since that never came to pass you could consider this its spiritual successor. Sure it may not transform properly, but adding form changes to S.H. Figuarts even in this capacity is something that hasn't been dared since its predecessor line Souchaku Henshin. 

Wednesday 23 September 2020

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Black Widow (Black Widow Ver.)

SH Figuarts Black Widow (Solo Movie) 01

Release Date: June 2020
RRP: 6600 yen

Among all the key characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the one who’s had the most unfortunate time of things is undoubtedly Black Widow. First came her troubled subplot in Avengers: Age of Ultron, then came her rather unceremonious death in Avengers: Endgame and now after years of being denied one, her upcoming solo movie has been delayed indefinitely thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. But while the wheels of Hollywood may have stopped turning the merchandising game certainly hasn’t, with both Hasbro and Bandai Tamashii Nations having both put out their Black Widow movie offerings at the time of film’s originally proposed May 2020 release date. S.H. Figuarts Black Widow may come only a short time after the release of the Endgame version, but given her absence from the film’s final battle this general release figure fits in pretty well with Tamashii’s current slew of re-released characters. Whilst Hasbro have been fairly thorough with their Marvel Legends wave, this version of Widow and Taskmaster are currently the only characters released on the Bandai side of things.

Monday 21 September 2020

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts The Mandalorian

S.H. Figuarts The Mandalorian 01

Release Date: May 2020
RRP: 6600 yen

Compared to the more mixed reaction to the sequel trilogy The Mandalorian has become the first Star Wars franchise’s new golden goose, so it’s no surprise to see toy companies making the most out of the lucrative Disney+ series. Bandai Tamashii Nations have solidified their Star Wars range as a key part of the S.H. Figuarts brand, and now that only continues to expand with the release of S.H. Figuarts The Mandalorian. The first of what will likely be many releases from the series, this figure features the bounty hunter Din Djarin is his initial armour.

Tuesday 15 September 2020

Anime REVIEW: Gundam Build Divers Re:Rise

Gundam Build Divers Re:Rise
Gundam Build Divers Re:Rise is available in streaming form on Crunchyroll and YouTube

While the model kits have always been a huge part of Gundam culture, the arrival of Gundam Build Fighters in 2013 truly went and made them a significant Gundam multimedia. Sure there had been anime specials based on gunpla before, but this loving tribute to the hobby won the hearts of fans worldwide and ensured a whole string of gunpla-based sequels. Next came Gundam Build Fighters Try in 2016, followed by Gundam Build Divers in 2018. Finally we return to the virtual reality MMO of Gunpla Battle Nexus Online in Gundam Build Divers Re:Rise - a direct sequel to the previous show starring an all-new cast. Despite beginning in October 2019, the 26-episode series ended in August 2020 - owing not only to a one-cour break between its two halves but also a two month delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Sunday 13 September 2020

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Captain Marvel (Avengers: Endgame)

SH Figuarts Captain Marvel (Avengers Endgame) 01

Release Date: June 2020
RRP: 7700 yen

Avengers: Endgame provided Marvel Cinematic Universe fans with the largest assembly of Marvel heroes on screen yet, and it's no surprise to see that Bandai Tamashii Nations are largely going the same way with their S.H. Figuarts releases as well. In fact so much so that they're also currently doubling up on the main cast members with "final battle" editions with decos and parts more accurate to the film itself (since a lot of the original releases were presumably based off of concept art). There's still plenty of gaps though, with one being filled with the release of S.H. Figuarts Captain Marvel (Avengers: Endgame)! The second S.H. Figuarts release of Carol Danvers, this Tamashii web exclusive release is based on her new costume and appearance following the film's five year time skip – notably appearing at the end of the film to help the Avengers' last stand against Thanos' forces.

Thursday 10 September 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who "The Jungles of Mechanus" Dalek Set

Doctor Who 'The Jungles of Mechanus' Dalek Set 01

Release Date: September 2020
RRP: £24.99

Between a wave of new modern series releases and their current slate of B&M exclusives Character Options have really impressed Doctor Who toy collectors with their 2020 offerings, but I don’t think anyone was fully expecting what they’ve pulled out for their latest Character online store exclusive. The 1965 story The Chase featured a number of Daleks not native to the television production, and were in fact borrowed from the forthcoming Dr. Who and the Daleks - a colourful movie adaptation of the first Dalek story. Though they originally appeared in the story sans fender and with smaller lamps as “Guard Daleks”, the final episode featured blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameos of them in their full movie glory. And it’s because of this technicality, that Character have been able to release The Jungles of Mechanus exclusive Dalek set - 2-pack of colourful and unique Daleks that definitely appeared in The Chase and aren’t in any way simply movie Daleks. Really, who could have seen that coming?

Tuesday 8 September 2020

First Impressions: Kamen Rider Saber

Kamen Rider Saber

With Kamen Rider gearing up to celebrate its 50th anniversary next year and seemingly a harder push to bring previous shows and merchandise to North America (there'll be none of that "the West" business here), now seems to be a particularly pivotal time for the franchise as a whole. Although Kamen Rider Zero-One faced some difficulties during its final stretch thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the wheels at Toei keep on turning and now it's time to introduce the second Kamen Rider of the Reiwa era. Kamen Rider Saber is the 31st series in the franchise overall, joining Mashin Sentai Kiramager in the current Super Hero Time line up. The show is being written by Takuro Fukuda (Kamen Rider Ghost), and directed by longtime Rider director Takayuki Shibasaki. Saber also sees a changeover in the lead suit actor once again, with the mantle now being passed on to Kosuke Asai - whose credits include Zyuoh Eagle, Ninnin Red, Lupin Red, Kamen Rider Cronus and most recently Kamen Rider Vulcan.

Sunday 6 September 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Kit Fisto

Star Wars Black Series Kit Fisto 01

Release Date: July 2020
RRP: $19.99/£19.99

The Star Wars Black Series has been showing a great deal of prequels love in recent waves, so it's about time that Hasbro filled out the ranks of the Jedi Council a little bit more. Joining Plo Koon in one of the most recent wave of releases is the Nautolan Jedi Master Kit Fisto, who appeared during the Battle of Geonosis in Attack of the Clones before being struck down by Darth Sidious in Revenge of the Sith. Fisto also appeared in both the 2d animated and CGI Clone Wars series, with both depictions helping making him a firm fan favourite.

Thursday 3 September 2020

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider Zero-One

Kamen Rider Zero-One

2019 saw the dawning of a new era for Kamen Rider, as after 20 series we said goodbye to the Heisei era with Kamen Rider Zi-O and welcomed in the Reiwa era. Though not as monumental as the franchise returning to television screens after a long absence with Kuuga in 2000, nevertheless there was plenty of speculation on what changes Kamen Rider Zero-One may bring to the table. Written by Yuya Takahashi (Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, Kamen Rider Amazons: The Last Judgement) and directed by Teruaki Sugihara (Lupinranger vs Patranger), Zero-One ran for a total of 45 numbered episodes, with five additional clip episodes produced during a hiatus brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Tuesday 1 September 2020

Custom Figure: ‘The Curse of the Daleks’ Supreme Dalek

Custom Curse of the Daleks Supreme Dalek 01

Back in 2015 in my Ultimate Adventure custom Dalek post I foolishly said that I wished The Curse of the Daleks had its own unique Dalek variant so that I could make customs from all three Doctor Who stage plays. This was actually incorrect, as Curse of the Daleks did indeed have its own unique variant - a black Supreme Dalek using the same body as the original 1963 Daleks. So, having an abundance of these Daleks at my fingertips thanks to the release of the B&M History of the Daleks sets, I set about finally filling this gap in my collection.