Saturday 31 October 2020

Custom Figure: "Mission of Doom" Dalek

Custom Mission of Doom Dalek 01

For those who aren’t so into scavenging or producing alternate parts, the release of the Jungles of Mechanus Dalek set opened some great new opportunities for Dalek customisers. With the thicker bases and extended dome lights at their disposal, it wouldn’t take much to produce the movie Daleks that Character Options are unable to produce themselves. The black and red Daleks from Dr. Who & the Daleks are a given, but for my latest custom I decided to dig a little deeper into the world of Doctor Who fandom. The result of that is the Mission of Doom Dalek, one that might be an unofficial colour scheme but still has quite the interesting place in Dalek history.

Wednesday 28 October 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Garazeb "Zeb" Orrelios

Star Wars Black Series Garazeb "Zeb" Orrelios 01

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

2020 marks a big year for the Star Wars Black Series toy line as it goes through another major overhaul - introducing brand new packaging as well as all-new sculpts for some of its most reused moulds (looking at you Stormtrooper). Among the first waves of relaunched figures were brand new reissues of the Star Wars Rebels cast with photo-real head sculpts (where appropriate), and the return of the Ghost crew can only mean one thing - fans prayers have at long last been answered. At long last, Black Series Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios has finally arrived. The Lasat Honour Guard was the last member of the crew needed in the line, and after years of rumours and teases Hasbro have finally delivered in the form of this deluxe release.

Sunday 25 October 2020

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Tregear

S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Tregear 01

Release Date: June 2020
RRP: 7150 yen

With Ultraman Belial seemingly gone for good at the end of Ultraman Geed it was high time for a new dark Ultra to join Tsuburaya Productions' ever-growing Ultraman multiverse. Fans didn't have to wait too long either, as the twisted Ultraman Tregear was introduced in the subsequent series' finale movie - Ultraman R/B the Movie: Select! The Crystal of Bond. A former friend of Ultraman Taro who fell to the darkness after his sense of justice was shattered, Tregear is a remorseless trickster who deceives people by offering to fulfil their dreams. After his defeat at the hands of Ultraman Groob, Tregear would then go on to become the main antagonist of Ultraman Taiga - clashing with the New Generation Heroes and later the Tri-Squad upon their arrival on Earth. As such, it's no surprise that an S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Tregear was in order as soon as Bandai Tamashii Nations began covering Taiga in the line. Tregear was the second release from the series and the first to be a Tamashii web exclusive, with only Taiga himself being released as a general retail item.

Friday 23 October 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection SPD Omega Ranger & Uniforce Cycle

Power Rangers Lightning Collection SPD Omega Ranger & Uniforce Cycle 01

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

With how prominent motorcycles and other vehicles have been in the Power Rangers franchise, it was only a matter of time before Hasbro introduced them into the Lightning Collection. While for many shows these vehicles had more prominence as toys than they did in the series itself, instalments like Power Rangers SPD (as well as its Super Sentai counterpart Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger) featured them quite heavily on-screen too. After all, this was the series where even it’s main villain rode around on a motorcycle. With that in mind, what better place to start than with the Lightning Collection SPD Omega Ranger and Uniforce Cycle set? Arriving to the year 2025 from further in the future to assist Space Patrol Delta’s B Squad Rangers, Sam joins the team as it’s sixth main team member. This set was released exclusively through Amazon.

Tuesday 20 October 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Storm Collectibles Mortal Kombat 3 Classic Sub-Zero

Storm Collectibles Mortal Kombat 3 Classic Sub-Zero 01

Release Date: February 2020
RRP: $70

Hong Kong-based manufacturer Storm Collectibles have created quite a name for themselves over the past few years with their range of action figures, particularly in the realm of video games in which they specialise. Their repertoire includes the likes of Street Fighter, Tekken, Darkstalkers, King of Fighters and more, but there’s one franchise particularly that they’ve set the standard for - Mortal Kombat. Focussing on the classic era of the overly bloody fighting game, Storm Collectibles have released a range of characters from the first three games in the series. Among these is their Mortal Kombat 3 classic Sub-Zero, based on the original masked version of the iconic Lin Kuei ice ninja. The classic variant of Sub-Zero appeared in the expanded Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 version (as well as Mortal Kombat Trilogy), alongside his younger brother who has held the mantle since Mortal Kombat 2. The classic Sub-Zero’s identity within the game’s narrative is presented as a mystery (the original Sub-Zero having become Noob Saibot by this point in the timeline), but the truth is to many players it didn’t really matter - all they saw and wanted was an updated version of the classic and instantly more recognisable iteration.

Saturday 17 October 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who 'Companions of the Fourth Doctor' Set

Doctor Who 'Companions of the Fourth Doctor' Set 01

Release Date: July 2020
RRP: £19.99

The cost of new tooling for the Doctor Who line is clearly still something of an issue for Character Options, even if it is building up new strengths as a B&M Stores exclusive range. Right now the money is going into brand new head sculpts, with bodies being recycled from other figures to increase variety but keep costs down at the same time. It's a practice that can go either way, but clearly Character have thought about it well if it results in releases like the Companions of the Fourth Doctor set. This three-pack brings together three classic characters from Tom Baker's time in the role - Sarah Jane Smith, Romana I and Romana II.

Wednesday 14 October 2020

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Valkyrie Rushing Cheetah

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Valkyrie Rushing Cheetah 01

Release Date: July 2020
RRP: 6050 yen

Long time S.H. Figuarts collectors will be used to some of the strange decisions Bandai Tamashii Nations make when it comes to which characters are retail releases and which are Tamashii web exclusives, but even then there are still times where placement can feel unjustified. When Kamen Rider Zero-One came onto the scene it immediately boasted an extensive cast of Riders, including the never-seen-before of appearance of a female Rider right from the get-go. As a result A.I.M.S. technical advisor Yua Yaiba immediately gained a firm fan following, but despite her prominence S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Valkyrie Rushing Cheetah still joins the line as a web exclusive. It might be because deep down Bandai still don't feel women characters sell as men, or it could simply be that there's simply no room in the Zero-One range to have any more than two retail releases. Either way, that's sadly the situation for this somewhat landmark Rider. Yua's journey throughout the Zero-One series proved equally tumultuous, going on to act as ZAIA's lapdog before eventually turning against Gai Amatsu and later inadvertently becoming instrumental in the rise of Kamen Rider Ark-Zero. By the end of series, Yaiba goes on to forge her own path - becoming the new commander of a now-independent A.I.M.S Squad.

Monday 12 October 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who 'U.N.I.T. 1971 - The Claws of Axos' Set

Doctor Who UNIT 1971 - The Claws of Axos Set 01

Release Date: July 2020
RRP: £19.99

As the Doctor Who toy line begins to retrieve its lost strength through the now staple B&M Stores exclusive range, fans are seeing a steady supply of both new characters and re-released (albeit slightly altered) versions of popular and sought after characters from the line’s heyday. One such example is the U.N.I.T. 1971 - The Claws of Axos three-pack, based on the third Doctor story and featuring both old and new releases. Alongside Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart are Captain Mike Yates and Sergeant John Benton - staples of the Doctor’s earthbound adventures and arguably companions of the Doctor in their own right. 

Wednesday 7 October 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Time Force Red Ranger

Power Rangers Lightning Collection Time Force Red Ranger 01

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

As someone who collects far too many other toy lines to go all in on the Power Rangers Lightning Collection, I’ve tried to primarily limit myself to reds and sixths (outside of a few favourites) as far as the rangers themselves are concerned. That means it’s especially exciting when Hasbro delve further into the franchise’s history with a series previously untouched, and doubly so when it’s one S.H. Figuarts didn’t make any attempt at. Wave five of the line brought fan-favourite Power Rangers Time Force into the fold, and what better place to start than with the Lightning Collection Time Force Red Ranger. When the Time Force Rangers travel back to the year 2001 in pursuit of Ransik, Wesley “Wes” Collins becomes the team’s second red ranger following the death of Alex Drake. Though originally he was only given a Chrono Morpher to unlock the other Rangers’ abilities in the past, Wes defied them to become the red ranger anyway - becoming a valuable member of the team and even retaining the position after timeline fluctuations undid Alex’s death.

Monday 5 October 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Cad Bane & Todo 360

Star Wars Black Series Cad Bane & Todo 360 01

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

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down, and the cancellation of all major events and conventions has seen toy companies have to rethink their plans when it came to their exclusive releases. Hasbro especially have had a lot to work with given both the variety and popularity of their collector lines. One such example is the Star Wars Black Series Cad Bane & Todo 360 set, the long-awaited release of the popular bounty hunter from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. While it's not quite clear what this release was originally planned for, it was meant to be a shared European exclusive. Instead it was released as a fan channel exclusive in Europe across various stores, arriving on month ahead of its US release via Hasbro Pulse. A standard version of the Duros bounty hunter will also arrive as part of the line's 27th wave, however that does NOT include his techno-service droid partner.

Friday 2 October 2020

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Horobi Sting Scorpion

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Horobi Sting Scorpion 01

Release Date: June 2020
RRP: 6050 yen

Whenever there's a new Kamen Rider series with a multitude of Riders it's always fun to see how many of them receive general retail S.H. Figuarts before Bandai Tamashii Nations implement the Tamashii web exclusive curse, and in the case of Kamen Rider Zero-One the answer is two. Sure the titular Rider's other forms might make it to retail, but of the core six Riders the show only Zero-One and Vulcan managed to escape that fate. The first of the web exclusive Riders is S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Horobi Sting Scorpion, rogue Humagear and founder of the cyberterrorist group Dedicated to exterminating humanity so that his Humagear brothers and sisters could live freely, Horobi continuously clashed with Aruto Hiden – eventually becoming the first host of the rogue satellite Ark. Even after Ark's defeat Horobi continued his crusade to rid the world of human malice, culminating in a climactic showdown between the two Riders.