Monday 30 November 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who History of the Daleks #3 Set

History of The Daleks #3 01

Release Date: October 2020
RRP: £19.99

2020 has been a pretty terrible year all around, so for Doctor Who fans the growing resurgence of Character Option’s figure range has been something of a shining light. Even though the majority of releases are still B&M Stores exclusives, the selection we’ve seen this year far outclasses anything we’ve seen since the line’s heyday. Among their October range of releases the History of the Daleks continues with this third set in the assortment, focusing on the 1965 story The Chase. This story saw the Daleks pursue the Doctor throughout time and space in their own time ship, eventually landing on the planet Mechanus and fighting a dual to the death with the Mechanoids. This two figure set features one Guard Dalek, and one standard silver Dalek drone.

Sunday 29 November 2020

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts The Child

S.H. Figuarts The Child 01

Release Date: September 2020
RRP: 3850 yen

Disney and Lucasfilm might have successfully been able to keep the Child (aka Baby Yoda) a secret in the lead up to season one of The Mandalorian, but in order to do so it meant there wasn't any figures or merchandise in sight at the height of his popularity. Fast forward to a year later and the midst of season two and the companies behind Star Wars certainly aren't going to make that mistake again, with just about every bit of merch you could possibly imagine on the shelves right now. Meanwhile Bandai Tamashii Nations are comfortably in the midst of their S.H. Figuarts releases, and The Mandalorian (Beskar Armor) means nothing without an S.H. Figuarts The Child to go with it. As you can expect from a character of this size Bandai are offering it as a much smaller (and thus cheaper, but S.H. Figuarts standards at the very least) release compared to their full-sized figures, but are also offering plenty of accessories alongside it to help convince you that the Child is worth your money.

Friday 27 November 2020

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts The Mandalorian (Beskar Armor)

S.H. Figuarts The Mandalorian (Beskar Armor) 01

Release Date: September 2020
RRP: 7700 yen

The biggest problem when it came to toys from The Mandalorian was that every company had to strike whilst the iron was hot, despite not knowing anything about how the series was going to pan out. Take that brown and tan armour we saw the titular character wearing in all the promo images and footage for example - all those toys produced were slightly inaccurate within five minutes of the first episode and then by the third the armour had been completely discarded. It's only now a year after the completion of season one that the Disney+ series is getting the full action figure treatment, and this is one element of Star Wars that Bandai Tamashii Nations aren't going to drag their heels on. Following only a few months after their original S.H. Figuarts Mandalorian figure, Din Djarin returns in a new S.H. Figuarts The Mandalorian (Beskar Armor) variant! Despite only being a little bit more expensive than its predecessor, this is a far more extensive release that's able to fully capitalise on the success of the series in terms of design and accessories.

Monday 23 November 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Hero Action Figure Kaiketsu Zubat

Hero Action Figure Kaiketsu Zubat 01

Release Date: September 2020
RRP: 9680 yen

With Bandai Tamashii Nations now having strayed away from the classic tokusatsu heroes of yesteryear, it’s up to companies like Evolution Toy to fill the void and show some love to some of the most under appreciated shows of the Showa era. One of the latest releases in their growing Hero Action Figure line is Kaiketsu Zubat (aka “The Magnificent Zubat”). Starring tokusatsu royalty Hiroshi Miyauchi (Kamen Rider V3, JAKQ Dengekitai, Himitsu Sentai Goranger and more), the 1977 series follows Ken Hayakawa as he battles against the criminal organisation Dakker after his best friend is murdered. Upon donning his Zubasuit, Hayakawa gains superhuman strength and agility.

Friday 20 November 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Zeo Red Ranger

Power Rangers Lightning Collection Zeo Red Ranger 01

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

The Lightning Collection may have provided fans with a reasonably varied selection of characters so far, but even Hasbro have fallen to the same fate as most Power Rangers figures - Tommy Oliver. As the longest-serving ranger running across multiple series, it doesn’t take long for multiple Tommys to show up in a toy line and in just over a year the Lightning Collection is already up to six. Among those released so far is the Lightning Collection Zeo Red Ranger, our red ranger of the line’s sixth wave and third entry from Power Rangers Zeo. Following the destruction of the Command Centre, the Power Rangers are infused with new powers from the gathered Zeo Crystal - becoming stronger than before to battle the new threat of the Machine Empire.

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection In Space Yellow Ranger

Power Rangers Lightning Collection In Space Yellow Ranger 01

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

The Power Rangers Lightning Collection roster continues to grow as Power Rangers In Space properly joins the fold! While we’ve already seen entries from that series (and a whole team no less) thanks to the release of the Psycho Rangers, wave six of Hasbro’s ever-expanding collectors’ line marks the debut of the titular team. And surprisingly it isn’t the obvious choice to begin with, as the team kicks off with the Lightning Collection In Space Yellow Ranger! Ashley Hammond succeeded Tanya Sloan to become the second Yellow Turbo Ranger, before blasting off into space with her teammates and joining Andros in his fight against Astronema.

Monday 16 November 2020

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Spider-Man (Toei TV Series)

S.H. Figuarts Spider-Man (Toei TV Series) 01

Release Date: August 2020
RRP: 7150 yen

While comic-based versions of Spider-Man seem to be off limits (whether it’s by choice or license) to Bandai Tamashii Nations, between the Marvel Cinematic Universe and PlayStation game series they’re still hardly short of options. However there was one important version of Spider-Man missing from the S.H. Figuarts range, and given how deeply the line is rooted in tokusatsu it was certainly the most glaring omission of them all. But wait no further, as the “emissary of hell” aka the Spider-Man of Toei’s 1978 television series has finally arrived. Given his powers by a dying alien from the planet Spider, motorcyclist Takuya Yamashiro battles against the Iron Cross Army with his giant robot Leopardon. As a show that paved the way for one of the key tropes of the Super Sentai franchise, Spider-Man is a tentpole of tokusatsu history. 

Friday 13 November 2020

Miniseries REVIEW: Ultra Galaxy Fight: New Generation Heroes

Ultra Galaxy Fight: New Generation Heroes
Ultra Galaxy Fight: New Generation Heroes is available both subtitled and English dubbed on Youtube

Tsuburaya Productions' Ultraman global takeover plan is a battle that's being fought on several fronts. As well as a simulcast release of the current series and high-quality blu-ray editions of the franchise back catalogue, there's also the ongoing Marvel Comics series and a wider push on toy and merchandising opportunities. But one of the more interesting elements in all of this was the 2019 miniseries Ultra Galaxy Fight: New Generation Heroes. While the concept of an Ultra Fight miniseries is nothing new, this featured a significantly higher budget as well as being the first one to receive a global push on YouTube as well as with a simultaneous English dub version. Originally released as as 13 weekly five-minute episodes, the series was later uploaded as a full 50-minute video. The miniseries acts as both as something of an epilogue to Ultraman R/B as well as a prequel to following series Ultraman Taiga.

Wednesday 11 November 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Cal Kestis

Star Wars Black Series Cal Kestis 01

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

As we further explore the period of time between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, Star Wars fans are discovering more and more Jedi managed to survive Order 66 and have their own stories to tell. One such character is Cal Kestis, former Padawan and star of the 2019 video game Jedi: Fallen Order. Hunted by the Imperial Inquisitor Second Sister, Cal embarks on a mission that sees him travel across the galaxy to unlock the secrets of a Jedi Holocon. The Black Series Cal Kestis figure was released as part of 2019’s Triple Force Friday celebration - marking the release of Fallen Order, The Mandalorian and The Rise of Skywalker with a slew of new merchandise.

Monday 9 November 2020

Toybox REVIEW: G.I. Joe Classified Series "Special Missions: Cobra Island" Cobra Trooper

GI Joe Classified Series "Cobra Island" Cobra Trooper 01

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

We’re only two waves into the new G.I. Joe Classified Series line and already Hasbro have extended it with a store-exclusive sub-range, which in hindsight hasn’t gone down all that well with collectors given the ever-increasing popularity (and as a result, scarcity) of these figures. The Special Missions: Cobra Island range is already confirmed to run across multiple assortments and is being released exclusively at Target in the US, whilst in the UK the first assortment came as standard releases (it’s looking unlikely we’ll receive the second). Whilst this range also includes popular characters like Roadblock and the Baroness, it also inexplicably features army builder characters such as the Cobra Trooper. Naturally a lot of collectors are going to want to fill up the ranks of their ruthless terrorist organisation with these figures, so making it a hard to find is exclusive is a little strange. 

Friday 6 November 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection In Space Psycho Green

Power Rangers Lightning Collection Psycho Green 01

Release Date: July 2020
RRP: $19.99

With the Power Rangers comic series from Boom! Studios continuing to go from strength to strength, Hasbro's Lightning Collection also has another element of the franchise to draw inspiration from. The line has gotten in on comic-original designs pretty early with the release of both Lord Drakkon and Ranger Slayer, but there was still one character from those earlier issues still outstanding. Issue 20 marked the first appearance of Psycho Green - a sixth Psycho Ranger who battled against Zordon's original team of rangers on the moon in 1969. The short story "Psychotic" revealed his identity as Trek, an alien from the planet Xybria who betrayed his team of Supersonic Rangers to become Dark Specter's first Psycho Ranger. Finally Psycho Green also appeared in The Psycho Path graphic novel, which saw Karone try to help rehabilitate the Psycho Rangers following her time as Astronema. Psycho Green was previously released in Bandai of America's Legacy Collection as an SDCC exclusive in 2018, but joins the Lightning Collection as a somewhat more accessible Hasbro Pulse exclusive. "Somewhat" being because Hasbro Pulse only ships to the US and Canada - making them far more difficult for the rest of the world to acquire.

Wednesday 4 November 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection In Space Psycho Rangers

Power Rangers Lightning Collection Psycho Rangers 01

Release Date: August 2020
RRP: $99.99/£99.99

Among the most common complaints of previous Power Rangers toy lines was the lack of full team sets. Figures would be packed as single releases and spread across multiple ways, and should the line prove not as popular as expected there was no guarantee that the team would ever be completed. We saw it with the Bandai of America Legacy Collection, and we even saw it with the S.H. Figuarts line over in Japan as well. So when Hasbro took control of the brand and rolled out the Lightning Collection there was the question of whether history would repeat itself, but it's taken just over a year for that question to be answered. The Amazon exclusive Lightning Collection In Space Psycho Rangers set celebrates the franchise's most recognisable evil rangers, featuring all five figures as well as a number of accessories and premium packaging. Despite quickly becoming firm fan favourites after their debut in Power Rangers in Space, this is this the first time all five Psycho Rangers have appeared together in one toy line.

Monday 2 November 2020

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Ace

S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Ace 01

Release Date: July 2020
RRP: 6050 yen

Although Bandai Tamashii Nations took things a little off course when they skipped ahead to Ultraman Taro last year, the immediate goal of the Showa era Ultraman S.H. Figuarts range has always been clear - complete the six Ultra Brothers. It's taken a while to get there, but that goal has finally been reached in 2020 with the release of S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Ace. Previously I'd expected this to be release to follow Ultraman Jack given that Bandai had been going in series order, but with the hype surrounding Ultraman Taiga last year it did make sense to jump ahead to Taro and then come back to round things off with Ace. It's been a pretty good year for Ultraman Ace in general given that the 1972 series was also released officially with English subtitles for the first time thanks to the continuing efforts of Tsuburaya Productions and Mill Creek Entertainment. While at the moment there doesn't seem to be any accompanying aliens or kaiju from the series in sight, it's still a big moment to have these key figures of the Ultraman multiverse finally assembled under the S.H. Figuarts banner.