Friday 31 December 2021

Favourite Toys of 2021

Favourite Toys of 2021

Another year has flown by, which means once again I'm picking out my ten favourite (plus one honourable mention) toy releases from the past 365 days. I started 2021 with an embarrassingly long back catalogue of reviews to do and I'm ending it with one too, but for the most part I think I've successfully managed to cover anything that had a good chance of getting into the top 10. As usual the list is limited to figures that were newly released in 2021, with only one repaint/remould slipping in this year. So read on to find out the full rundown, and be sure to let me know what your favourites were in the comments!

Thursday 30 December 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Generations Selects Galvatron

Transformers Generations Selects Galvatron 01

Release Date: September 2021
RRP: $58.99/£52.99

The Generations Selects line has proved an excellent means of getting some of the more interesting repaints and characters in the Transformers universe out to collectors, and avenues like Hasbro Pulse and the fan channel (particularly in places Pulse isn't available) are the perfect means of distributing them. 2021 saw Transformers fans FINALLY get a classic-styled Galvatron they can be proud of with the leader class Kingdom Galvatron, and with that figure being as good as it is why only stop at one? It didn't take long for Hasbro to announce that a Generations Selects Galvatron would soon be going into production, this time based on the grey and purple colour scheme of the original Generation One toy from 1986. Now fans of both cartoon and toy accuracy colouring can bask in what's been the best Galvatron figure in quite some time.

Friday 24 December 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Trigger Multi Type

S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Trigger Multi Type 01

Release Date: November 2021
RRP: 3850 yen

If you've ever wanted to get into the wonderfully addictive and horribly expensive world of S.H. Figuarts collecting, then the beginning of a brand new Kamen Rider and Ultraman series is always the best time. For the past few years Bandai Tamashii Nations have been offering the titular heroes from these two franchises at a lower than normal price, enticing buyers in before they become to resigned to the standard price tags and endless Tamashii web exclusives like the rest of us. 2021 saw Tsuburaya Productions celebrate the 25th anniversary of Ultraman Tiga, reimagining its legend with Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga. What better place is there for Bandai to start a brand new series of releases than with the all-purpose base form – S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Trigger Multi Type.

Thursday 23 December 2021

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider Revice: The Movie

Sometimes the various traditions that Toei have set out for the Kamen Rider and Super Sentai franchises can seem so set in stone that it feels like there's little room for innovation, but every so often something exciting and different does manage to slip in and become the new norm. One such example is the recent string of teaser films that have been produced - attached to various movie offerings and airing just ahead of the full show release. Mashin Sentai Kiramager was the first series to get one with its Episode ZERO in 2020, with Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger following with Red Battle! All Sentai Rally! this year. However this year also saw Kamen Rider Revice get in on the action with Kamen Rider Revice: The Movie  - a 25 minute mini-movie attached to giant crossover anniversary film Saber + Zenkaiger: Superhero Senki.

Tuesday 21 December 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Z Original

S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Z Original 01

Release Date: September 2021 
RRP: 4950 yen

At a time when any tokusatsu character getting a second retail release is becoming a rarity, for one to get another one nearly a year after their series has passed is quite the surprise. But clearly Bandai Tamashii Nations have been paying attention to the overwhelming popularity of their Ultraman Z figures, as S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Z Original somehow manages to escape the clutches of Tamashii web exclusivity. Though rarely seen in combat in the series itself, Ultraman Z's base form appears regularly throughout the series during both the transformation sequences and his various conversations with his host Haruki Natsukawa. It did however have a starring role in the Ultraman Z & Zero voice dramas that accompanied the show, as well as appearing in Ultraman Chronicle Z, Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Absolute Conspiracy and, most recently, Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga.

Friday 17 December 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Masters of the Universe Masterverse Revelation Skeletor

MOTU Masterverse Revelation Skeletor 01

Release Date: June 2021
RRP: $19.99/£19.99

2021 will be remembered as the year I finally got into Masters of the Universe, not just due to release of Kevin Smith's Masters of the Universe: Revelation but also because of the criminally underrated 2021 CGI reboot He-Man and the Masters of the Universe that also debuted on Netflix shortly afterward. Rest assured I will be checking out the previous iterations in due course. For toy collectors getting into a new franchise also means sampling some of the toys on offer too, and with Masterverse Revelation He-Man in-hand there was no way I wasn't going to get his mortal enemy as well. In fact Masters of the Universe Masterverse Revelation Skeletor was the main one I wanted to get from Mattel's latest line of MOTU collector figures, simply due to his status as one of the most iconic 80s cartoon villains and of course that brilliant character design.

Monday 13 December 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Tyrannosaurus Sentry

Power Rangers Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Tyrannosaurus Sentry 01

Release Date: December 2021
RRP: $22.99/£24.99

One of the biggest stories to come out of the Power Rangers universe in the last few years was undoubtedly Shattered Grid – a multi-issue comic event from Boom! Studios which saw the
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers team (as well as all the other rangers from across the franchise) face off against Lord Drakkon, an evil version of Tommy Oliver who sought to gain power from across the Morphing Grid. Since the event both Lord Drakkon and the Ranger Slayer (a brainwashed version of Kimberly initially under Drakkon's control) have gone on to reappear in the comics, as well as feature in video games and various pieces of merchandise – including Hasbro's Lightning Collection. Now the Morphing Grid continues to shatter as Hasbro unveil the next figure from the comics continuity to join the line – the Lighting Collection Mighty Morphin Tyrannosaurus Sentry. These soldiers act as the elite personal guard of Drakkon, helping to carry out his will and battle against the resistance force known as 'The Coinless'. The Tyrannosaurus Sentry was released exclusively via Hasbro Pulse and (in the US) Target stores.

Friday 10 December 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Masters of the Universe Masterverse Revelation He-Man

Masters of the Universe Masterverse Revelation He-Man 01

Release Date: June 2021
RRP: $19.99/£19.99

Despite being a fan of a number of 80s cult toy franchises, Masters of the Universe is one that I've only ever had a passing interest in. I've always been aware of the characters and enjoyed the odd episode now and again, but in general it's been something that mostly passed me by. However with the franchise making something of a grand return in 2021 with both Masters of the Universe: Revelation and the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe CGI reimagining on Netflix, now seemed like the perfect time to dive in. Over on the toy side of things Mattel have also done big things with MOTU this year – not only reissuing the original toys but also creating the Masterverse range – an all-encompassing line for figures from across the franchise's various iterations. And it's here that the cast of Revelations have found their home, so what better place to start my journey into Masters of the Universe toys than with MOTU Masterverse Revelation He-Man?

Wednesday 8 December 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Studio Series 86 Wreck-Gar

Transformers Studio Series 86 Wreck-Gar 01

Release Date: August 2021
RRP: $31.99/£34.99

One of the great things about Transformers: The Movie is how big it made the G1 universe feel. Suddenly we weren't just dealing with Autobots and Decepticons on Earth and Cybertron, but a whole cosmos of transforming robots on multiple sides of the conflict. After the Autobots crash land on the Planet of Junk we're soon introduced to the Junkions – a race of TV-talking robots with both the ability to transform and quickly repair themselves. After initially viewing the Autobots as hostile, Hot Rod is able to befriend their leader Wreck-Gar (voiced by Monty Python legend Eric Idle) – leading the Junkions to help defeat Unicron and become an ally of the Autobots going forwards. Despite being seldomly used outside of G1 continuity the Junkion leader has become a firm fan favourite, so it's only fitting that Hasbro mark the movie's 35th anniversary with the release of the voyager class Studio Series 86 Wreck-Gar figure.

Monday 6 December 2021

Reviews in Time & Space: Doctor Who: Flux Chapter Six - The Vanquishers

Doctor Who: Flux Chapter 6 - The Vanquishers

It's been six action-packed weeks but the end has finally arrived, as Doctor Who series 13 draws to a close - ending both this series' ongoing Flux storyline and signalling the beginning of the end for Jodie Whittaker's 13th Doctor. While there is usually a pretty high expectation when it comes to series finales as the culmination of the show's first series-long story in decades, it's fair to say that anticipation is running particular high when it comes to The Vanquishers. As per the rest of the series, this final chapter was written by show runner Chris Chibnall and directed by chapters three and five director Azhur Saleem.

Sunday 5 December 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Zeronos Altair Form

S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Zeronos Altair Form 01

Release Date: July 2021
RRP: 7700 yen

With the amount of Kamen Rider Den-O figures there are to (re)release as part of the S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou range combined with the overall popularity of Den-O in general, releasing the titular Rider's main forms in two-in-one sets was a pretty genius idea on Bandai Tamashii Nation's part. That releases from the series have been pretty sparse with everything else going on in the line too, so much so that's it's taken just over a year since the release of Sword & Gun Form for S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Zeronos Altair Form to finally arrive. The secondary Rider of Kamen Rider Den-O and time traveller arrives as the second Tamashii web exclusive from the series, which based on further releases already solicited for the 2022 will likely be the way all future Den-O Seihous are released.

Thursday 2 December 2021

Movie REVIEW: Kaizoku Sentai: Ten Gokaiger

Kaizoku Sentai: Ten Gokaiger

One of the greatest joys about the Super Sentai franchise is that no one's ever really gone. Even when a series has completed its year-long run, that team will likely return for both a Versus movie the following year and cameos in future productions. A select few have even been lucky enough to get a new V-Cinema film ten years later. Super Sentai may be celebrating its 45th anniversary in 2021, but that also means its celebrating the tenth anniversary of its 35th anniversary series - Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger. And to mark the occasion the pirate Sentai are back in Kaizoku Sentai: Ten Gokaiger - a brand new film continuing their  story as well as debuting a whole new selection of Ranger Keys. The film was written by Gokaiger's head writer Naruhisa Arakawa, and directed by Shojiro Nakazawa.

Tuesday 30 November 2021

Reviews in Time & Space: Doctor Who: Flux Chapter Five - Survivors of the Flux

Doctor Who: Flux Chapter 5 - Survivors of the Flux

After that shocking cliffhanger at the end of Village of the Angels I think it's time for some answers. With only two episodes of Doctor Who: Flux left, there's still an awful lot of ground to cover when it comes to all the various plot threads that have been running through the miniseries. Who is Swarm? What do the Division want with the Doctor? Why is Joseph Williamson running around time and space? And how is the Doctor going to save everyone from the cataclysmic event that's ravaging the universe? In the fifth chapter of Flux we see what little is left of it, in a story entitled Survivors of the Flux. With this chapter the story returns to being solely written by show runner Chris Chibnall, with both this and the final episode being directed by Azhur Saleem.

Sunday 28 November 2021

Series REVIEW: Dogengers: Nice Buddy

Dogengers: Nice Buddy

One of the most pleasant surprises in the tokusatsu world last year was a little show by the name of Dogengers, which showed off several of Japan's local heroes (and villains!) in a 12-episode love letter to both superheroes and tokusatsu as a whole. While it's popularity in its home country was perhaps to be expected, what its makers probably didn't expect was just how much of a hit it would prove with fans across the globe as well. Proof that you can't keep a good hero down, Rookie, Ohgaman, KitaQman, Yamashiron, El Brave and Fukuokalibur are all back for a second series of superhero shenanigans - this time going by the title of Dogengers: Nice Buddy. These further 12 episodes saw the return of director Fumie Arakawa (Super Sentai, Tokusatsu Gagaga), with Suzumuru Nobuhiro (who has also worked on a number of Super Sentai and Kamen Rider shows) joining her as co-director.

Thursday 25 November 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Tenga Warrior

Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Tenga Warrior 01

Release Date: May 2021 
RRP: $19.99/£19.99 

While Power Rangers naturally owes a lot to Super Sentai, arguably it's always at its most interesting when it's doing something original – especially when it comes to villains. And with the Putty Patrollers having run their course over the first two seasons of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, when it came to season three it was time for a new set of monsters to terrorise the Rangers on a weekly basis. After first making their debut on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (where they were named 'Tengu Warriors'), the Tenga Warriors were repurposed for the main show – arriving as a wedding present for Rita and Zedd from Rita's brother Rito Revolto. Referred to as "the fiercest warriors in the universe", the Tenga initially overwhelmed the Rangers but later proved no match for their new ninja powers. When Rita's father Master Vile arrived on the scene, the Tengas were powered up to become even more deadly – forcing the Rangers to transform further with their metallic armour. Now the list of monsters Hasbro has produced continues to grow, as the Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Tenga Warrior arrives as part of the line's ninth wave.

Wednesday 24 November 2021

Reviews in Time & Space: Doctor Who: Flux Chapter Four - Village of the Angels

Doctor Who: Flux Chapter 4 - Village of the Angels

There have been many monsters that have come and gone since Doctor Who returned to television screens in 2005, but none of them have had quite the same impact that the Weeping Angels have had. For whatever reason the idea of statues that only move when no one is watching has really stuck in the public's consciousness, with "don't blink" becoming a series catchphrase as the Angels have endured to join the likes of the Daleks and Cybermen as the show's most iconic monsters. Now they're back again for the fourth chapter in Doctor Who: Flux, titled Village of the Angels. This episode stands out from the rest of series 13 as it's the only one that Chris Chibnall is joined by a co-writer - Maxine Alderton, who wrote last year's The Haunting of Villa Diodati.

Thursday 18 November 2021

Series REVIEW: Kaiketsu Zubat

Kaiketsu Zubat

While the legendary mangaka Shotaro Ishinomori is best known in the world of tokusatsu for the likes of Kamen Rider and Super Sentai, his creativity was stamped all over a number of shows produced by Toei in the 1970s and 80s. Among his more popular superhero entries is Kaiketsu Zubat ("The Magnificent Zubat"), a 1977 series that ran for a total of 32 episodes. The series stars Hiroshi Miayauchi in the lead role, a legend in the world of henshin heroes but arguably best known for his roles as Shiro Kazami/Kamen Rider V3 and Sokichi Banba/Big One in JAKQ Dengekitai. A rather unique series that rejects some of the more traditional henshin hero tropes in favour of modern Western/detective flavour, it initially received high audience ratings but poor toy sales led to the loss of its sponsor (and in turn, early termination at 32 episodes). Though the show has never been revived in any form, modern fans may be more familiar with the cameo he made in OOO, Den-O, All Riders: Let's Go Kamen Riders, where he appeared alongside fellow Ishinomori heroes Kikaider, Kikaider 01 and Inazuman to defeat General Shadow.

Tuesday 16 November 2021

Reviews in Time & Space: Doctor Who: Flux Chapter Three - Once, Upon Time

Doctor Who: Flux Chapter 3 -  Once, Upon Time

If there's one thing that can be said about Doctor Who: Flux, it's that it's nice to have regular cliffhangers back isn't it? At the end of War of the Sontarans the Doctor faced a rather sticky situation as Swarm was seconds away from "unleashing the full force of time" through Yaz and Vinder. On a planet she doesn't recognise and against an enemy she can't even remember, things were not looking good. Of course, only being episode two of six (as well as seeing the next episode preview immediately after the end credits) does cut into the tension from an audience perspective a little bit. We're now at the halfway point of the series with Once, Upon Time - another episode solely penned by Chris Chibnall and this time directed by Azur Saleem.

Saturday 13 November 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler

S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 01

Release Date: August 2021
RRP: 7700 yen

After purchasing Freeza -Resurrection Ver.- in 2018 I happily retired from the world of Dragon Ball S.H. Figuarts, having bought all the characters I wanted and feeling relatively confident that there wouldn't be any more I wanted. Since then the line has continued trucking on and remained one of Bandai Tamashii Nations' most popular ranges on both sides of the pond - with plenty of releases from Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super. However outside of the most recent trilogy of releases, the Dragon Ball movies remain an area mostly untouched (classic Broly being an exception, but then his power is maximum). However the announcement of another fan favourite has finally brought me back - S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler. The older brother of Freeza, Cooler made his debut in Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge where he arrives on Earth seeking revenge against Goku for his brother's death. Though he is initially able to overwhelm Goku with his secret fifth form, he is ultimately no match for the power of a Super Saiyan. A bio-mechanical version of Cooler known as 'Meta-Cooler' appears in the subsequent film The Return of Cooler, and he has also made appearances in both Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans and Dragon Ball Heroes. S.H. Figuarts Cooler was released in Japan as a Tamashii web exclusive.

Wednesday 10 November 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Studio Series 86 Gnaw

Transformers Studio Series 86 Gnaw 01
Release Date: September 2021
RRP: $22.99/£21.99

Transformers: The Movie changed a lot of things in the Transformers Generation One landscape, but one key thing was that going forwards it wasn't just about the war between Autobots and Decepticons anymore. As well as introducing fans to the planet-sized chaos bringer Unicron, the movie also introduced the manpulative Quintessons – a race that went on to become key players in the show's third season. On their home planet, the Quintessons carry out mock trials where, innocent or guilty, the defendant will inevitably be fed to their army of Sharkticons. Though Hot Rod, Kup and the Dinobots were able to temporarily put a stop to this with a Sharkticon revolt, the Quintessons would return to fight the Transformers on multiple occasions. Though unnamed onscreen, ever since their original G1 toy the Sharkticon figure has gone by the name of 'Gnaw' – returning now for the film's 35th anniversary with the deluxe class Studio Series 86 Gnaw.

Monday 8 November 2021

Reviews in Time & Space: Doctor Who: Flux Chapter Two - War of the Sontarans

Doctor Who: Flux Chapter 2 - War of the Sontarans

After The Halloween Apocalypse kicked off Doctor Who: Flux in spectacularly manic fashion, it's now time to truly get into what series 13's continuous storyline has to offer. Despite the series only running for a total of six episodes and having its work cut out for it introducing new villain Swarm, it wouldn't be Doctor Who without some classic monsters making a reappearance. War of the Sontarans marks the first title appearance of the cloned warrior race since 2008's The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky, with subsequent appearances either having been cameos or centred around the commander turned nurse turned Paternoster Gang butler Strax. This episode however firmly re-establishes them as an enemy of the Doctor though, along with giving them a whole new look – again their first redesign since 2008.

Monday 1 November 2021

Reviews in Time & Space: Doctor Who: Flux Chapter One - The Halloween Apocalypse

Doctor Who: Flux - Chapter 1: The Halloween Apocalypse

Following the events of The Timeless Children (and to a lesser extent, Revolution of the Daleks), Doctor Who has found itself in a somewhat precarious position. As if the divisive response amongst the fandom to that episode wasn't enough, the immediate follow-up to that also had to deal with a real-life pandemic that swept the world. The BBC haven't really made it much easier for themselves either, not only bringing in a new companion to replace the recently departed Graham and Ryan but also announcing that Russell T Davies will be returning to the show to man its 60th anniversary and beyond. For those still invested in the show there's an awful lot to get through in a small amount of time, and for those soured by the previous series it's hard to care when potentially something better is round the corner. But nevertheless Doctor Who is back for its 13th series, and with strict filming rules in place due to COVID it's doing something a little different. Doctor Who: Flux will be a six-part continuous story (the show's first since 1986's Trial of a Timelord), taking the Doctor, Yaz and new companion Dan through numerous adventures across time and space connected by the same cataclysmic event. And it all starts here with chapter one: The Halloween Apocalypse, written by Chris Chibnall and directed by Jamie Magnus Stone.

Sunday 31 October 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Dark Kiva

S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Dark Kiva 01

Release Date: August 2021
RRP: 8800 yen

Given that the same can be said of the original release all the way back in 2010, it shouldn't be all that surprising that S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Dark Kiva is a retail release. But then again, when far more prominent characters like Kamen Rider Ixa are web exclusive releases, you tend to expect the obligatory "Dark Rider" character with less screen time to get similar treatment. But as far as dark Riders go Dark Kiva is one of the most important ones of all, and Bandai Tamashii Nations have recognised this with another retail release from Kamen Rider Kiva. A powerful armour worn by the lord of all Fangires, much like IXA Dark Kiva had numerous users over the course of the series - first the Fangire lord King, followed by Otoya Kurenai and then later Taiga Noburi.

Thursday 28 October 2021

Custom Figure: 'The Curse of Fatal Death' Grey Dalek

Custom 'Curse of Fatal Death' Grey Dalek 01

Arguably my biggest custom Dalek project of 2021 has been to produce the numerous variants that appeared in the 1999 Comic Relief Special The Curse of Fatal Death – one of my all-time favourite pieces of Doctor Who fiction despite its non-canonicity. This year I've managed to make the Supreme Dalek, silver Dalek and a "variant" version of the light grey Dalek drone, and now I'm back at it again with another custom Curse of Fatal Death grey Dalek. Whereas I labelled the previous one a "variant" due to the design having elements uncommon to the grey/black Daleks of the show, this one falls a bit more in line with how they looked by the time of Remembrance of the Daleks – albeit with a few slight modifications.

Tuesday 26 October 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Geed Galaxy Rising

S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Geed Galaxy Rising 01

Release Date: July 2021
RRP: 7480 yen

As a celebration of Ultraman Zero's 10th anniversary and an endcap of sorts to the "New Generation Heroes" line of shows, it's unsurprising that Ultraman Z brought back a lot of familiar faces – many of whom got either a much-needed overhaul or even a whole new look. And being a show about an Ultra who longs to become Zero's student, of course Zero's original student had to make an appearance. With his Geed Riser damaged, Riku Asakura arrives on Haruki's version of Earth and transforms via a Z Riser – combining the powers of the Ginga, X and Orb Ultra Medals to create a brand new form. Now Bandai Tamashii Nations present S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Geed Galaxy Rising, the third Tamashii web exclusive figure to be released in their Ultraman Z range of figures.

Thursday 21 October 2021

Movie REVIEW: Zero-One Others: Kamen Rider Vulcan & Valkyrie

Zero-One Others: Kamen Rider Vulcan & Valkyrie

Earlier in the year Kamen Rider Zero-One dropped what was perhaps the biggest cliffhanger since Diend turned his gun on Decade (or the Rider War began depending on which version of Decade you're watching), as Kamen Rider MetsubouJinrai destroyed the bodies of its four Humagear hosts and set out on a new path of destruction. Now several months after the release of Zero-One Others: Kamen Rider MetsubouJinrai the conclusion of the story is finally here, as the A.I.M.S. Riders take to the stage in Zero-One Others: Kamen Rider Vulcan & Valkyrie. Although the Kamen Rider Genms -The Presidents- special is technically set afterward, for the time being it's also fair to say this acts as the main end to the Zero-One story. Like the previous film, it was written by the show's head writer Yuya Takahashi and directed by secondary writer Masaya Kakehi

(WARNING: Spoiler discussion will be particularly heavy in this review)

Tuesday 19 October 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who History of the Daleks #7 Set

History of the Daleks #07 01

Release Date: September 2021
RRP: £19.99

The fact Character Options have been releasing their new History of the Daleks sets in chronological order has made it quite easy for Doctor Who fans to predict just what'll be in each set, but it does come with a worry of repetition. After all the Daleks have only changed so much over the years, with the late 60s stories in particular showing minimal differences between them. However Character have recognised this as well, and for the most recent wave of B&M Store exclusive releases they're mixing things up a bit. Rather than near-identical Daleks from both The Power of the Daleks and The Evil of the Daleks on shelves at the same time, we're jumping from 1966 with set #5 all the way to 1972 with the History of the Daleks #7 set. Number six will follow in due course, but for now we're looking back on Day of the Daleks - a significant story for a number of reasons. Not only is it the Daleks' return to the show since their "final end" in Evil, but also their first face-off against the Third Doctor AND their first appearance on the show in colour. 

Sunday 17 October 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Anakin Skywalker (The Clone Wars)

Black Series Anakin Skywalker (Clone Wars) 01

Release Date: May 2021
RRP: $24.99/£24.99

In commemoration of Lucasfilm's 50th anniversary Hasbro have been touching some of the more forgotten (at least in the eyes of Disney and its revised canon) elements of the Star Wars franchise, but that doesn't mean they don't have the energy for a little more Star Wars: The Clone Wars love. Hot on the heels of special book-style releases revisiting various parts of the "Legends" canon, these Target-exclusive (or via the fan channel outside the US) Black Series figures are a real celebration of the seven-season series that did so much to expand on the Clone Wars and the prequel era as a whole. And one of the characters it did the most of all for was Anakin Skywalker, helping to flesh out his time as a Jedi Knight in the lead up to his eventual fall to the dark side. With his costume as it appeared in the animated series still unrepresented, this is the perfect time to welcome this particular Black Series Anakin Skywalker into the line.

Friday 15 October 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Obi-Wan Kenobi (The Clone Wars)

Black Series Obi-Wan Kenobi (Clone Wars) 01

Release Date: May 2021
RRP: $24.99/£24.99

In recent years Hasbro have done an excellent job in expanding the selection of Star Wars properties represented in the Black Series – not just limiting it to the films, but also the various television productions, video games, novels, comics and more. With Star Wars: The Clone Wars being such a big part of the franchise's TV offerings it's gotten some fairly good representation, but there are still a lot of key characters (or variants) missing. To celebrate Lucasfilm's 50th anniversary Hasbro put out a special wave of Clone Wars-inspired figures, which was the perfect opportunity to fill in some of those gaps. We've seen numerous figures based on his appearances in the films themselves and even one based on his Genndy Tartakovsky Clone Wars microseries costume, but finally Black Series Obi-Wan Kenobi arrives in his familiar Star Wars: The Clone Wars guise.

Tuesday 12 October 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Ultraman Tiga Multi Type

S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Ultraman Tiga Multi Type 01

Release Date: July 2021
RRP: 6600 yen

The Shinkocchou Seihou range has been the crowning glory of the S.H. Figuarts line for some time now, but when it comes to the various franchises it covers its scope is severely limited. Whereas Bandai Tamashii Nations have extended into the likes of tokusatsu, anime, movie and video game properties with the mainline, Shinkocchou Seihou has remained strictly Kamen Rider for the most part with a couple of GARO releases also thrown in for good measure. That all changes in 2021 though, with the 25th anniversary of Ultraman Tiga providing just the excuse Bandai needed to expand the line into the Ultra Series. S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Ultraman Tiga Multi Type is the first of what will hopefully be many more Ultraman Seihous, and their first version of this phenomenally popular Ultraman since the renewal version Ultra-Act way back in 2014. Although a standard S.H. Figuarts Tiga was teased at events as far back as 2017, obviously those plans have changed as Shinkocchou Seihou's "true bone carving" method ushers in a new age of Ultraman figures.

Friday 8 October 2021

Anime REVIEW: Digimon Adventure:

Digimon Adventure:

The Digimon franchise has existed in many different forms over the years but when it comes to sheer popularity, most struggle to compete with the original Digimon Adventure. After being dragged out for six-part film series Digimon Adventure Tri. from 2015-2018 to celebrate the franchise's 15th anniversary and then for further sequel Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna in 2020, it seemed like Toei had exhausted everything they could do with the original Chosen Children - other than reboot the whole thing that is. Digimon Adventure: (also commonly known as Digimon Adventure (2020) to avoid confusion) began in April 2020 - bringing back the cast of the original series in an all-new story. The series ran for a total of 67 episodes, though a significant hiatus was taken after episode three due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wednesday 6 October 2021

Custom Figure: 2015 Skaro Dalek (1965 Variant)

Custom 2015 Skaro Dalek (1965 Variant) 01

New History of the Daleks releases means a whole new set of custom Dalek projects lined up, the first of which is the perfect compliment to an earlier project from last year. We're still quite a way off from these B&M exclusive sets from reaching the modern era (let alone the Twelfth Doctor), so unless Character Options have any more surprise releases from the story up their sleeves Daleks from The Magician's Apprentice and The Witch's Familiar won't be appearing any time soon. But with 60s Daleks back on the market, this is the perfect opportunity to make another of these 2015 Skaro Daleks – this time based on the later 60s design seen in both The Power of the Daleks and The Evil of the Daleks. Much like its brethren based on the original 1963 casing, these Daleks were seen inhabiting the Daleks' home planet of Skaro after the Doctor (with Clara and Missy in tow) was summoned to meet the dying Davros.

Monday 4 October 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who History of the Daleks #5 Set

History of the Daleks #05 01

Release Date: September 2021
RRP: £19.99

Despite limitations, Character Options' Doctor Who action figure range came back in full force in 2020 – continuing their partnership with B&M stores to deliver a selection of exclusive releases. Among the most popular of these was the History of the Daleks line – a chronological progression through the stories of the Doctor's most feared enemies in the form of double-pack releases. Starting with 1963's The Daleks and making its way to 1965's The Daleks' Master Plan last year, it has now returned in 2021 with The History of the Daleks #5 Set – The Power of the Daleks (1966). Marking the debut of the Second Doctor, this fully missing adventure (though now available as an animated recreation) sees the Doctor arrive on the planet Vulcan – where a capsule of Daleks has been discovered. Though the Daleks seem subservient, they are secretly amassing enough power to restart the capsule's hidden assembly line – with the aim of taking the colony and exterminating all life present.

Sunday 3 October 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers War for Cybertron: Kingdom Galvatron

Transformers Kingdom Galvatron 01

Release Date: June 2021
RRP: $49.99/£49.99

The fact that the Transformers War for Cybertron: Kingdom and Studio Series 86 lines have been so interchangeable for the most part has led to the cast of Transformers: The Movie getting filled out at a record speed - the perfect way to celebrate its 35th anniversary. However as fantastic as most of these new releases have been it's fair to say that many of these characters have already had great classic-inspired figures in the past, which makes the ones that haven't stand out all the more. Transformers War for Cybertron: Kingdom Leader Class Galvatron is one such example, with the new Decepticon leader and herald of Unicron finally making it to a price point worthy of his status. As well of course being a prominent character in Transformers: The Movie, Galvatron is also one of the select characters in the Kingdom line to be a key player in the Netflix Kingdom series - travelling back in time in attempt to defy Unicron and change Megatron's fate.

Friday 1 October 2021

Miniseries REVIEW: Mashin Sentai Kiramager Spin-Off: Yodonna

Mashin Sentai Kiramager Spin-Off: Yodonna

For the past few years the Toei Tokusatsu Fan Club has been home to some of the weirder spin-off titles in the world of Toei-brand tokusatsu, however other than a few notable exceptions it's fair to say that these exclusive specials have been mostly Kamen Rider driven. However 2021 saw Super Sentai get in on the action once again with Mashin Sentai Kiramager Spin-Off: Yodonna, the first exclusive Super Sentai special to appear on the service since Hero Mama League and Keisatsu Sentai Patranger feat. Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger ~ Another Patren 2gou all the way back in 2018. As the title suggests this sequel to Mashin Sentai Kiramager thrusts Yodonheim's villainous secretary Yodonna into the lead role, with the two part special written by Tete Inoue and directed by Koichi Sakamoto. Yodonna marks the first time in Super Sentai history that a special has focused on a villain, and it sure is something...

Thursday 30 September 2021

Custom Figure: 'Real Time' Cyberman

Custom 'Real Time' Cyberman 01

It's been a few months since the last custom figure entry on this site and whilst projects still remain Doctor Who-related, this one is a little different from the usual Dalek repaints that frequent my workbench. The Cybermen have gone through many different designs over the years, but there are also several more that have never graced television screens. From comics to audio adventures, these are the Cybermen variants we'll probably never see as part of the Character Options action figure range. However, thanks to some incredibly talented designers in the Doctor Who figure community its becoming easier and easier to plug some of those gaps in your collection, with characters like the Real Time Cyberman being a particular treat to bring into plastic form...

Monday 27 September 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Arc Trooper Echo

Black Series Arc Trooper Echo 01

Release Date: May 2021
RRP: $24.99/£24.99

As part of the Lucasfilm 50th anniversary celebrations Hasbro announced a selection of special Star Wars: The Clone Wars releases - not only providing fans with many variant characters they've been asking for for years, but in special packaging based on the original Clone Wars toy line no less. It wouldn't be a Clone Wars range without some clone troopers, and what better choice than the long awaited release of Black Series Arc Trooper Echo. Originally designated CT-1409, Echo was a clone trooper that served bravely alongside the 501st Legion as part of the Advanced Recon Commandos. He was thought to have met his end during a mission to rescue Jedi Master Even Piell, however it was later revealed that he survived - transformed into a cyborg by the Techo Union and used as a pawn by the Separatist Forces. Echo was eventually rescued, and after turning the tide of victory with his cybernetic capabilities became the newest member of Clone Force 99 - the Bad Batch.

Friday 24 September 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman (Shin Ultraman)

S.H. Figuarts Ultraman (Shin Ultraman) 01

Release Date: June 2021
RRP: 5500 yen

While the cinema release of Hideaki Anno's Shin Ultraman may be postponed indefinitely due to the ongoing pandemic, the merchandise train still steams ahead! With the film celebrating the 55th anniversary of Ultraman originally due for release in Summer 2021, there are already several different options out there for collectors wanting to get a hold of the titular hero. One such example is the S.H. Figuarts Ultraman (Shin Ultraman) figure, with Bandai Tamashii Nations being one of the first to announce a highly poseable option for their ever-expanding flagship line. Between this and the kaiju figures Bandai have put out in their vinyl toy range, you might not be able to see the film any time soon but at least you can recreate how you imagine the scenes will play out in the comfort of your own home!

Monday 20 September 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Clone Pilot Hawk

Star Wars Black Series Clone Pilot Hawk 01

Release Date: May 2021
RRP: $24.99/£24.99

2021 marks the 50th anniversary of Lucasfilm and Hasbro are celebrating in it the only way they know how - an onslaught of new Star Wars action figure releases! In addition to the various figures based on the novels and comics that make up the "Legends" canon, a selection of Black Series figures based on the ever-popular Star Wars: The Clone Wars was revealed - exclusive to Target in the US (and via the fan channel elsewhere) and packaged in retro Clone Wars blister packaging. Among this special wave of figures is the Black Series Clone Pilot Hawk - the clone trooper pilot that often worked alongside the 501st Legion and was seen a number of Clone Wars episodes.

Sunday 19 September 2021

Toybox REVIEW: MAFEX Spider-Man (Peter B. Parker)

MAFEX Spider-Man (Peter B Parker) 01

Release Date: January 2021
RRP: 8800 yen

Medicom continue their mission to produce as many Spider-Man figures as possible within their MAFEX Miracle Action Figure line as they continue to dive into 2018's award-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Hot on the heels of Miles Morales' release comes MAFEX Spider-Man (Peter B. Parker), the Spider-Man of another universe who becomes a mentor to Miles after falling on hard times in his own world. Though originally scheduled for a July 2020 release, repeated delays meant this figure not actually make it out until six months later in January 2021 - making it the perfect way to kick off a whole new year of figures. MAFEX have released plenty of Peter Parker Spider-Man figures over the years, but they've never done one quite like this before.

Tuesday 14 September 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Dino Thunder Blue Ranger

Power Rangers Lightning Collection Dino Thunder Blue Ranger 01

Release Date: March 2021
RRP: $19.99/£19.99

The Disney era as a whole might be feeling a little under-represented in Hasbro's Lightning Collection but at the very least two Power Rangers seasons from that time seem to be getting plenty of figures. While Power Rangers SPD rapidly approaches completion, preceding series Power Rangers Dino Thunder also gains another key member with the release of the Lightning Collection Dino Thunder Blue Ranger in the line's eighth wave. The third release from the fan-favourite season, Ethan James is a skilled hacker and computer expert, using the powers of the blue Dino Gem to not only morph into the Blue Ranger but also found it could make his skin impenetrable.

Sunday 12 September 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider V3 (THE NEXT)

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider V3 (THE NEXT) 01

Release Date: February 2008
RRP: 2420 yen

In 2008 Bandai Tamashii Nations introduced a whole new line of Kamen Rider action figures - S.H. Figuarts, the spiritual successor to their previous Souchaku Henshin line. Originally the "S.H" in the name even stood for "Souchaku Henshin", but since then Bandai have also said it stands for "Simple style and Heroic Action - the motto which has accompanied the line since its very beginning. With S.H. Figuarts now having stretched far beyond Kamen Rider also all include a number of other tokusatsu, anime and Western properties, it's a little strange to think that it all began with figures from Kamen Rider: The Next. The 2007 sequel to Kamen Rider: The First had been released in Japanese cinemas just a few months prior, and so Figuarts launched onto the scene with a double bill of releases - S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider V3 (THE NEXT) and also the film's version of Kamen Rider 1. Either could feasibly be consider the very first release from the line, but there's just something fitting considering the next Rider to be the next step in Kamen Rider action figures.

Thursday 9 September 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Doctor Strange (Battle on Titan Edition)

S.H. Figuarts Doctor Strange (Battle On Titan Edition) 01

Release Date: January 2021
RRP: 8800 yen

With the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Infinity Saga having finally come to an end, it seems that all of the toy companies that produce Marvel figures are having one last hurrah before moving onto the next phase - releasing the best versions of these beloved characters that they can. That can definitely be said for Bandai Tamashii Nations, whose S.H. Figuarts line moved into a number of "Final Battle" editions based on the climactic scene from Avengers: Endgame (it helps when you're releasing toys after the movie has been released, rather than just prior like they did initially). However with many key characters absent from Endgame for the most part there are plenty of iconic scenes to explore from Avengers: Infinity War as well, such as this S.H. Figuarts Doctor Strange (Battle on Titan Edition) figure. 

Monday 6 September 2021

First Impressions: Kamen Rider Revice

Kamen Rider Revice

Well we've made it, 50 years of Kamen Rider. Such a momentous anniversary doesn't go uncelebrated, and while both both it and Super Sentai commemorated their respective milestones earlier in the year with crossover movie Super Hero Senki, now that Kamen Rider Saber has reached its conclusion it's time for the main anniversary series to begin its run. Kamen Rider Revice is the third Kamen Rider series to debut in the Reiwa era, and the 32nd in the franchise overall. Its head writer is Hanta Kinoshita, a novelist and manga writer making his tokusatsu debut with the series. Other key production staff members include producers Chihiro Inoue, Kei Mizutani and Taku Mochizuki, directors Takayuki Shibasaki, Jun Watanabe and Hiroshi Butsuda, with music by Kotaro Nakagawa.