Monday 30 May 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Studio Series 86 Coronation Starscream

Transformers Studio Series 86 Coronation Starscream 01

Release Date: January 2022
RRP: $52.99/£55.99

Transformers: The Movie saw numerous fan favourites killed off in favour of brand-new characters that were about to hit toy shelves in 1986, but arguably some of them were able to get their most iconic moments in right before their deaths. The finally showdown between Optimus Prime and Megatron goes without saying, but there's also the untimely demise of Starscream – finally crowned as the Decepticons' new leader before being blasted to ashes by Galvatron. Decked out in full royal regalia, Starscream's new look has been fondly remembered by the franchise since, so shouldn't be any surprise to see Studio Series 86 Coronation Starscream as part of the film's 30th anniversary toy line. Although the anniversary may have been in 2021, as one of the first SS86 releases for 2022 Starscream shows that there's plenty of life in it yet, and Hasbro know it.

Friday 27 May 2022

Miniseries REVIEW: Revice Legacy: Kamen Rider Vail

Revice Legacy: Kamen Rider Vail

With more avenues to expand its story the Kamen Rider franchise has moved much further into the realms of supplementary material in recent years, with much of it landing exclusively on the Toei Tokusatsu Fan Club streaming service. Following on from Kamen Rider Revice: The Mystery the service released its second special from the 50th anniversary celebration series – Revice Legacy: Kamen Rider Vail, a five-part miniseries taking the story of Kamen Rider Revice back over two decades before it all began.

Wednesday 25 May 2022

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider Black RX

Kamen Rider Black RX

While Kamen Rider franchise has always had some sense of continuity, direct sequels in a franchise that introduces a new hero each year is a rarity. But the popularity of Kamen Rider Black was that strong that in 1988 Kotaro Minami returned in a brand new form – Kamen Rider Black RX. The 47-episode series is notable for a number of other reasons as well, being both the final series in the franchise to have original author Shotaro Ishinomori involved but also the final entry in the Showa era period. Though the majority of Black RX may have technically aired at the beginning of the Heisei era, due to lengthy hiatus before the franchise returned in 2000 with Kamen Rider Kuuga it, along with movies Shin, ZO and J, are considered a much cleaner break.

Monday 23 May 2022

Toybox REVIEW: MAFEX Spider-Man (Ben Reilly)

MAFEX Spider-Man (Ben Reilly) 01

Release Date: November 2021
RRP: 7800 yen

The various Spider-Verse titles there have been in the past few years may have shown that there's much more to Spider-Man than just Peter Parker, but back in the 1990s when comic readers were introduced to a brand-new Spidey he wasn't that far detached from our original hero. Popularised during the infamous Clone Saga that ran between 1994 and 1995, Ben Reilly (combining Uncle Ben's forename and Aunt May's maiden name) is a clone of Peter Parker that originally fought as the Scarlet Spider before truly taking the mantle of Spider-Man in Peter's absence. His time as Spider-Man saw him bond with the Carnage symbiote as well as take part in the multiversal Marvel vs DC crossover, though Peter would eventually return when Ben took a fatal wound from the Green Goblin. Despite the Clone Saga's notoriety, the character's popularity makes him an obvious choice for Medicom's "miracle action figure" line. MAFEX Spider-Man (Ben Reilly) is the next in a long line of Spider-Man figures from the company, and it looks like they have no plans on stopping any time soon.

Sunday 22 May 2022

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider: Beyond Generations

Kamen Rider: Beyond Generations

First came Heisei Generations, followed by Heisei Generations FINAL and Heisei Generations FOREVER. From there we moved into Reiwa: The First Generation, and now the Kamen Rider franchise is moving…beyond. After a year off, the winter Kamen Rider crossover movie returned at the end of 2021 in conjunction with the franchise's 50th anniversary celebrations. Kamen Rider: Beyond Generations sees the casts of Kamen Rider Revice and Kamen Rider Saber reunite once more (with the Saber gang having previously met Revi and Vice at the end of their own series) in a time-travelling adventure that looks at both the past and future of the Kamen Riders.

Thursday 19 May 2022

Top 5: The Return of Super Sentai S.H. Figuarts

Top 5: The Return of Super Sentai S.H. Figuarts

This weekend marks the official release of S.H. Figuarts Zenkaizer, and as such a day many fans thought would never come – the grand return of the S.H. Figuarts Super Sentai range. After a string of releases between 2011 and 2015, Bandai's line of high-end collector figures from Toei's other massive ongoing tokusatsu franchise seemed to die a rather unceremonious death. Since then Bandai's candy toy division has breathed new life into collector-focused Sentai toys with the Super SHODO and Shokugan Modeling Project (formerly Super Mini-Pla) lines, and following the show's 45th anniversary Tamashii Nations have found the perfect time to bring the Figuarts range back to life. But what should it do this time to stop the line dying a painful death once more? In this month's top 5 feature I'm looking at five things Bandai should be considering if they want Super Sentai S.H. Figuarts to thrive once more!

Wednesday 18 May 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Generations Selects Cyclonus & Nightstick

Transformers Generations Selects Cyclonus & Nightstick 01

Release Date:
May 2022
RRP: $38.99/£44.99

Even as the Transformers toyline transitions from the War for Cybertron trilogy into the new Legacy line, the Generations Selects range still continues on strong. This unique little line has presented collectors with some of the more interesting corners from the franchise, ranging from obscurer characters to nostalgic repaints. Last year saw the release of Kingdom leader class Galvatron in his original G1 toy colours, and where the new Decepticon leader goes his loyal second in command isn't too far behind! Transformers Generations Selects Cyclonus & Nightstick pays homage to Cyclonus original 1986 toy, combining him with his Targetmaster partner to create a truly special release.

Monday 16 May 2022

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts GUTS Wings 1 & GUTS Wings 2 Set

S.H. Figuarts GUTS Wings 1 & GUTS Wings 2 Set 01

Release Date: January 2022
RRP: 2200 yen

In addition to silver giants battling against giant monsters and aliens, there's one aspect to the Ultraman franchise that's remained relatively untouched by the S.H. Figuarts line until now. Most Ultraman instalments feature some sort of science or military team that utilise technologically advanced vehicles - inspired by the likes of Thunderbirds and the other works of Gerry Anderson. The overwhelming popularity of Ultraman Tiga has once again convinced Bandai Tamashii Nations to break new ground with the range - introducing the S.H. Figuarts GUTS Wings 1 & GUTS Wings 2 Set. This accessory set features the two primary vehicles of the Global Unlimited Task Squad, with the GUTS Wings 1 also making an appearance in Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga.

Thursday 12 May 2022

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Golza

S.H. Figuarts Golza 01

Release Date: January 2022
RRP: 7150 yen

As if Ultraman finally breaking in the Shinkocchou Seihou range wasn't a big enough way to mark Ultraman Tiga's 25th anniversary, the landmark entry in the Ultra Series has now given collectors something else to cheer about – it's second S.H. MonsterArts-sized kaiju release! While Bandai Tamashii Nations previously dabbled in these larger figures back in 2017 with Gomora, subsequent kaiju releases have been on a much smaller scale – and these days few and far between. But what better way to continue the Tiga range than with S.H. Figuarts Golza – one of the first kaiju to appear in the series. Golza is also the first retail release kaiju to have been produced in some time – the previous having been Twin Tail all the way back in 2018.

Monday 9 May 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Tech

Star Wars Black Series Tech 01

Release Date: October 2021
RRP: $22.99/£21.99

Even though we're still waiting for a release date for season two The Bad Batch still seem to be the main focus when it comes to Star Wars animation, so it's good to know that Hasbro aren't dragging their heels when it comes to completing the team in figure form. Following on from the initial release of Hunter and Crosshair as well as the deluxe release of Wrecker comes Black Series Tech, completing the initial line-up as they first appeared in their Star Wars: The Clone Wars debut. As the thinker of the team, Tech is rarely seen without his data pad but proves just as efficient in combat as his Clone Force 99 brethren.

Friday 6 May 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers x Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Lightning Collection Morphed Shredder

Power Rangers x Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Lightning Collection Morphed Shredder 01

Release Date: December 2021
RRP: $31.99/£37.99

One of the biggest delights of the Power Rangers comics from Boom! Studios has been the opportunity for them to crossover with other heroes previously thought limited to the realms of fan fiction – including the likes of Godzilla and the Justice League. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles however they have some history with though, with Power Rangers in Space having previously crossed over with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation. This six-part comic series though saw the heroes in a half shell meet the original Mighty Morphin rangers, with the Turtles themselves even getting the opportunity to morph. To mark this fusion of childhood icons, Hasbro produced a series of Power Rangers x Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Lightning Collection figures – consisting of three two pack sets (featuring the four turtles, April O'Neill and a Foot Clan Tommy Oliver) and a deluxe Morphed Shredder figure. This figure is based on Shredder after he has harnessed the powers of the Dragon Coin to transform into his own twisted version of the Green Ranger.

Tuesday 3 May 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Aurra Sing

Black Series Aurra Sing 01

Release Date: October 2021
RRP: $22.99/£21.99 

One of the best things about the Star Wars universe is how a background character can not only become a fan favourite, but also develop into something far more than their original appearance. Palliduvan bounty hunter Aurra Sing originally had a blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance in The Phantom Menace, but reappeared in various bits of expanded universe material before being fully characterised in Star Wars: The Clone Wars – mentoring the young Boba Fett as well as taking jobs from Cad Bane and teaming up with fellow bounty hunters Bossk and Dengar. Even in her limited appearances she's made quite the impact, and Hasbro have recognised her popularity with their Black Series Aurra Sing figure – a long overdue addition to their six inch collector range.

Sunday 1 May 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Shokugan Modeling Project Gaoking

SMP Gaoking 01

Release Date: July 2021
RRP: 5445 yen

Super Mini-Pla is no more, but from the ashes a far more powerful candy toy model kit line has emerged - the Shokugan Modeling Project! As exciting as that sounds the reality of it all is far less dramatic, with Bandai simply having rebranded the line to this new name that cleverly keeps the SMP initials. Given how Super Sentai robots have been such a big part of the Super Mini-Pla line's identity, it makes sense that this relaunch kicks off with a new instalment from the long-running franchise. Following on from releases from 1984's Choudenshi Bioman we're jumping forward 17 years to Super Sentai's 25th anniversary series - Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger! This series was notable for featuring a huge number of Power Animals for fans to collect, and Bandai have taken note of this and pledged to release them all in SMP form. Here we start at the very beginning though with Shokugan Modeling Project Gaoking - the core robot from the series as well as the very first release in the Shokugan Modeling Project range.