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The 1st Annual “Cheesy Toy Awards for Toys That Need Awards” 2015

Another year done.  Hasbro continued to release Transformers Combiner Wars, Takara followed suit with Unite Warriors, Bandai‘s Tokustatsu love continued apace, and the smaller companies couldn’t help but get in on the act.  In fact this year has been pretty good for smaller companies.  The “independent transforming toy”, colloquially known as 3rd Party, companies really started working hard on taking cash from Transformers fans, and some of Japan’s smaller companies kept up the game they had started showing in 2014, if not surpassing it.

So let’s look at the special things from across the year with some action figure awards…

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Budget Review: Bandai HI-METAL R VF-1J Armored Valkyrie

You’ve seen Macross, right? Or Robotech? You saw the cool sequence where Hikaru Ichijyo/Rick Hunter (delete as applicable) goes on patrol an up-armoured Valkyrie/Veritech (also delete as applicable) for whatever reason, meets Zentradi/Zentraedi (more applicable deletion to be done) scout and ends up unleashing a torrent of missiles at it? If you didn’t, go watch it now, but if you did (or once you have) then boy is this the toy for you!

(Incidentally, for the rest of this review I’m going to use Macross naming conventions because doing otherwise saps my will to live)
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Bring Out Your Dredd

Two things happened recently in the world of action figures when it comes to the Judge Dredd universe: Judge Death actually came out; Mezco’s Judge Dredd also saw release.  So now we’ve gone from no currently available Judge Dredd action figures to two now that ThreeA have properly announced their Judge Dredd, and both Mezco and ThreeA have announced Lawmasters.  Awkward.

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Budget Review: Bandai S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Kamen Rider Hibiki

The black sheep of the Heisei Era of Kamen Rider finally gets an entry in the SH Figuarts line as part of their Shinkocchou Seihou, or “True Bone”, sub-line.  As with Kamen Rider Kabuto, the opening entry of the sub-line, Hibiki doesn’t come in the usual cardboard packing that graces Figuarts but instead a swanky box split between a top tray featuring the Hibiki figure and a bottom tray of accessories.  I normally chuck packaging but there’s something really lovely about these boxes, they’re solid and they’re also fairly small.  But enough about the box!

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In the beginning there was Star Wars… and Star Wars had a groove…

Star Wars is pretty much everywhere once more, and that’s no more obvious than in Bandai’s Tamashii Nations listings.  Darth Vader and the Stormtroopers have been out for a while, both in regular movie versions as SH Figuarts and Meisho Movie Realization versions as samurai, SH Figuarts Luke Skywalker has just been released, and it’s not long until Darth Maul joins the SH Figuarts line, but Bandai aren’t resting on their laurels. To accompany the Stormtroopers as footsoldiers we’ll soon (well, next year) be getting Clonetroopers and, curiously, Federation battle droids.  I say curiously because the battle droids have long…

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Grumpy Old Man: “Due to unexpected delays” aka The ThreeA Story

The latest 3A H3ADLINES newsletter brings with it some classic 3A news: delays.  One of those action figures affected by the delays is their 6″ Judge Death, a figure that went up on 3A’s primary avenue of sales, Bambaland, some 7 months ago.  As the French adage goes, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”.

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Release the Hounds! Maketoys MTRM-02 Gundog

Maketoys RE:Master line, their own take on Takara’s Masterpiece series, continues with pre-orders for their version of Hound.  Unlike Maketoys other releases in the RE:Master line (MTRM-011 and MTRM-072) this one comes in two flavours: regular and extra crispy.  The regular version MTRM-02N (right), just named Gundog, appears to carry on the Masterpiece tradition of being based on the animation model from the 1980s Sunbow TV show.  MTRM-02Y (main image), the Type-613, instead uses colours that match closer to those of the original G1 toy, a move I’m more than happy to see someone make. The vehicle mode is heavily based on the…

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ThreeA Destiny Titan: Why would you buy this?

Up on sale now on their Bambaland store you’ll find ThreeA‘s rendition of a Titan from the Bungie game Destiny.  My history with ThreeA is a chequered (a tale that is mostly made of ranting), so while I do still buy ThreeA figures I’m a lot more restrained about what I buy, who I buy it from and when I buy it. With that out the way, I have to say I like the look of this figure, and I do enjoy Destiny and the universe Bungie have built, but there’s a nagging question to be answered: why would anyone buy this?

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