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RETRO REVIEW: GoBots

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For our first Throwback Thursday retro review, I’m going to take you all the way back to 1985. It’s the year where two of the top three songs were performed by Wham!, WrestleMania debuted, and Back to the Future debuted. It’s also the year where you’d be able to fire up your console television and watch Challenge of the GoBots.

Youngsters nowadays likely look at GoBots and think they were some cheap corner store rip-off of Transformers. Not so! Both GoBots and Transformers started in Japan in the 80’s - GoBots by Bandai and Transformers by Takara. They both came over to the US in 1984 - GoBots from Tonka and Transformers from Hasbro.

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Most kids fell into either the pro-Transformer or pro-GoBot group. It was basically the two political party system for male children in the 1980’s. And while I had a handful of GoBots, Transformers were my preferred robots in disguise. GoBots always felt like the red-headed stepchild. And it wasn’t an unusual occurrence to see young GoBot children standing alone against the wall during recess.

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Both lines featured robots that transformed into vehicles and back again. The majority of Transformers were fairly intricate figures. There was a lot of twisting and turning and you might have even had to read – eek – instructions! The GoBots felt a little held back by their simplicity. Their robot form looked entirely too vehicle-y with a little head and a big body.

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REVIEW: reddit’s Snoo

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Even if you’re not a frequent user, most people have likely visited reddit.com. Likely you’ve checked out one of the celebrity AMAs (Ask Me Anything). And if you’ve seen the site, you’re probably familiar with reddit’s logo – a little black and white alien.

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At some point in time, that little reddit alien was actually given a name – Snoo. Of course, someone would hear the name and say “Hey! What’s Snoo?” And then they’d get caught up in an Abbott ad Costello routine for ten or so minutes.

Actually, the creators of reddit intended to name the site Snoo for that very exact reason…but someone already had that URL…they didn’t have the money to purchase the domain name…and the rest is history.

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With reddit celebrating their 10th anniversary, they’ve revealed Snoovatars for reddit gold folks (basically a customizable Snoo avatar). More importantly for collectors, they’ve released a few toys based on the character. The first toy, a collaboration with Pretty In Plastic, is the official vinyl Snoo in both OG and DIY colorways.

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Each 3-inch tall rotocast vinyl Snoo features a single point of articulation at the neck. The difference between the two versions is that one has a painted mouth, antenna, and eyes…and the other is blank white waiting for your (un)artistic touch.

Both vinyl figures retail at $8.99 each. Snce the box states Series 1, I wouldn’t be surprised if there might be a Series 2 out at some point. Possibly wishful thinking, but with the amount of customized and special event Snoo artwork out there…I think they could pluck enough designs to maybe fill out a blind box series.

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REVIEW: MBW – WWII – Willy’s Jeep

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Modern Brick Warfare produces custom designed LEGO accessories as well as custom printing on LEGO figures and kits that use all new original LEGO blocks to create Modern Brick Warfare designed vehicles. They recently sent us one of those kits – the World War II inspired Willy’s Jeep – to check out.

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This specific kit features over 110 brand new LEGO pieces as well as instructions on how to put it all together. There are programs out there that let you digitally design a LEGO model, making it perfect to design an object such as this Jeep.

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In addition to the original LEGO pieces, there are some customs from Modern Brick Warfare. You get a .50 CAL Machine Gun with 2 ammo cans for it, a custom World War 2 American Soldier minifigure armed with a 1911 colt pistol and a M1 Garand rifle, and a custom built gas can. Other LEGO accessories include a backpack, shovel, and pickaxe.

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Having a 3 and 4 year old, I’ve had to put together a lot of LEGO sets. And I might have picked up the Ecto-1 and the Back to the Future DeLorean sets for myself. But it seems as soon as I put one together, my kids turn into destructive kaiju whose only goal is to violently destroy the fruits of my labor. Luckily, I was able to keep Willy’s Jeep away from them for long enough to take photos.

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REVIEW: Nerviswr3k’s Inner Child

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Arizona-based artist Nerviswr3k has teamed up with New Jersey-based designer toy store/art gallery SubUrban Vinyl to release the first production piece from both artist and shop. Named Inner Child, the rotocast vinyl figure features some of the workings most common to Nerviswr3k’s customs – especially those sharp, pronounced teeth.

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The 4-inch tall vinyl will be released in at least three colorways: Red – Retailers; Green – SubUrban Vinyl Exclusive; Blue – Tenacious Toys Exclusive. Each version is limited to a run of 125 pieces, definitely putting it in the more limited edition category.

For being the first production piece from SubUrban Vinyl, it’s a very impressive designer toy. Heck…it would be impressive for a company that’s produced 10 or 20 figures. And when you consider the waning genre of true designer vinyl, this might be one of the best pieces released in the past two or three years.

The Inner Child combines excellent and intricate sculpting work with some nice painting. I like the weathered look that’s created with the addition of the black paint on the body. And around the face, a spot where many good toys go bad, you don’t have any glop or bleeding of the various paint colors.

It’s definitely a piece to display in your collection. It’s not likely that you or the kids will want to be playing with it. Some of the teeth are pretty sharp and I found the arms somewhat difficult to turn. Usually I give up easily due to the number of arms, legs, and fingers I’ve broken off. Sometimes I feel like I’m the Luca Brasi of toys…coming to collect on debts.

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REVIEW: The Sea Ghost

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The Sea Ghost was first seen in Jay Piscopo’s The Undersea Adventures of Capt'n Eli. Created by Piscopo, who both authored and illustrated the comic, The Sea Ghost was last seen in his very own comic book - The Sea Ghost #1: Sea Ghost in the Machine. The 36-page comic retails for $3.99 at your favorite comic shop.

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In addition to his return in The Undersea Adventures of Capt'n Eli – Volume 3, which will be released in March 2015, The Sea Ghost is now available as a Mego-style action figure. That 8-inch tall action figure runs $20.00 and comes packaged in a plastic clamshell case. (Unfortunately…I wasn’t able to get a photo of that case before I ripped into it with my canine teeth).

The action figure is a good representation of The Sea Ghost character as shown in the comic book. He is a little bit limited by the Mego-ish body (I so dislike Mego wrists). For example, his feet resemble hooves in the comic, but the figure has regular human feet…albeit bleached white feet. Oh…and that white body is slightly visible underneath the stretched bodysuit. Thank goodness his name isn’t Anatomically Correct Sea Ghost.

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I was going to comment on the color of Sea Ghost’s face…and by writing this, I obviously am commenting on it. While it looks blue-green on the action figure – a lot greener than seen throughout the comic book - it actually does match up with the version of The Sea Ghost as presented on the rear of The Sea Ghost #1 comic.

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REVIEW: Mutant Mania

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Background

Mutant Mania is a new series of mix and match wrestler toys from Australia-based Moose Toys. The figure is made up of four pieces – the head, torso, legs, and a band that connects them together. Each figure features a funny name and is available in a solid or translucent version.

The Mutant Mania characters can fall into one of seven categories: Astro Mutants, Brutal Beasts, Evil Zomboidz, Insect-A-Zoids, Mutant Men, Reptiles of Rage, or Robo Mutants. Each class of characters has a slightly different look. And the Reptiles of Rage actually glow in the dark. Also, individual figures are rated Common, Rare, Ultra Rare, Special Edition, or Limited Edition. In all, the packaging claims “Over 120 to Collect” and the ability to “Build Millions of Combos”.

We received a Mutant Mania 8-pack to check out for this review.

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The Facts



Mutant Mania
Manufacturer: Moose Toys
Material: Plastic
Dimensions: About 1.5” tall
Points of Articulation: 2 (neck and waist)
Designs: Over 120 designs
Pricing: $7.77/8-pack

Packaging

While I wasn’t able to take a photo of the exterior packaging – my kids got ahold of it before I did – the 8-pack comes carded in a plastic bubble. Inside, there’s a nice little Mutantade soda can that opens up and acts as a storage container. And the packaging includes a checklist of all of the available figures and their names.

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Our Opinion

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REVIEW: OYO – National Football League

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Background

In addition to the NHL and MLB, OYO Sports has a series of officially licensed National Football League OYO minifigures from all 32 NFL teams. There are also approximately 43 NCAA teams represented by either players or team Endzone Sets.

The Endzone Set includes 64 total pieces, including a trio of figures (two team figures and a referee) and an 5-inch by 10-inch Endzone and 3.5-inch tall Field Goal. There’s also the Game Time Set, which includes eleven team figures, a referee, and a full size field. The OYOs are compatible with other notable building block toys like Lego, K'nex, Mega Blocks and more.

For purposes of this review, we were able to get our hands on the Philadelphia Eagles Endzone Set.

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The Facts



NFL OYO Minifigures Endzone Set
Manufacturer: OYO Sports
Material: ABS Plastic
Dimensions: About 2” tall
Points of Articulation: 11 (neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, legs, and knees)
Designs: Players from all 32 NFL teams
Accessories: 64 total pieces – 2 OYO team character minifigures (with team helmets); OYO referee minifigure; Football; Water bottle; 59 blocks to build end zone
Pricing: $29.99

Packaging

The Philadelphia Eagles Endzone Set comes packaged in a large rectangular box. The front and back of the box feature images of the figures and the included end zone (completely put together). Inside, there are three bags with the field, field goal post, and figures. You’ll also get the all-important instructions in there.

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Our Opinion

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REVIEW: T+CP Pocket Sideshow Series

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Background

The T+CP venture, the collaboration between Tomenosuke and Circus Posterus, has produced some of the best sofubi vinyl figures of the past few years. Among those is a new series of pocket-sized sofubi figures that go by the name - Pocket Sideshow.

The Pocket Sideshow series features four figures, with each design from a different Circus Posterus artist. There’s Otto from Brandt Peters, Penelope from Kathie Olivas, Sproot from Chris Ryniak, and Snowshoe from Amanda Louise Spayd. 

Thanks to Tomenosuke, we’ve been able to get our hands on the first Pocket Sideshow colorway. It’s soft black vinyl painted with shades of orange. Also, there’s a limited run of unpainted black figures…if that’s your thing.

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The Facts



Pocket Sideshow
Manufacturer: T+CP (Tomenosuke + Circus Posterus)
Artists: Amanda Louise Spayd, Brandt Peters, Chris Ryniak, and Kathie Olivas
Material: Sofubi (soft vinyl - Japan)
Dimensions: About 3” tall
Points of Articulation: One each (neck)
Designs: Otto (Brandt Peters); Penelope (Kathie Olivas); Sproot (Chris Ryniak); Snowshoe (Amanda Louise Spayd)
Edition Size: Painted – 100 pieces; Unpainted – 60 pieces
Pricing: ¥4,650 ($40.00) per 2-pack

Packaging

These came poly-bagged without being carded. That’s fine for me, as it’s not likely they would stay trapped in those baggy confines for very long. So there’s not much to talk about here.

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Our Opinion

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REVIEW: OYO – National Hockey League

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Background

We’re a little over one-quarter of the way through the 2014-15 National Hockey League season. It’s a season that generally runs from October into June. Since I live in a hockey town, I get out to a lot of games. But if you’ve been to a hockey game recently, you might have run into the NHL OYO Minifigures.

Featuring skaters, goalies, and Zambonis from all 30 NHL teams, OYO Sports has one of the most popular hockey collectibles. You’ll find OYO minifigures made of all of today’s top players. Heck, they even have some 3rd Line and Checking Line guys. And not only are OYOs collectibles, but they’re are also compatible with other notable building block toys such as Lego, K'nex, Mega Bloks, and more…for added playability.

For this review, OYO Sports sent along three NHL OYO Minifigures: Claude Giroux, Jordan Staal, and Cam Ward (from the newly released Goalie Series).

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The Facts



NHL OYO Minifigures
Series: National Hockey League Generation 1
Manufacturer: OYO Sports
Material: ABS Plastic
Dimensions: About 2” tall
Points of Articulation: 11 (neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, legs, and knees)
Designs: Players from all 30 NHL teams
Accessories: Skaters – Skates, Puck, Player Accurate Stick Configuration, Helmet with Removable Shield, Stand; Goalies – Leg Pads with built-in Skates, Blocker, Glove, Stick, Puck, Water Bottle, Helmet with Cage, Stand
Edition Size: Limited Edition
Pricing: Skaters - $12.99; Goalies - $14.99

Packaging

The packaging for the NHL OYO Minifigure series is similar to that of other OYO figures. It features an outer sleeve as well as a plastic tray where the figure and accessories are held.

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REVIEW: Asmus Toys’ 1/6th Scale Gothmog

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Background

When you think of the greatest film trilogies, there are several that come to mind: the original Star Wars trilogy, Toy Story, the Godfather (the first two make up for number three), The Dark Knight, the Dollars Trilogy, and The Lord of the Rings. If part of your criteria is a solid number one through three, you could do a lot worse than Peter Jackson’s take on J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic.

The Lord of the Rings toy license is still going strong over a decade after the release of The Return of the King. There are few film-related toy licenses that continue to generate that type of interest. One of the newer toy companies to take a shot at The Lord of the Rings is Asmus Toys.

Asmus, which produces 1/6th scale figures based on the license, recently released the Gothmog collectible figure. According to lotr.wikia.com, Gothmog was the lieutenant of the Witch-king in the Third Age, from Minas Morgul, notably present at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.

The Facts



Gothmog
Series: The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle Earth
Manufacturer: Asmus Toys
Material: Articulated figure
Dimensions: 1/6th Scale (12” tall)
Points of Articulation: Over 36 points
Outfit: Full body armor; Black vest; Torn red sleeves; Pair of red pants; Brown/grey textured fur; Pair of black boots; Black Orc belt
Accessories: Right hand fist in armor; Right hand weapon holding hand in armor; Left hand Orc hand; Gondorian solider corpse; Spike mace; Orc sword; Custom base; Asmus Toys’ figure stand
Pricing: $159.99

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