If you were lucky enough to not be too afraid to collect toys during Beast Wars, it was truly a glorious time to be alive. The American toys were largely good and cheap, and as time went on a steady supply of the Japanese guys showed up on the cheap at various online (and naturally, now defunct) video game importers at ridiculously good prices. Heinrad is a very large toy that came out during Beast Wars Neo, which is the line of toys that pushed me from merely enjoying the American TV show and admiring the toys to buying pretty much every toy I could get my hands on. The quality of the toys was all over the place, but you got incredibly creatures like this one - for nearly $20-$30, you got an 8-inch robot with a working clock in his chest! And in beast mode, he has giant testicles! And a sake jug! And articulated goggles! I can't imagine this toy would be remotely this cheap were it released today, and on the secondary market he's barely more expensive than his original retail price. I bought this toy around when it first came out and I still love it.
The basic nut of Beast Wars Neo is this - blah blah distant future blah Maximal team of mostly mammals blah dinosaur Predacons fight fight fight bite bite bite. It was preposterously glorious just how awesome the creature selections were - a mammoth! A giraffe! A rabbit! A nautilus! A penguin! And Mario's best outfit from Super Mario Bros. 3! His beast mode lets him stand on all fours or sit upright on his hind legs, and the joints in his arms and tail prevent him from looking stupid in the process. If scale bothers you this giant rodent may be troubling, but the toy itself is charming even if you don't like Transformers. It's much easier to transform than the bulk of the other toys in this series, and it's just so gosh darned fun to look at.
Fighting for the Maximals - er, "Cybertoron" faction - this very tall robot is easily to transform to or from either mode. The arms are the arms in both, and you don't have to go through a lot of frustrating hooplah to split apart the robot legs or beast head. It's a very big, simple toy with a lot of personality - the red eyes have a dark black outline, and these can be covered by the aforementioned translucent green goggles. The relatively simple face sculpt has a fair amount of personality in it by virtue of the fact that the head is simply much larger than most other toys of its day or of ours - plus he has "hair" on his head. Posing him is a little tricky due to the kinds of joints deployed on his limbs, but it's not too hard to get him to look decent. His notebook and sake jug accessories come from Japanese folklore, and can combine into a rocket launcher - presumably just like in Japanese folklore.
The two white rockets can fire from the jug, or be mounted on the sides of his legs so you don't lose them. Other exciting details include a Maximal spark crystal that hangs off his right hip/nut and exceptional paint for what was and still is a pretty good price. The character on the cartoon is said to be something of a time-traveler without full control of his powers, which sounds like a really exciting idea on paper. (I've never seen the show, I just love the toys.)
Most of the Japanese Beast Wars molds eventually got a US release, but Heinrad and many of the Maximals never quite made it out in the USA for some reason - perhaps that reason being that non-cyborg beasts were totally out of vogue by 1999. Don't get suckered into the idea that only characters that appear on the US TV show Beast Wars are worth your while - there are plenty of super toys from all over the world worthy of your love and attention that are a whole bunch of fun.
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