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Coffee, Tea, Monster
January 1 2004
Review: Godzilla Godzilla '88 Egg

The first toy we look at in 2004 is from 1988, and it's this nifty little Godzilla Egg. The egg can be wound up, and when released the hatchling pops out and walks. It's disturbingly cute. Be sure to check it out in today's review!

Also, don't forget Godzilla, Mothra And King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) is coming to DVD next week with a brand new dub that's sure to please, or at the very least tickle your funny bone.

--AP

Target: Clearances at 50%

A number of items, but not all clearance items, are now being marked at 50% off as of last night. Items include Star Wars toys, all TransFormers Armada, LEGO sets, G.I. Joe items, a few Lord of the Rings figures, and more. Check your local store or stores to see what's left.

--AP

TJ Maxx Playmobil Clearance

A number of items stocked by TJ Maxx over the holiday season are now marked down roughly 40%, including a number of Playmobil sets. As the selection varies widely from store to store, you should take it upon yourself to see what's out there if you're in the market for pirates and bikers and other such things.

--AP

And in other news...

Happy New Year and stuff. Since it's a holiday, we thought we'd share this link to amusing furnishings that our pal May sent in to us.

--AP

Our New Year's Resolution: More Of The Same
January 2 2004
LOTR Trilogy Assortments: Now Available, Cheap in More Ways Than One

LOTR enthusiasts, we have good news and bad news. The good news is not only are the new assortments of the figures from the epic film series on shelves, but they're all on new packaging (like the Aragorn mentioned previously) and the deco on the toys has been changed slightly. So collectors, you're in luck-- your scarce toys are still distinctive. The toys are also $4.99 each instead of $7 and up.

The bad news? Deco changes. The paint operations on each figure are a little different, in some cases a huge improvement and in others, an obvious step down. The weapons are painted differently on the likes of the Witch King Ringwraith, and it seems that aside from that, the toys are the same basic toys crammed in a smaller package. Since the figures seem to be painted better, and the accessories worse, it seems to be a mostly fair trade seeing as the prices have gone down.

And would you believe we also have an added bonus to report? New figures from Return of the King are shipping alongside the old ones. We saw a new archer figure today, so keep your eyes peeled for these at Targets, Wal-Marts, and elsewhere.

Bonus #2: many sites we've seen have said Boromir is not shipping. We're glad to report that this is a huge steaming load, as we've seen him today.

--AP

TransFormers: Various Updates

Hasbro posted an update with a new toy, the new Energon Autobot Cliffjumper. Sure, he looks nothing like his namesake from 20 years back, but he looks pretty slick.

Some driving around today yielded many stashes of Unicron from Armada at Target stores at about $21. Not a bad deal. Also, some research regarding the Armada Unicrons in Energon boxes seems to reveal that this isn't an isolated incident, and it appears that they are actually shipping to Toys "R" Us stores this way in many markets. As such, be wary when making a purchase.

TFW2005 posted packaged shots of the G1-styled Spychangers toys. Click here for their story complete with pictures.

--AP

LEGO Clearance Splendor

Turns out that LEGO sets on clearance at Target vary by location. For example, one store has upwards of 40 of the mini sets featuring the Pod Racers from Episode I for under two bucks a head, while another store had a mix of all of them. And some stores have the AT-AT on clearance, while others don't. As you may have guessed, we found them at $49.98, a fine price for a set we presume to be awesome. There may be a review up at Galactic Hunter soonish if we feel like it.

--AP

Playmobil: Now 50% at Target

It's either varying by location or something. A number of sets are now 50% off at some area Target stores, including the marvelous Viking Longboat.

--AP

More Spider-Man 2 Movie Toys Spotted

It's apparent that Toy Biz is really sending new stuff all over the place now. We spotted a solid case of toys, including a highly posable and truly awesome Magnetic Spider-Man with magnets in the hands and feet, a 26-inch tall (that's 26, not 2.6) flagpole, and more articulation than the super-articulated Spidey from the first film. Pics and a review to follow.

In short, we're very impressed. As connoisseurs of fine Spider-Man toys, we'd like to say you should go out and buy one for yourself and one for everybody you know.

--AP

The Brak Show Cancelled

It appears that Adult Swim's The Brak Show has been canned for reasons currently unknown to us. The often hillarious show ran for roughly 30 episodes, which is probably enough to guarantee a DVD release. The final episode, which ran on New Year's Eve, was quite hillarious if for no reason other than the ending scene was a total hoot. The announcement of the show's demise was made both during the show and repeated immediately afterward to probably make sure the viewers realized it wasn't a joke.

Also, it sounds like the voice of Harvey Birdman changed. Boo. Hiss.

--AP

And in other news...

Happy Anniversary to...

The Macintosh computer. We love you, Apple. We also make this site on your marvelous hardware. You're 20, and we've been with you since the beginning. Try not to go out of business, we need you.

G.I. Joe. Turning 40 this year, the original toys were released by Hasbro in 1964 after being developed in 1963. The 40th Anniversary toys started popping up late last year and, interestingly enough, are on clearance already at some stores. The line spawned numerous sublines, sizes, and characters that appeal to a wide range of collectors.

TransFormers. Obviously, the robots in disguise turn 20 as the big news now is a 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime toy which seems to be the only commemorative item this year. There's also the Alternators, though, which are a bit of a throwback to the orignal series of toys. The spawn of planet Cybertron don't have the multigenerational appeal of the Joes, but they've been made as vehicles, animals, and a variety of different things and are still a huge seller to kids after all these years.

Devo's album Shout. You never heard of it? It was also released in 1984. And you're swine. It's a good one.

Weezer's first album is turning 10 this year, so if you remember when that was new and fresh, we expect you to now feel very, very old.

--AP

Spring Reset
January 3 2004
TransFormers Universe Sunstorm Packaged

A carded sample of the new Universe Sunstorm with bonus Street Action Team has shown up for sale on an eBay auction which is particularly notable in that it hasn't even been confirmed by Hasbro yet. The set looks nice and, like many recent repaints, uses stock photos for the packaging.

A look around town today revealed that Energon Unicron is indeed shipping with both flavors. A local Wal-Mart is receiving the Energon toy in the proper packaging, while many area Toys "R" Us stores are still getting Energon boxes with Armada Unicrons inside.

--AP

Masters of the Universe Online Deals

The in-store sales on MOTU have been lackluster at best, with little new or interesting product and even less in the way of a decent discount. After poking around the Web, we found that all the good deals were online, while the items remained full price in stores. While we don't particularly care for plugging stores' online deals, fact is these were good enough to share for once, especially seeing how at least one of the items really never saw much distribution.

Dragon Walker, KB Toys, $4.99
Samurai Battle Cat, KB Toys, $4.99
Samurai Battle Raptor, KB Toys, $4.99
Slime Pit, KB Toys, $9.99
Wolf Armor He-Man & Snake Armor Skeletor, Toys "R" Us Exclusive, $14.98

--AP

Ultrasaurus Zoids Kit: Cheaper Online

The Toys "R" Us Exclusive Ultrasaurus kit is available online for $59.99. In stores, it's $79.99.

If you're willing to accept Japanese instructions, though, you can find it online via eBay or elsewhere for $40 plus shipping.

--AP

New G.I. Joe Bundle, Deals

Target stores are stocking a bundle of three figures (Cobra Commander, Duke, Snake Eyes) and a VHS tape of the Spy Troops movie for a low $9.99. It is unknown if this is an exclusive at this time.

As we were also poking around for deals, we saw that KB Toys on the Web has the Baroness Minibust for $19.99 and the Cobra Crimson Attack Tank for $9.99. (And no, we don't have an affiliate program set up, we just thought these were deals worthy of mention.)

--AP

Multi-Packaged Super Posable Spider-Man

Packaging freaks, take note. The recently released Spider-Man 2 movie toys have a brand new Super Posable Spider-Man figure that not only breaks articulation records, but also packaging records. So far, the figure is posed a minimum of three different ways in its packaging, which is a nice way to show off just how movable this toy truly is. While the appeal of this particular webslinger will be to open the toy, odds are collectors will be in for a treat trying to figure out how many different poses are out there for the packaged plaything.

--AP

Wal-Mart Toy Aisle Reset

It's a new year, and that means that Wally World has now moved all their toys around yet again. Some stores have toys in the regular aisle as well as aisles of new and clearance product elsewhere in the stores, so when making your runs this weekend be sure to keep your eyes open for oddly placed plastic.

--AP

Now Who Wants Ice Cream?
January 4 2004
Unlicensed 20th Prime Trailer Coming;
TransFormers Universe Sideburn on eBay

An unpackaged sample of the new Universe Sideburn has shown up for sale on an eBay auction. The robot mode looks a lot like the Super Sideburn figure that was released a few years back, but the vehicle mode looks like a brand new vehicle.

Also, TFormers has posted a blurb stating that a company in Hong Kong is developing a plastic trailer for the 20th Anniversary Convoy/Optimus Prime toy that might run about $40. And in the 2005 Boards, a link was given to this page with an image of a prototype. Sure, it's clear, but it's a start. (And for the record, the $299 price is in Hong Kong dollars, which is closer to US $40.) As this is a bootleg product of sorts, fans the world over will probably need to be watching the likes of eBay and toy importers.

Stay tuned to your favorite TF news channels for more.

--AP

And in other news...

Slow news day. That, and we put off the update late, so we're watching Rebirth of Mothra, a 1996 movie, on the Sci-Fi Channel. Apparently you can get this movie and the sequel, Rebirth of Mothra 2, on a single DVD for about $20. If you liked Godzilla 2000 and need more modern Toho madness, look this up.

If you're a fan of the comic PVP, don't forget the print edition of the comic just had a new release. Issue #5 hit stores last week, so be sure to look out for that one.

Anyway, upcoming features next week include Magnetic Spider-Man from Spider-Man 2, a look at the classic album Shout by Devo, and a glace at the four Masters of the Universe Hot Wheels cars released last year.

At Galactic Hunter, we've got Q&A again on Monday along with an upcoming Best of 2003 feature and a review of the animated Obi-Wan Kenobi. And maybe more, we're feeling lazy.

--AP

Let Me Prove It To You
January 5 2004
Energon Sale at Target

Live in the USA? Your local Target stores now have Energon toys on an unadvertised sale, with the toys being a couple of bucks off. Basic and deluxe figures are $1 off, with larger sizes being $2 or $3 off. If you still want Energon toys and were holding off for a sale, well, this is it.

--AP

Star Wars Q&A Updated at Galactic Hunter

Galactic Hunter has posted their weekly Q&A column by yours truly yet again. The column is also taking additional questions now, so be sure to send yours in if you have any.

--AP

And in other news...

It was the last major label release you never heard from a band you loved-- or should have loved. Devo's Shout is a synthesized, blippy romp that is probably about as '80's as a Devo album can get. Featuring a cover of a Hendrix song and a number of originals, today's review focuses on the Infinite Zero records release that also featured two bonus tracks.

Best Buy has the Tenacious D Complete Masterworks DVD on sale this week for $11.99. Two discs, lots of extras, and the most important part: six episodes of their HBO comedy show.

Spike TV has a new show with John Henson, former host of E!'s own Talk Soup. The new program is entitled The John Henson Project and starts January 11. As far as we know, John Henson has no relation to Jim Henson of The Muppet Show fame.

HBO has new episodes of Sex and the City and the best sitcom in years, Curb Your Enthusiasm running starting yesterday with encores all week. Real Time with Bill Maher starts again on Friday. Check local listings, blah blah blah.

Anybody else catch David Cross on Arrested Development? Last night? Hillarious. Definitely the best new network sitcom since the likes of NewsRadio.

I saw a Garfield Suction Cup Doll in a car on the road today, which was a real susprise as it was both a non-sun-damaged specimen and also, I wasn't expecting to see Garfield suck anywhere but the newspaper page until the movie opened this summer.

--AP

Making Love to a Vampire with a Monkey on My Knee
January 6 2004
Review: Spider-Man 2 Magnetic Spider-Man

One of many highlights out of the final weeks of 2003 was this Magnetic Spider-Man Action Figure. The figure can be stuck to a variety of surfaces and glide down the 26 inch tall flag pole included with the toy, although it should be noted it's a little awkward going down. The figure is incredible, though, so be sure to check it out in today's review!

--AP

He-Man Sale... Is It All Over?

While we've noticed it at a few stores, it seems He-Man.org is also reporting that not only are stores marking them down, but also possibly discontinuing the line as an item they'll carry in the future. While many saw it coming, and it isn't definite yet, it is unfortunate to see the property end on a whimper.

--AP

Knights Kingdom in the UK

BZPower is reporting LEGO's latest foray into construction-based action figures is now hitting England. These kits are due to hit the USA in roughly six months and we hope to bring you impressions around that time.

--AP

And in other news...

Homestar Runner has updated after a holiday break with a new Strong Bad Email. Be sure to check it out.

We also scored the album Pretty & Twisted by the band of the same name from a few years back, which features Marc Moreland (of The Marc Moreland Mess and Wall of Voodoo) and Johnette Napolitano (Concrete Blonde.) A review is forthcoming, but not for a while... in short, though, fans of Moreland will probably be disappointed that the sense of humor he usually carries doesn't permeate the album, nor does his guitar work take center stage. Still, it's not exactly bad. Just... different.

--AP

A Squid Eating Dough Through a Polyethelene Bag
January 7 2004
Stikfas Xevoz Available

Stikfas are a Hasbro-distributed model kit action figure that have been sold at numerous stores, but now the company is producing Xevoz, which are larger, about the same price, and prepainted. The first assortments of these blister-packaged figures are hitting Toys "R" Us this week so be sure to keep your eyes peeled if you're into such things.

--AP

Universe Strika

An unpainted sample of Strika in what appears to be Universe colors has shown up at TFClub, a Japanese message board dedicated to robots in disguise. Due to the Dinobot spark crystal, fans are assuming this is a new mold and not a Beast Machines-era prototype.

--AP

Target Game Specials

Target is offering a number of unadvertised specials which seem to vary from store to store on its selection of video games. Highlights include the likes of Mario Golf for $29.99, $20 off. If you're looking for games, it might be good to check for fluke discounts.

--AP

Pink Panther Collection with Shag Artwork;
Godzilla Delay

DVD File has added images and features of the upcoming Pink Panther Collection which features artwork from the great Shag, previously best known for his indie record album covers. The set features five films and a disc of extras, but does not feature Return of the Pink Panther. Return, distributed by Artisan, is widely available in $5.50 bins at most Wal-Mart locations. The aforementined box also contains a few Panther short cartoons, so it seems to be a nice set with a hefty $69.99 price tag.

Also, the newest Godzilla flick had its release date changed relatively recently. Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack has been delayed until January 27.

--AP

And in other news...

The Onion has updated its AV Club section, but apparently not the regular page as of press time. As there are interesting features there, check it out.

News Askew is reporting that the upcoming Clerks Animated Feature may be going from one even on the silver screen to multiple events on the small screen. It appears a direct-to-video DVD series is being considered, which is a little unusual for the US-produced adult animation market.

--AP

Yowza Yowza Yowza
January 8 2004
20th Anniversary Convoy: First Impressions

Sweet merciful crap. We're now in posession of the Japanese version of the 20th Anniversary Masterpiece Edition Optimus Prime. In short, we're very pleased.

Standing at about a foot tall, the same height as a large G.I. Joe figure, he's one of the largest TransFormers toys in recent memory, dwarfed only by Unicron, the large Beast Machines Cheetor. He's about the same height as the fully-assembled Super mode of Armada Optimus Prime. So in short, he's not short.

The toy includes the figure, a bunch of accessories, a booklet with the history of the character and the instructions, a trading card, a trailer which is formed out of the cardboard insert (license plate: OP20TH), and a colorful box which will look great behind the toy on a shelf. While the toy does seem to have a few flaws-- like a foot that keeps popping off-- these could be limited to just our sample. The truck mode was less than thrilling, but when given the decision between seeing him as a robot and as a truck, well, screw the truck.

While pictures of the toy we've seen around the Web look good, the actual piece is, unsurprisingly, far better. There's a lot of weight to it, and the smokestacks are on springs which allow limited movement and will also probably help to prevent breakage. The thumb is on a ball joint while the fingers can only move forward and backward. Also, the Energon Axe seems a little hard to pop out of his arm when you're finished with it. Overall, it's a class act, and pretty much what you'd want out of a large, overpriced Japanese toy. (Mainly because it doesn't feel all that overpriced.)

Regardless, we're very happy with it and will try to provide a full review next week. Keep in mind the above gushing was just pretty spur-of-the-moment, so I really don't know if it'll be early or late in the week, but there's a good chance it could be the only toy feature next week.

...and in other news, we're hearing Alternators Sideswipe is showing up. As of yet, we have not seen one in person.

--AP

G.I. Joe Figural Pens

Wal-Mart stores are now stocking pens based on military G.I. Joe designs. The figures are standing upright with the tip of the pen extending out of a figure's boots, and the pen plugs into a stand for the figure. It's an interesting piece, but it seems like it might be awkward to actually write with it.

--AP

Target Clearances Con't

As reported previously, it seems Target stores are more or less randomly marking down their clearance stock today, and it seems that new old items are showing up in stores. For example, a store which had no Powerlinx Optimus Prime figures previously now has them for $19.98, complete with bonus CD-ROM. The majority of clearance toys were moved to a clearance ghetto next to the toy section, so when you go looking, be sure to do some snooping around.

--AP

Al Franken NPR Interview Online

Recently, Al Franken stopped by NPR's Fresh Air to gab about his various projects, namely his USO show that he performed for the troops in Iraq and elsewhere. He performed some of his material and talked about what it's like to perform alongside a pro-Bush country music star. You can find the interview in a streaming format at the Fresh Air Web site.

--AP

And in other news...

We originally planned to run a story on the 2003 Masters of the Universe Hot Wheels cars today. Masterpiece Convoy took that part of the evening up, so this feature will appear at some point in the near future.

--AP

Cereal & A Show
January 9 2004
Review: Clone Wars Animated Obi-Wan Kenobi

Today at Galactic Hunter we look at the first batch of Animated Clone Wars figures with the marvelous Obi-Wan Kenobi action figure. Despite looking like a statue, his unusual articulation allows him to assume a number of unique poses that really surprised me. If you're looking for something different and are a fan of Star Wars, don't miss today's review!

Also, we'd like to second, third, or even eighth the reports that the 12" Leia on Speederbike is marked down to $12.44 after being $49.99 with no in-between clearance prices. They're still out there.

--AP

Video Game News Round-Up

First up: looks like Sony's new PSX console is doing quite well. According to this article at GameForms, 100,000 units of the set-top box have been moved so far. Not bad for a $1,000 piece of consumer electronics.

GameSpot has a little news about Nintendo's new system, which isn't a replacement for the GameBoy or the GameCube. With some speculating it could be like the system Nintendo's selling in China that plays old Super NES and Nintendo64 games, we're quite curious to see just what comes out of the big N later this year.

Lastly, GameSpot also posted this blurb on PSP development. It looks like the PlayStation Portable will have some decent support after all.

--AP

New Muppet Figures, Babies Plush

The Raving Toy Maniac posted this report with pictures and information on the upcoming eighth series of Muppet action figures. The highlight? Marvin Suggs, which should please many fans of the original Muppet Show.

Also, we spotted a large box of plush Muppet Babies dolls at Target tonight, leaving us to wonder if it's 1985 again and someone forgot to tell us.

--AP

Cereal with a DVD Inside

Last year, some cereals were packaged with DVDs featuring full-length pan and scan programs like the animated Jackie Chan Adventures show, or the movie The Muppets Take Manhattan. Now, ShowBizData reports General Mills will offer The King of Queens, Mad About You, The Donna Reed Show, and Barney Miller episodes in five of their cereals. You're very excited, I can tell.

--AP

Packaged Pics of Universe Skydive, Energon Demolishor

You can see both of these bots in-package at this thread at the 2005 Boards.

--AP

Matoran Madness
January 10 2004
New, Old Matorans Around Town;
Toa Metru Leaking

The biggest news around town today is that a few stores are leaking the new Toa sets from the new Metru Nui storyline. Namely, members of LEGO's Proto Squad are finding them in the mail, and a few Bionicle fan sites are reporting that a few LEGO stores are selling them early and selling out quickly.

The Matorans from Metru Nui are showing up everywhere, too. $3.99 at Target and Wal-Mart stores, and the figures use old mask molds with a new coloring style so that multiple colors of plastic are more or less marbeled together to form a fairly ornate design. The figure includes a bunch of new parts and has a glow-in-the-dark disc which can be launched. We snagged a Nuhrii and we would like to mention it as a fine, fine kit.

Also, a lot of stores never received the late 2003 Matoran kits, and it seemed Blockbuster Video had them the most. After checking multiple stores today, one of the many Toys "R" Us stores around town was discovered to have a large cache of them sort of hidden in the LEGO area. So if you still need Hewki, Hafu, Maku, Matoro, Kahli, or Kopeke (and aren't satisfied with the McDonald's equivalent), check your local stores. These kits are also available at the LEGO.com store.

--AP

Packaged Pics of Energon Snow Cat, Prowl

You can see both of these bots in-package from Yahoo Japan auctions. Cosmic Rust posted links.

A number of sites also posted a list from a Wal-Mart computer with new toys, like "Military" and "Sixshot." Check your favorite site for the full list with analysis of just what they might be.

--AP

Ghost of Sam Exclusive Figure

The Raving Toy Maniac posted a shot and some information about the upcoming Ghost of Sam Arrow exclusive action figure. It'll be available at Wizard World Los Angeles or through the Palisades Toys Collectors Club.

--AP

Christmas Playmobil Sale
January 11 2004
Another New Godzilla DVD

A second Godzilla movie from the "Millennium Collection" is coming out shortly. Godzilla vs. Megaguirus was released after Godzilla 2000 and is coming to DVD at the end of the month. You've been warned, more man-in-suit monster fun seems to be on the way... and yes, it's dubbed!

--AP, thanks to EK

The Amazing Spider-Car

Two new Spider-Man 2 movie toys were spotted this weekend, the new Spider-Car. It's available in black and red and includes a figure that seems to be as posable as the super-posable Spidey from the first film. Both versions are shipping to Target stores for about $19.99.

It is not expected that this vehicle will appear on screen in the upcoming Marvel movie.

--AP

75% All Christmas Merch at some Toys "R" Us Stores

Need Holiday Playmobil? You may be in luck depending on your local Toys "R" Us and how they handle the holiday clearances.

One local store had a large quantity of five different sets in front of a large 75% off sign. Items on sale included the following, your prices and sales may vary.
3604 Santa's Magic Sleigh, $3.75
3943 Christmas Tree Decorations, $1.98
5719 Nativity Set with Wise Kings, $5.00
3368 Advent Calendar (Christmas Carolers Edition), $3.98
5711 Advent Calednar (Santa Claus Edition), $3.98

The calendar sets are different, and there are some pretty nifty pieces in here if you like such things. Nifty items included are RC cars scaled to the toys, benches, fences, and all sorts of goodies that your hobo needs to live a better life.

TRU also has holiday candy and wrapping paper and dozens of other such products on markdown, so if you need to get a head start on next year, now's a good time to do so.

--AP

New Alternators Toy Revealed, Name Not So Much

Talk about the best car show ever. Mazda posted a page hyping up its newest car... and the TransFormers toy to be based upon it. Yowza. Talk about knowing how to market your car...

The new red sportscar is the second red sportscar in this toy line, and as of yet, it has no name or release date. But it sure looks purty.

--AP

Toa Nuva: Half Off... And Elusive

If your local Toys "R" Us store still has them, we've found that the Toa Nuva kits are $3.98. Target has theirs down for roughly the same price. Not a bad price for a canned mechanical tiki thing.

--AP

A Zoids Steal (Energy Liger Redux)

Earlier, we reported that the 2003 Zoids Energy Liger was being spotted around town, ringing up at $29.97 at Wal-Marts and a surprising $0.00 at Target stores. Over the past month, the toy has remained at $0.00, meaning the toy's price is more or less determined by the cashier at the register or the nearest member of management. Today, we scored two at two separate Target stores at $3.24 before sales tax. As such, we highly advise you scour your local stores for this piece and see what happens when you ask what it costs.

(For the record, the extra is being donated to Toys for Tots or another holiday toy program.)

--AP

And in other news...

TV fans, take note: the new The John Henson Project is on SpikeTV tonight. Will it be good? No idea. But it's 30 minutes long and hopefully the former Talk Soup host will bring on the funny. There's also a new Simpsons, Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Sex and the City tonight as well as, we think, some new shows on the Williams Street segments of Adult Swim.

The bulk of today was filled with a fairly sizable quest for cheap plastic, and as such, next week's menu isn't exactly complete. Our plans are to include the 20th Anniversary Masterpiece Convoy when we finish the review-- which may take a while. There will be no other toys reviewed next week due to the sheer quantity of work to be done on this one, but we will take a look at the Test Anxiety E.P. by Toenut on Monday.

Behind the scenes, we've been reworking on restoring some sites formerly hosted at 16bit.com that were lost the last time we moved servers. These in-progress works include the site for Mechanically Separated Chicken, a defunct Tucson-based comedy group, and one for ASWN, a Web-based newsletter that I ran from 1995-2000. Both will be fairly limited in scope, but we are currently examining the possibility of posting select mailings from the old ASWN mailing list if, unedited, they seem to not embarass the author too much. MSC materials will or won't be posted pending approval from group memebers.

At Galactic Hunter, we'll have Q&A on Monday. Later in the week, you can expect reviews of the animated Mace Windu and the deluxe C-3PO with Escape Pod, and if you're good, maybe even our Best of 2003 feature! So stay tuned for more on those.

--AP

And That's Why You Always Leave a Note
January 12 2004
Universal Monsters Return

Item 1: We may have a winner for the most ridiculous product of the year, at least in concept. Jakks Pacific has released a new toy where you get a small pyramid or similar structure and "excavate" a piece of action figure. There are three figures with six pieces each, and you don't know the piece you get until you buy it. While cute in concept, the packaging shows no image of the final figure and the price is a little high. So if you're lucky, you'll end up paying about $30 for a small, perhaps six inch action figure. Three monsters are currently available, including the Creature from the Black Lagoon and the Mummy. It's an amusing idea, but for five bucks a blind pop, it's hard to imagine these being much of a hit. We spotted one sample at Target.

Item 2: Toys "R" Us stores are now receiving the new Jakks Pacific Universal Monsters figures with dioramas. So far, you can find the Wolfman, Dracula, and Frankenstein's Monster. While none of these are especially impressive, they do sport decent likenesses of the original actors... except for Frank, which wasn't exactly impressive. These aren't the best versions of these monsters to be offered, but they are available, which is more than can be said for the better ones.

Item 3: It appears they're cross-promoting toys for the upcoming Van Helsing toys, which makes sense as Jakks Pacific has been responsible for the likes of The Scorpion King and a few other new Universal Monster-themed toys.

--AP

Star Wars Q&A Updated at Galactic Hunter

Galactic Hunter has posted their weekly Q&A column by yours truly and, as always, I'm eagerly looking for new questions. So, feel free to send any in.

This week's highlights include Clone Trooper articulation, figure errors, oddball droids, and just why are there more Snowtroopers showing up all of a sudden.

--AP

And in other news...

Toenut. Never heard of them? That's OK, they've never heard of you either. Today, we look at Toenut's Test Anxiety EP. This mid-'90's rock act put out a few releases, all of which were fairly unique and as by definition, unlike most of other albums put out at the time. Full of noise, blips, and a female vocalist the likes of which you rarely hear, this disc provides something rare. Namely, something different. Read more about them in today's review.

This was a good weekend for TV. NBC ran a repeat of a classic SNL from over two decades back with Candice Bergen and musical guest Frank Zappa. Unlike the Comedy Central and E! repeats, NBC aired the entire installment including all three musical numbers, including one where John Belushi sang along with Zappa and his band of miscreants. While not in every market, NBC offers these repeats as part of its "NBC All Night" programming which are a nice alternative to infomercials. We're currently awaiting the Tom Waits repeat, the one which the cable nets edit out all of his songs.

Sunday night TV saw the premiere of the John Henson Project, a Spike TV take on The Man Show, The X Show, and other similarly themed programming. The feel of the show was quite similar to his days on Talk Soup, in which he brought people from off-camera and had an audience of about six to laugh at his material. In short, if you liked his Talk Soup, you should check it out.

HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm (which hits DVD this week) and Fox's Arrested Development both had excellent new installments on Sunday night, and we'll probably go on praising the latter until it hits DVD. If you missed either of them, you really missed out. With so few television shows providing genuine laughs or interesting characters, it seems these days there's more than a few shows going out of their way to make TV for the rest of us.

--AP

New News, New York
January 13 2004
LEGO News Round-Up

A lot happened with LEGO lately, and here's the rundown of what you may have missed...

Item 1: LEGO to make Dora the Explorer toys. While you guys won't care, it is interested to note in light of the second item.

Item 2: LEGO Lays Off Employees, Blames Brands. A number of items are blamed, including licensed items. It also looks like Mindstorms are going away, which would be unfortunate as they resulted in a very dedicated community of builders and tinkerers.

Item 3: The Sky Is Not Falling. An official LEGO rep made a posting to the From Bricks To Bothans message board to clarify the Danish disaster of item 2. Since LEGO has the license for properties like Star Wars for a few more years, it wouldn't make sense to just drop them, would it?

--AP

Curb Your Enthusiasm DVD Today

Larry David fans, rejoice. Today, the first season of the HBO comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm hits stores. The set includes the first ten episodes and the hour-long pilot.

--AP

And in other news...

Homestar Runner updated with a great new Strong Bad Email as well as a whopping four new games. Classic gaming fans, you're going to love this one.

Also, good news. 16bit.com will be reporting from New York's Toy Fair. As I have never been, it is unknown what exactly we'll be able to bring you from the show floor, but if you have any requests or questions, I'll print 'em out and see what I can find out for all of you.

--AP

Time Required For Assembly: About 25 Minutes
January 14 2004
Review: Saga Ultra C-3PO (Tatooine Escape)

Today at Galactic Hunter we look at yet another Ultra figure with this review of the C-3PO (Tatooine Escape) action figure. He's the first modern action figure to include a properly scaled Escape Pod from the Tantive IV, and even though he's based on an existing figure we like to think he's still plenty cool. If need an excuse to buy more droids and the only new vehicle for the immediate future, don't miss today's review!

--AP

Toy Biz Lord of the Rings 2004 Assortments

The Raving Toy Maniac posted this list of assortments due out from all three films through 2004. While it may not be new, there were plenty of surprises to us including two new Boromir figures.

--AP

Incredible Crash Dummies Toys Return

While Vince and Larry are absent, the hallmark of the toy line and public service announcements from a few years back is here again. This time, Mattel has released the Incredible Crash Dummies. Action figures, which are about the same size as an old Kenner Batman figure, are packaged with any of a variety of accessories, as you can see in this ultra-crappy cardback photo we took in a hurry because we need to sleep.

We picked up the Crashmower set because the 16bit.com staff believes strongly in the play value of lawn care products. As of this news posting, we have had very little time to mess with the toy, but the overall quality seems low for Mattel's usually decent standards.

A full review may be coming soon, depending on what we get off the backburner. The small action figures were pennies under $5, and the smaller vehicles were just under $10. These samples were spotted at a Phoenix-area Wal-Mart. As the cardback indicates, the entire line is not yet available.

--AP

Yet Another New Godzilla DVD

DVDFile is reporting that Godzilla against Mechagodzilla is coming to DVD on March 23. It is unknown if this is, in fact, the original film or the feature that was only just recently released in Japan as cover art and details seem scarce at this time. REVISED JANUARY 15 2004

--AP

More Zoids Clearances

While selection and prices vary by store, we deemed it notable that the Fire Phoenix Z-Builders kit was spotted at a Wal-Mart clearance rack for $5. Last week at the same store, it was $14.96. As such, it may be worth looking around and scanning some items to see what you can get.

--AP

Numerous DVD TV Announcements

TVShowsOnDVD.com posted numerous television and TV special DVD releases in the past day. You should go through their news for the full scoop, but announcements included the Garfield and Friends TV show as well as the many holiday specials, Remington Steele, Millennium, Invader Zim, and more. If any of those tickle your fancy, ye best go over to that site and do some reading.

--AP

And in other news...

The Onion updated with its first full post-holiday installment. And of course, it's funny so be sure to read it if you're so inclined.

--AP

With Prices This Low, I Never Had a Chance
January 15 2004
Kay-Bee Toys Bankrupt

CNN is reporting that mall toy seller Kay-Bee Toys is filing for bankruptcy. While this doesn't necessarily mean the chain is knocking at death's door, it's not exactly a good sign of things to come. Here's hoping they pull through, as they've been a great source of oddball clearance finds and exclusives over the years.

--AP

Sega Comes To Hot Wheels

Mattel has released a series of five Sega-themed Hot Wheels vehicles. Our sample was spotted at a Wal-Mart over the weekend. This vehicle sports graphics from the popular Super Monkey Ball series.

Also available are cars decked out with graphics from Shinobi, Space Channel 5, Jet Set Radio Future, and House of the Dead. The cars supposedly hit some time in 2003, but as we are not Hot Wheels experts, this was news to us. The cars are at several chains and cost anywhere from $0.70-$0.99.

--AP

New TransFormers Toy Surfaces

Cosmic Rust posted numerous images of an Armada Skywarp repaint that looks a lot like Starscream. The items is presumed to be an exclusive, but further details are not yet available. The site shows the toy in both modes. Note that the faction symbols were left unpainted.

Also, if you haven't seen them, Palisades' Optimus Prime Statue and Hard Hero's Megatron Statue are hitting comic and speciality shops this week. If not earlier.

--AP

Arrested Development DVD in... Development;
Kill Bill Box

TVShowsOnDVD.com posted some more tidbits from a recent chat with a Fox DVD executive and one of those revealed that Arrested Development is currently being examined for an upcoming DVD release. This is indeed good news.

Also mentioned in separate news items were season sets of Gargoyles, The Flintstones, and Scooby-Doo as well as more information on upcoming seasons of Three's Company, if any of those float your boat.

Lastly, and news to us, was that DVD File shared word of the release date for Kill Bill Vol. 1, which is currently a fairly bare-bones edition on April 13. A loaded box set with both volumes is also currently in development.

--AP

And in other news...

Because of time constraints and a sense of optimism about how long it would take our review of the Masterpiece Convoy set has been postponed until next week. And that Masters of the Universe Hot Wheels feature is also still in development.

We're also slightly amused by our main headline and our first news item's accidental connection. The main headline for today was a line on Late Night with Conan O'Brien a couple of days ago, and the Kay-Bee announcement was only announced yesterday.

--AP

The Horror
January 16 2004
Target Clearances: Final Markdown

US Target stores have marked their remaining clearance stock from the holidays down to 75% off. Numerous items are left depending on the store. We saw numerous items over four Targets, including TransFormers Armada Hoist, Unicron, and Minicons, tons of Playmobil and LEGO, and a Zoids Gojulas Giga for a paltry $12.44. If you need toys for gifts, donations, or yourself, get to Target post-haste before everything disappears, as the stores seemed fairly raided by Thursday evening.

--AP

Review: Clone Wars Animated Mace Windu

Today at Galactic Hunter we look at one of the stranger animated figures with this review of the Animated Mace Windu action figure. While the only reason you'll probably have to get this one is to finish the set, today's review looks at this unique character which, while certainly an odd toy, isn't nearly as awful as some have been saying.

Numerous rumors around the Web today are hinting that a new trilogy of films may well be in the works for the future. While Lucas has said he doesn't want to do them, you never know.

--AP

The Closest You'll Get To The Portable NES; Xbox Recolors

Two reports surfaced today on an upcoming wide-release of the Famicom-colored (NES-colored to you and me) GameBoy Advance. This system is bundled with the original Super Mario Bros.

This article at GameSpot has a photo of the unit and game packaging, plus it gives you a pretty good idea what to expect from this unit. This article at GameForms has a little more information, including the release date, Japanese MSRP, and a list of the games. Included are Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Bomberman, and The Legend of Zelda as well as others. There is currently no word of a US release, but it will be out in Japan on February 14.

Lastly, Japan is getting a few recolored Xbox units. GameForms is reporting that a white limited edition and a blue model are on the way. Find out more in this feature.

--AP

Kids In The Hall Season 1 DVD: More News

A list of frequently asked questions was posted to TVShowsOnDVD.com, so now you know where you can buy Season 1 right now, and when it's going to show up elsewhere. A few online venues have it for $59.99 today, but it will be released wide on April 27. Preorders for the April release are as low as $44.96 so far.

--AP

Freaks & Geeks Cover Art, MSRP

Fans of this show are in luck. TVShowsOnDVD.com posted the MSRP, cover art, and release date. Basically, it'll be about $70, much cheaper than expected, and include tons of unreleased footage and a few unaired episodes. If it's on sale somewhere on its release date of April 6.

--AP

Alternators Mazda RX-8: More Information

Over the weekend, Mazda and Hasbro announced a new toy in the Alternators line of TransFormers. While it has no name as of press time, the toy was only confirmed for a US release. Not surprisingly, Japanese importers have just confirmed the Japanese Binaltech release and toy and game importer NCS seems to be the first to have the Japanese version up for preorder. On the bright side, at least you now know it's a sure thing... the toy ships to Japan in September of this year and seems to be priced the same as all the others.

At least three other stores have it up, and it seems to be roughly $53 at the cheaper places. It goes as high as $60. Of course, the same toy will be $19.99 when the American version is shipped to stores, so if you don't need to have a die-cast metal import you may wish to wait.

--AP

G.I. Joe... Now With Gum

At Comic-Con International in San Diego last summer, Hasbro showed off individually carded G.I. Joe action figures packaged with gum. Now Yo Joe! has added images of them to their site, as they seem to be hitting stores. We have yet to see them, but hey, we'll keep you posted if we do.

--AP

Kay-Bee To Close Up To 500 Stores

This article, as well as many others, have reported that the mall toy store we've all come to love and hate could close as many as 500 of its roughly 1300 stores. More as it develops.

--AP

And in other news...

Like pain? The trailer for Garfield the Movie is online. It's short, it appears Odie doesn't really follow the comic design, and it looks about as bad as you would have expected..

--AP

And That's Why You Never Try To Teach Your Son A Lesson
January 17 2004
Wal-Mart Clearances: More Markdowns

Please note prices vary by location. Numerous Wal-Mart stores have knocked older toys down even cheaper. Old Star Wars Power of the Jedi figures are $1, as is the Basic Fun Optimus Prime Flashlight. The Ninja Turtles Battle Shell was down to $10, and the Masters of the Universe basic figures and War Whale were $4 each. Also, the giant sized X-Men and Urban Legends Marvel multipacks, with five and four figures each, were a super-cheap $8.

As such, we advise you to go to the toy aisle with a cart and scan, scan, scan everything. Prices vary from "ho-hum" to "sweet zombie Jesus" levels.

--AP

Batman: The Animated Series DVD: Update

A confirmation that this set is still coming was posted to TVShowsOnDVD.com, which should please many fans of this true highlight of 1990s American animation. Or rather, animation produced for America. Contents and release dates are unknown, but hey, it's something.

--AP

Energon/Super Link Kicker & STD Convoy Revealed;
Generation 1 Season 3 part 2; Season 4 DVD

Tformers.com posted scans of a Japanese magazine or catalog unveiling STD Convoy and Kicker. STD Prime, which basically means "Standard Optimus Prime," is the $10 version of the cap section of Energon Optimus. It can combine with other similarly designed vehicles and is supposedly much more posable than his $40 sibling. Meanwhile, Kicker takes the design of Takara's new and super-posable Microman designs and turns it into a new toy. Takara has had much success turning this basic template into high quality figures, so this is sure to please fans the world over. It is not known when (or even if) both of these toys will make it to North America, but it is pretty much a given that this Convoy toy will be released here this year.

Meanwhile, our new favorite site TVShowsOnDVD.com posted that the Generation One DVDs will wrap up in March. Features are unknown, but hey, it's nice to see the series released for those of us so inclined to see them.

--AP

More Mystery Science Theater 3000 in March

TVShowsOnDVD.com strikes again, giving vague confirmations that we'll be seeing more of this show in March of this year on DVD. No word of what episodes are to be included.

--AP

Michaelangelo? Party Dude.
January 18 2004
K-Mart Marks Down Exclusive G.I. Joe 12" Set

Late last year, we reported a large G.I. Joe set exclusive to K-Mart that included a couple of vehicles and six figures in the 12" scale for the G.I. Joe vs. Cobra line. Stores that still have this set have since marked it down. Prices vary from store to store, but we found it for $48 (formerly $59.99). K-Mart has "marked down" numerous other Joe items with new clearance tags with the same old price, as well.

--AP

Classic Ninja Turtles DVD: Update

*GASP!* TVShowsOnDVD.com has dug up some information on the adventures of Krang and the Neutrinos! These classic cartoons, which we must confess did not age gracefully, are coming to DVD starting this April. And you thought there wouldn't be anything fun after the TransFormers run ended.

--AP

New Energon/Super Link Candy Toys, Command Jaguar Repaint

Remy has confirmed that a third set of Micron Boosters (the first was Series 0, then 1, and now 2) is coming. He also confirms a Command Jaguar Desert toy which, as of now, is assumed to be a dirt repaint of the basic toy we know and love as Battle Ravage. No images have leaked of either.

A new series of Trading Figure statues was posted over to Fan2Fan.com. Included are Convoy, Rumble, Frenzy, Devastator. The robots have a very striking look and are sure to please even the more discriminating fans... or not, whatever.

Lastly, TransFandom.com has some information and prototype pictures of a minature transforming Grand Convoy from Super Link. It appears to be like the recently released Micromasters sets, packed in blind boxes and able to form a nicely sized if small robot. More as it develops.

--AP

Playmobil Direct: Clearance

Live in the USA? The shop for the USA on Playmobil.com has added the Dinosaur Dungeon (aka Skeleton Cave, 3040) for under $12. If you didn't get the set in the great TJ Maxx blow-outs of 2003, or need a cheap gift for someone, this is a nice set. It has several glow-in-the-dark dinosaur bits as well as four people, one of which has a tiki-type mask which probably has some cultural significance which we ignorant folk know nothing of.

--AP

And in other news...

Wizards of the Coast and Gamekeeper are closing with all items advertised as 30%-50% off. We spotted numerous items at 75% off, so if you need games, cards, or the like, go out and see what's left.

This week's offerings at 16bit.com will include the delayed Masterpiece Convoy review, we're glad to say. Just later in the week. Before that, we'll have a review of the album New Rock by Buffalo Daughter. Sure, you may have heard of it... but have you heard it?

Meanwhile, Galactic Hunter will see a review of animated Asajj Ventress and General Rieekan, and a new installment in Q&A. The Best of 2003 feature is mostly done, just awaiting a few more details and then it'll be ready for your viewing. All in all, it's going to be a good week if you enjoy the stuff we write about.

Around the office, we're still going through our numerous clearance hauls, whic take up more room than you might think considering the amount of money spent. As such, all things are subject to change.

--AP

Socks, Drugs, and Rock n' Roll
January 19 2004
New Bionicle Releases

BZ Power has posted that the Kanoka disc sets are showing up at Wal-Mart, and that the chain as well as Argos (UK) and LEGO direct have started selling more of the Metru Nui Toa sets. Time to start hunting if you haven't already.

--AP

Star Wars Q&A Updated at Galactic Hunter

Galactic Hunter has posted their weekly Q&A column by yours truly and, as always, I'm eagerly looking for new questions. So, feel free to send any in.

This week's highlights include a special Clone Trooper and figures that may or may not be cancelled, entitlements, and a look at the Hall of Fame figures and just why we need them.

--AP

And in other news...

One of the most interesting alternative bands to come out of the late 1990s, and not in the "alt" alternative sense, was Japan's Buffalo Daughter. Synthesizers and sound effects flow through all of New Rock, a 1998 exercise in experimental electronic rock of some description. The songs are very ethereal, and really do seem great at painting a picture in someone's mind, be it an underwater electronic voice or a busy terminal of public transportation. Curious? Read more about them in today's review.

Kevin Smith fans, take note-- yet another Animated Clerks Cartoon is in production, this time a short film for the upcoming Clerks 10th Anniversary DVD. It turns out they're animating "the lost scene," which was chronicled by Oni Comics a few years ago. If you've read the comic, you know the long and short of it, and that it's maybe five minutes worth of material tops. The characters in the comic who made appearances of film will reprise their roles on screen.

16bit.com wants to own an Energon Ultra Magnus. Like, really bad. We have money. We just can't find one... and if you're a regular reader of this site, you know how many toy runs we go on. So if you live in a part of the world that has these, like, we hear, Canada, do let us know.

The rest of our weekly schedule is moving right along as planned, which is, surely, good news. We expect far less clearance news in this and coming weeks until late spring and/or August, but hey, we've been wrong before.

--AP

Is He Not a Man?
January 20 2004
Famicom-Styled GameBoy Advance SP Available for Preorder

NCS and Lik-Sang are each offering up the new GameBoy Advance SP Famicom Color which celebrates 20 years of the Family Computer (aka Famicom, aka NES.) The unit has an MSRP in Japan of about $125 and importers are charging a little bit more. It includes absolutely stunning packaging art as well as the original NES version of Super Mario Bros. We're assured that the Japanese unit, as is, should have no problems functioning with American voltage. The unit can be easily preordered for $150 or less.

Also available are ten games in commemorative packaging. It is unknown if more are coming to the Japanese series, or if any of these items are coming to the USA. Japanese retail for each game is about 2000 yen, and importers are charging $23-$25 a head. Aside from Super Mario Bros. (also available separately), Pac-Man, Xevious, Mappy, The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, Ice Climber, Excite Bike, and Star Soldier are being released. It seems, though, as if these will be much more popular to the collector market than to gamers, but it's hard to argue that the packaging is really something.

While the price is a little high, the unit in the USA is still around $100 and the games are $20 or more, so it actually isn't a bad deal if you still want/need a GBA SP. A review of the box' contents will be available here after we receive our unit.

--AP

Devo DVD: Now Available

Rhino has released a DVD, which totally slipped under our radar, of numerous Devo music videos and performances. The content is different from the VHS "We're All Devo!" and altered a bit since this set was originally sold as a laserdisc. The DVD release, entitled The Complete Truth About De-Evolution has a lot of content but is missing the video for "Are U Experienced?" as Jimi Hendrix' estate denied them permission for its inclusion. Still, it's cheap (under $10 online, $17 at Best Buy) and from what I've seen so far, it's quite good if you're a fan of the band.

On the whole, it feels like a state-of-the-art Laserdisc from 1993, which is pretty much what it is.

--AP

Energon Wave 2 in Hong Kong

Remy's TransFormers has posted packaged shots of Cruellock, Perceptor, Divebomb, Signal Flare, Snow Cat, Rodimus, and Prowl.

Seeing as how most fans have yet to see the rest of Wave 1, namely Ultra Magnus, this is a little surprising.

--AP

And in other news...

A particularly amazingly great Homestar Runner update was posted on Monday, so be sure to check that out.

Word on the street is that oddball cult favorite Da Ali G Show has been renewed for an extra season on HBO. Supposedly, this announcement happened last Fall, and no subsequent announcement has been made... but fans of comedy on HBO know the network has a habit of dragging its feet at times.

--AP

Like Little Snails
January 21 2004
TransFormers Generation One-esque Spychangers Hit;
Hasbro Reveals More Energon, Stuff

While they've been out for a while, we just found them and therefore they're new to us. Kay-Bee stores are now receiving their exclusive Hot Wheels-sized Spychangers. Available are Optimus Prime, Autobot Jazz, Autobot Wheeljack, Hoist, Silverstreak, and Prowl. They're $3.99 per, which isn't exactly cheap, but hey, we still likes 'em. I picked up a sample as can be seen below, and I'm quite pleased with it overall.

Also, Hasbro revealed a bunch of stuff over at their TransFormers Site. For starters, the Mazda Alternators toy now has a name-- "Autobot Tracks." They tackle a few other issues as well over in their recently updated Q&A.

More exciting, though, were some new Energon photos. This page shows Tow-Line and Downshift, the latter of which is sculpted and painted to look like a dead ringer for Wheeljack. It appears that Hasbro may have lost the rights to the name Wheeljack, as their recent Spychangers toy as mentioned above was named Autobot Wheeljack.

--AP

Review: Saga Ultra General Rieekan

Today at Galactic Hunter we look at the final Ultra figure from series one with this review of the General Rieekan (Hoth Evacuation) action figure. Sure, he doesn't have a weapon, or articulation that's any better than a figure from 1995, or more than 60 seconds worth of screen time. But we're Star Wars fans, and we care about our leaders in this little universe. Find out why we care in today's review!

--AP

Futurama Season 3 DVD Info, Art

Once again, TVShowsOnDVD.com comes through. The newest Futurama box comes out on March 9, and there's some art available to boot. As such, kindly check it out.

--AP

And in other news...

The Onion updated with its usual compliment of fun and merriment. There's also an interview with Amy Sedaris of Strangers With Candy fame in the AV Club segment, so be sure to check that out.

--AP

This Is Just Prime
January 22 2004
Review: Master Piece Convoy;
New Universe Out & Landfill Clearances

The shining star at the end of 2003 was intended to be released in early 2004, but nobody seemed to complain that Takara's Master Piece Convoy came out early. The name is a little funky, as "Master Piece" should have been one word and most fans outside Japan know the character as Optimus Prime, but this is still the finest collectible based on a toy property from the 1980's that we've ever seen. The toy is incredible, even if the truck mode isn't, and be sure to check it out in today's review!

A few new Super Link photos got out today, including the desert version of Command Jaguar. The image that was up on Wednesday appears to have vanished from its original source, you'll need to see if anybody else has decided to host it since we hadn't yet saved the image. Also shown was the first shot of the Japanese version of our Megatron which, sensibly, is named Galvatron.

Also, we're glad to report that the Universe Triceradon and Skywarp are now hitting Wal-Marts. Sure, they're both molds that have been sold countless times, but they're pretty. The mega-chain also marked down its clearance toys a little further, and the Robots in Disguise Landfill gift set is now a paltry $12, down from a ridiculous $15 and originally with an MSRP at a perfectly sensible $19.99.

Comics fans, your local comic shop got two new TF books for you this week. Stop in for the latest War Within: The Dark Ages #4 and TransFormers/G.I. Joe #5.

Lastly, word on the street has it that Toy Fare declared Armada Unicron its top pic of 2003. Congrats Unicron! It couldn't happen to a nicer interstellar planet eating cybernetic dark god.

--AP

Freaks & Geeks: Regular & Supersized; MST3K Box Details

Once again, TVShowsOnDVD.com has more to tell us than we knew could be told. It turns out both a basic and a super-deluxe version of Freaks & Geeks is on the way, each containing a heck of a lot of extras. Check out this story for the rest.

Also, the MST3K Info Club has posted the line-up of the next DVD box set. The contents? The Touch of Satan, Time Chasers, Merlyn's Shop of Mystical Wonders, and Boggy Creek II. (You can find the first Boggy Creek sans MST3K stuff in Wal-Mart discount DVD bins everywhere.) The site also reports that the last televised airing of a MST3K repeat will be on January 31, 2004.

--AP

LEGO.com Does, Doesn't, and Does Have Metru Nui Toa Sets

Once again, LEGO Shop At Home has had the six new figures in the Toa series in and out over the past few days, along with new photographs. If you're in the market for them and don't wish to wait for retail, they're $7.99 direct and it's a total crapshoot if they'll be in stock when you click this link.

--AP

And in other news...

Friend of the site Zac pointed us out to this limited edition set of figures from that marvelous Daft Punk animated movie that the kids love so much. It's a fairly limited edition with little other information available.

--AP

Surprise Energon
January 23 2004
Review: Clone Wars Animated Asajj Ventress

Today at Galactic Hunter we look at the final Animated Clone Wars figure from wave one with this review of the Asajj Ventress action figure. She sports two weapons and a wicked sharp sculpt, plus she's the only animated Star Wars figure since Kea Moll way back in the day. Find out if she's worth the scratch in today's review!

--AP

Classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Lost Episodes

The wonders of TVShowsOnDVD.com never cease. Check out this story for some more information on the upcoming cartoon release, which includes a whopping four unaired episodes! 80's junkies, rejoice!

--AP

Energon Springer?, Alternators Tracks

An eBay auction has surfaced showing an unpainted yellow test shot of the new Alternators toy, Autobot Tracks. It seems this is the first photography of the toy, so hey, good times.

TFClub, a Japanese TransFormers board, posted shots of test shots of Energon Cliffjumper as well as a green helicopter that sports a striking resemblance to Springer, a green Autobot triple-changer that made appearances in TransFormers: The Movie and the television episodes that followed. It appears to have a purple Autobot logo behind the cockpit, although this could just be this author's imagination.

We're also seeing reports around the Web of the second batch of Energon toys hitting stores, especially Snow Cat, Rodimus, and Prowl. We have yet to see them ourselves, but hey, good times. We have also yet to see Ultra Magnus, dagnabbit.

--AP

Fan-Toa-stic
January 24 2004
All The Toa of Metru Nui (Almost) Discovered

A stroke of luck in a Mesa, AZ Wal-Mart yielded five of the six new-for-2004 Toa Metru. These new figures are named after the Turaga kits from the first year of Bionicle, but are super-posable toys that far surpass previously released kits. We did not find Toa Nokama at press time.

We did, however, crack open and assemble the incredibly great Toa Vakama. This figure has jointed knees and a posable neck, features sorely lacking on older Toa kits. The coloring is new, and the overall look is much more lanky and more in tune with an old Technic LEGO set. The others seem to be based on the same design with new heads and weapons, so while these are new, they aren't that new.

The sets are quite nice, even at the new prices. Of course, some places have them slightly cheaper-- when we found them, the shelf tags read $6.64 and the scanners said $7.88. (We got them cheap, of course.) If you need a new toy on your desk, snag one if you see it or wait for the review early next week.

--AP

Ed Wood Postponed... Again

Originally planned for release in Summer of 2002 was Ed Wood, the partially true story of the filmmaker's unique life. At the time, it was said that it was delayed indefinitely because Tim Burton came on board to add extras and, at the time, that seemed fair.

Flash forward to today. The Digital Bits is reporting that the disc will, in fact, miss its February 3 release date and currently has no revised release date. Considering the last time this happened in roughly the same time frame, roughly two weeks before release, this is getting a little tired.

Adding insult to injury, the original not-so-special Special Edition that was slated for 2002 in the USA (Region 1) was released overseas in Regions 2 and 3 complete with the relatively small set of supplements. These foreign versions are on eBay, as are preorders for the just-postponed US special edition. If you want to see what the cover art was to have looked like, you might want to check those out.

In other news, it appears the 35th Anniversary Edition of the original Planet of the Apes is coming out is still on track for February 3, as is, I assume, Amercian Splendor. The former just had a review posted to DVDFile.

--AP

He-Man to Leave The Universe

A post on He-Man.Org's forums has confirmed what many of us have feared to be true, and that's that the line is dead. According to Mattel, it seems the line has been discontinued as far as distribution in the United States goes. Considering the line had fairly poor distribution in 2003, it's a shame that most fans never even had the chance to see a single figure from the Snakemen figure on stores (like us), or maybe never saw Roboto (also, like us). The line seems to be doing adequately in Europe, though, so while it's down, it seems it has a little while before it's totally out.

--AP

TransTech Ultra Magnus Concept Art

The aborted TransTech line of TransFormers has had a lot of concept art show up for it over the years, but one we hadn't seen previously has shown up at this post at TFClub. This Ultra Magnus seems to be a fairly striking design, but also seems more similar to his namesake than other toys that were to have been in this line.

--AP

Wal-Mart Clearances Continue

We found some interesting items tonight, namely reduced prices on G.I. Joe Valor vs. Venom in 12" and 4" sizes, some cheap Adventure Team sets from last year or earlier, and of course more cheap Armada TransFormers. The biggest surprise was that Unicron, formerly $42 and change, was reduced to roughly $20, and now is back up to over $48. So much for discounts. The Maxcon toys with bonus Minocons (i.e., Predacon with bonus Minicons) are down to $11 at most if not all locations.

Also, lots of other toys are getting dropped, including Orient Expedition LEGO sets and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles block toys.

--AP

And in other news...

Yesterday it was reported Bob Keeshan, best known as Captain Kangaroo, has passed on. Bob, where ever you are, you will be missed.

Note: Due to a clerical error, the complete news update for January 24 was accidentally deleted early on January 25. As such, many items which appeared previously have been lost and rewritten.

--AP

Lord of the Rotocast
January 25 2004
Return of the King Rotocast Wave 2 Found

Select Toys "R" Us stores are receiving the latest batch of rotocast figures from Toy Biz. Following Aragorn and Legolas are Ringwraith and Gimli, both of which seem to have some nice articulation but lots of problems in the head area. Even the place where the Wraith's head would have gone seems a little off, but hey, it's probably worth your while to check these out if you're a fan of such things.

--AP

Toa Metru Spread Like Fire

Saturday's hunts proved that numerous, but not all, Phoenix area Wal-Marts now stock several if not all of the new Bionicle Toa kits. And yes, we did get a Toa Nokama, but no, we do not have finished pictures for you just yet.

--AP

First Doc Ock Toy Spotted

While action figures remain unseen, the movie versions of the walkie talkies for Spider-Man 2 are now available. One's Spidey, the other is a very odd looking Doctor Octopus. As it's a particularly revolting looking toy, we're hoping future Doc Oc releases are a little more exciting.

--AP

Hulk Hands: Now in Comic Format

The third major revision of the Hulk Hands are now available, proving that these weren't the failure most people seemed to think. Originally in open packaging, they were changed to a window box late in 2003. Now, the same window box has been changed to feature comic-style graphics, and the hands themselves are a new color of green that's certainly more comic book-y. So if you have some burning desire to own all the versions of the Hulk Hands, there's one more to look for.

--AP

And in other news...

Next week, we'll be looking at the new Bionicle set Toa Vakama as well as the Masters of the Universe Hot Wheels cars. Instead of a CD, this week we'll be looking at the DVD set released for the first season of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Aside from Monday's Q&A, at Galactic Hunter we'll be reviewing two recently released twelve-inch Star Wars figures. The first, Garindan, is pretty cool and will be up for your perusal on Wednesday. On Friday, you can see the new A New Hope Obi-Wan Kenobi, which we weren't pleased with.

--AP

I'm Watching You, Weatherman
January 26 2004
Star Wars Q&A Updated at Galactic Hunter

Galactic Hunter has posted their weekly Q&A column by yours truly and, as always, I'm eagerly looking for new questions. So, feel free to send any in.

--AP

Batman Microman

Last year, Takara introduced new, super-posable Microman action figures. They've also discovered that these figures are a great template for super-posable licensed figures, like Gatchaman or Kicker from TransFormers Energon. Now we have a picture from a recent Takara event that was seen on this report revealing Batman to be an upcoming release. It includes a ton of accessories and has posability out the yinyang, so this looks like one of the highlights of 2004.

Note: For reasons unknown to us, the report has been removed from the Web. As we did not save the images, this thumbnail is all we have of this toy at this time.

--AP

Toa Metru: Group Shot

In case you have yet to see them, here's all six of the newest Toa, the Toa Metru. Made of the same parts in new colors, these kits have a few really clever pieces that allow them to quickly grow in height or shrink as you so desire. The new masks look significantly more stylized and more like a hood ornament from an American car from between the 1930s and 1960s.

From left to right: Toa Matau, Toa Vakama, Toa Nokama, Toa Onewa, Toa Nuju, Toa Whenua. The review for Toa Vakama goes up Tuesday. Reviews of additional Toa kits pending reader requests and whims of the author.

--AP

Review: Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 1

It's all about perspective. Curb Your Enthusiasm brings a sort of honesty that you can't find on television these days with a sort of selfishness that you can really get behind. Larry David manages to highlight the important things in life, and this box set gives you 10 episodes of fun, a one-hour special, and an interview. Find out more in today's review!

--AP

I Think They Still Owe Me Twelve Grand
January 27 2004
Review: LEGO Bionicle Toa Vakama

With the new year came a whole new line of Bionicle toys, and today we look at the leader, Toa Vakama. The name should be familliar, as he was originally a smaller Turaga kit back in 2001. The upgraded kit is worth the extra bucks with enhanced posability and all-new parts, which you can see more of in today's review!

--AP

New Energon Image Leaked, See Next ToyFare For More

Despite their best efforts, an upcoming "secret" cover of ToyFare Magazine ended up leaking to the Web yesterday which revealed they're doing something that's been a long time coming, a huge guide to 1980s toys. On the cover were the new 12" Cobra Commander, the Skeletor statue... and Energon Shockwave. The toy appeared in robot mode with purple and green coloring and some very Veritech-ish head decorations. It is not known what it will turn into right now, but hey, that's why you need to pick up the next ToyFare magazine. It seems the image has been yanked from the Web as of this report, but you never know what remains in the dark corners of the Internet.

--AP

Tom Servo's Crystal Ball

Kevin Murphy of MST3K fame has put together predictions for movies in 2004 as part of the NPR Weekend Edition program. Be sure to check it out.

--AP, thanks to EK

DVD Due Today...

Coming today, or in many cases, yesterday since stores put them out early:
Comic Book: The Movie
Critc, The: Complete Series
Dilbert: Complete Series
Godzilla vs. Megaguirus
Godzilla, Mothra And King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack
Star Trek IV: The Undiscovered Country Collector's Edition

We spotted the two Godzilla flicks at local Suncoasts and Best Buy stores on Monday night, so we're glad to say there was no delay.

--AP

And in other news...

Remember Adaptation? The really good movie with Nicolas Cage?

They made cartoony statues of his two characters.

I'm of two minds. Mind one doesn't like toon maquettes or figures if they weren't meant to be that sort of thing in the first place. The fact that there's two versions of a cartoon asian porn star that looks neither asian nor like a porn star last month, I assumed this genre of collectible has pretty much peaked as far as oddities go. But I guess I was wrong.

But back to the two minds thing, mind #2 loves horrible movie merchandise. And this definitely appeals, as this movie really doesn't lend itself to licensed products, like When Harry Met Sally, Annie Hall, or the 2003 The Cat in the Hat.

--AP

Light Your Darkest Hour
January 28 2004
Found: Energon Deluxe Wave 2

Numerous sightings and a few eBay auctions have hinted at what we now know to be true. A Scottsdale area Wal-Mart yielded Prowl, Rodimus, and the G.I. Joe-flavored Snow Cat last night.

As no reviews of Snow Cat have yet hit the Web, we are going to pre-empt the Masters of the Universe Hot Wheels yet again for a Snow Cat review on Thursday. The toy has a surprising amount of detail and a piece that seems to be included for no reason other than for you to lose it. We like it. More tomorrow.

With these releases and other recent leaks and announcements, our semi-official Energon Checklist has been updated for your enjoyment and/or mirth.

--AP

Review: 12" Star Wars Garindan

Today at Galactic Hunter we look at the the first new creature from Mos Eisley as seen in Star Wars for quite some time. Garindan, while made from some existing parts and some new, comes together as a great and nicely sized action figure. While well worth buying, you can read all about him anyway in today's review!

--AP

Masters of the Clearance Bin

He-Man and the guardians of Eternia are having a bad week. Not only have they been all but cancelled, but now Kay-Bee toys has the action figures on clearance. Basic figures are under $5 each, Deluxe are under $6. The selection varies from store to store, but one local sighting yielded Whiplash, Flame Armor Skeletor, Man-E-Faces, Ice Armor He-Man, Two Bad, and a few others. (For the record, no Evil-Lyn, Buzz-Off, or our beloved Roboto, whom we have never seen.) Also available was the Toys "R" Us exclusive two-pack-with-video with the Wolf He-Man and Snake Skeletor, only $9.98.

As of now, we have yet to confirm that Snakemen figures will be included in these clearances, which are definitely new stock that the store did not have previously.

If you haven't signed it already, He-Man.Org is trying to rally fan support to show Mattel that the line is still popular despite low retailler interest. We wish you the best, folks, as we're big fans too!

--AP

More Armies Found

It appears the newest batches of of the Lord of the Rings Armies of Middle-Earth toys are making the rounds, starting with Suncoast Motion Picture Co. Friend of the site ZB has confirmed that the new assortments with Sauron and Isildur have hit stores, so keep your eyes peeled for the latest releases.

--AP, thanks to ZB

Ed Wood Leaked to FYE Stores, Possibly Elsewhere

Numerous copies of the just-cancelled two-disc set of Ed Wood are showing up on eBay and DVD forums since stores apparently decided to sell them. In the off chance you find one, or two, please buy an extra and let us know. (We'd appreciate it.) Stores are asking roughly $29.99 if they have them. The disc was originally set to street next Tuesday.

Just so we can say that again... it appeard Ed Wood leaked and we need help finding a copy. And best of luck to you in finding one if you too have been wanting to see this flick for some time now.

--AP

And in other news...

Like those marshmallowy Peeps candy things? Well, now you can make your own. The Raving Toy Maniac posted this release with some photos showing you the new DIY Peeps kit, called the Marshmallow Peeps Marshmallow Maker from Wham-O. Can you believe it? Should you? Sure, why not?

On Monday, Homestar Runner added a new Strong Bad Email complete with a hidden movie involving the puppets. Be sure to check it out.

Late on Tuesday, The Onion updated with several great new features and an all-new AV Club section, so be sure to check those out too.

--AP

They Got G.I. Joe in my TransFormers!
January 29 2004
Review: TransFormers Energon Snow Cat; More News

Helping to fill out the thin Decepticon ranks in Energon is Snow Cat, a Wave 2 Deluxe figure that turns into a vehicle that should be familliar to G.I. Joe fans. Named after that Joe vehicle, he turns into a robot with a bit of a gut and a lot of detail, as well as some oddball colors. He has a robot mode, a vehicle mode, and a Hyper Mode for both, and you can see them all in today's review!

The first wave of Energon Deluxe toys (Starscream, Hot Shot, Inferno) are now shipping with Energon promo cards featuring a character biography in place of the statistics as seen in all the figures up to this point. It is assumed this is a temporary thing since wave two toys have the standard card design. But for you variant and card collectors, keep your eyes peeled.

Also, the infamous "Springer" helicopter prototype has been transformed at this thread at TFClub. It certainly doesn't look like Springer in his robot mode.

--AP

Secret of the Savage Swamp Available

Following the super-nifty "Secret of Planet Xenome" Adventure Team set, proving that Joe must keep a number of secrets, is this new "Crocodile Hunter" kit. For $29.99 or so, you get a big nifty reptile (aligator or crocodile, we're not sure) and a Steve Irwin-esque figure. It's available in a variety of human flavors as well as in female.

--AP

Save Masters Campaign

He-Man.Org has started a fairly wide reaching campaign to help Masters of the Universe avoid oblivion. They have a number of banners, much like this one.

It's climbed to a whopping 4,000 as of press time, which is really something as it was at 3,000 or so just 24 hours earlier. Sign if you're so inclined, as it is for a good cause. (I'm also a big fan of lost causes. And I like these figures... just not how they're sold as they're exceedingly hard to get.)

--AP

Kay-Bee Closure List

Rumor has it that the closing stores will be getting in lots of new product to blow out, but this isn't confirmed. What is confirmed is that this page has a complete list of store closures. Be sure to consult the list while planning toy runs.

--AP

F For Effort
January 30 2004
Review: 12" Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi (Tatooine Encounter)

Today at Galactic Hunter we look at the the third 12" version of Obi-Wan Kenobi to come from the original Star Wars movie. Obi-Wan Kenobi (Tatooine Encounter) is made of some old parts as well as some new, and the end result isn't exactly a step in the right direction. After all, he has no pants. To paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, "when defending the Universe, pants always beats no pants." I didn't find it to be worth buying, but you may not feel the same after reading today's review.

--AP

Found: Alternators Side Swipe; Energon Cartoon Stars Saturday

Last night at a local Target, we found a single sample of Alternators Side Swipe. Apparently "Swipe" is his last name. We snapped a couple of quick shots of Mr. Swipe, and here's how he looks in his little box. He costs $19.99.

Mr. Swipe is a less than impressive entity. While the car is nice, the transformation process is a gigantic hassle and the instructions skip several steps and it appears that the final step has him mistransformed. Hasbro, if you're out there, some quick advice: first, make sure the instructions show what to fold and when, not everybody buying these does it because they want a challenge. Second, start including directions of how to change them back into the vehicle mode, because there's so many twists and turns that mere mortals are going to have a horrible time with it.

Separately, the robot and car modes are nice. Trying to change from one to another is a daunting task as several pieces feel like they're about to snap off, thus proving that you just wasted twenty dollars real quick. All of this aside, the toy looks quite good in both modes and has a decent range of articulation that will probably please most collectors and their shelves.

Also, we're hearing numerous sightings of 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime showing up at Wal-Mart stores for roughly $64. Not a bad price, to be sure, and quite possibly the lowest I've heard it being.

Lastly, Cartoon Network is airing the first episode of TransFormers Energon on Saturday. Check your local listings for times and all that jazz.

--AP

12" B.A.T., Cobra Commander on eBay

eBay seller Mimidog4428 posted a lotof new items including these two nifty new 12" G.I. Joe Valor Vs. Venom 12-Inch Figures:
Cobra Commander
B.A.T. 2.3

While no exact release date is known, it's expected these two figures will show up in stores within a month or two and sell for about $14.99 each. Each one has unique and notable aspects, and the B.A.T. has an especially slick chainsaw arm as well as other interchangable weapons to replace the limb.

--AP

New Zoids Pictures at HobbyLink Japan

HobbyLink Japan added four previously unseen Zoids kits for pre-order on their Web store. They are as follows:
Zabinca
Para Blade
Waiz Wolf
Death Laser

Some of these are really neat, some not so much. Death Laser is a spiffy little dragon, and in one shot, Para Blade looks like a squirrel or chipmunk. All in all, a mixed bag, but worth checking out. But we should point out, that Death Laser has a much better name-- Death Laser.

--AP

New Adult Swim DVD Releases

TVShowsOnDVD.com posted bits from a chat with MC Chris, a.k.a. Chris Ward, on the future of Adult Swim's Williams Street programming on DVD. Apparently both Sealab 2021 compilation and a second Aqua Teen Hunger Force box set are in development for this Summer.

--AP

Bionicle Metru Nui Push Begins

Some Target stores are placing large signs for the new 2004 Bionicle product line in their construction toy aisles. The sign shows the same key art of the six Metru Nui Toa figures and reads "Metru Nui: City of Legends" or something to that effect. (We don't have a notepad yet, still, sadly.)

--AP

Update to Review: Master Piece Convoy

While transporting Takara's Master Piece Convoy from one shelf to another, we ran into a problem. A large patch of blue paint flaked off the back of the lower waist. As we haven't previously heard of paint flaking off of plastic parts of recent Japanese releases, we find it only fair to bring this to your attention so you're extra careful not to touch the painted pieces of this toy. The toy has received a minimal amount of handling, and at this time I'm trying to find options to cover up the small but very noticable hole in his "pants" where his "butt"is.

--AP

Snake Wheels
January 31 2004
New G.I. Joe Valor vs. Venom Value Pack at Target

Target has a brand new value pack for $9.99. Unlike previous value packs, which were usually two toys clamshell-packaged together, this is a new specially packaged item that actually looks pretty slick. It includes a Sand Viper, Recondo, and Wild Bill with a repainted Missile Storm Copter. For what you get, it's a neat deal, just not anything too exciting.

--AP

Snake Men Hot Wheels

Who says Masters of the Universe isn't seeing any new releases? Wal-Mart stores are receiving vehicle two-packs with two cars decorated in Snake Men deco. The set includes a new sticker, and it looks very similar to a YuGiOh set from the same or a similar assortment. The cost for the two-car pack is a little high, roughly $2.76. While this may not seem like much, keep in mind the cost for a single car hovers around $0.76-$0.99 at most stores.

Curious parties will be interested to know that as of press time, the petition at He-Man.org has topped 5,700 signatures. Impressive!

--AP

Allspark Interviews Brad Mick

The Allspark has posted an interview with writer Brad Mick. Mick is best known for his work on Dreamwave's Generation One comics from the TransFormers property. Why read this? Two words: Rodimus Prime.

--AP

Dr. Tongue's 3D House of DVD

SCTV fans take note: TVShowsOnDVD.com posted a blurb which may or may not be legit concerning the upcoming DVD release of SCTV. This April, apparently, will mark the premiere of the comedy show on everybody's favorite digital format.

--AP

And in other news...

After performing some minor repairs on our Convoy, we're looking for new items to review next week. While we have numerous TransFormers to look through, we're also looking at some new Bionicle items as well as some Zoids or perhaps even something else. Got a request? Let us know.

We're looking at Energon Rodimus pretty closely, though, as we're suckers for all things Hot Rod.

Also, if you haven't been checking it out, Action-Figure.com has been posting some pretty slick stuff from UK Toy Fair. Included are tidbits on toys from Shrek 2, Pixar's The Incredibles, 18" Lord of the Rings figures, and of course, much more.

--AP

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