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Jack Shot
July 1 2005
Cybertron Sighted; Magnificus gallery

First up, it appears Cybertron is making the rounds and at this point, if you hit a few Toys "R" Us stores, odds are you'll find a few toys. Between two stores last night, we found Vector Prime, Crumplezone, Landmine, Dirt Boss, Scourge, Jetfire, Overhaul, Ransack, and Scattorshot. (We only bought Overhaul and Scattorshot so far.) In brief: Overhaul is a nice little toy that manages to find a new way to transform the same old design. The robot mode is pretty blah but the little SUV is quite cool and fairly solid with freely rolling wheels. Scattorshot has a good robot mode, a lot of nice weapons, and a fairly iffy vehicle with wheels that don't quite roll so freely. The Ignition gimmicks are interesting-- the keys are tiny and activate features that could just be activated by a simple button. It's a neat idea, but nothing a Mini-Con couldn't do better. It's not a terrible idea, but we wouldn't shed a tear if we were told these little keys went away with the next series.

Each toy includes a poster instead of a catalog. On one side, a product line-up for about the first two full waves. On the other, a bunch of pictures and information about Planet Speed. These are a lot like the old Star Wars Planetary Maps from the Power of the Force days, which is a great design to emulate if you're going to build off a classic.

As the line goes along, we plan on trying to make some sort of quickie review database because it's painfully obvious that full reviews aren't going to be possible. (We're also going to go back and do it for other toy lines, like Energon, if it works.) So, this weekend's goal? Find a Hot Shot and an Optimus Prime.

The Burger King toys for Cybertron were revealed, and as expected, they ain't no Legends! This picture was posted through TFW2005, and we're on the fence. They look like they transform, and the set includes Optimus Prime, Red Alert, Megatron, and Jetfire. Color us surprised on Red Alert.

Finally, a really superb gallery of the e-HOBBY toys Magnificus and Ga'mede was posted here at Netboy.com.cn. Is it good? Yeah. We're impressed. Both the gallery and the toy are worth a look!

--AP

Advent: September 14

Word around the web is that the Japanese release of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children on DVD and PSP s UMD in Japan will be on our editor's birthday, September 14. So, get those import engines running. A US release date has yet to be confirmed.

--AP

Hyper Goldfish, Blast Off!
July 4 2005
Star Wars Q&A Updated at Galactic Hunter

Galactic Hunter has posted a Q&A column by yours truly. We look at questions from as far back as last week-- because things were working properly. Some good ones this week, so read on, true believers!

--AP

More Cybertron Sighted, TV Show Aired

In case you care, some quick opinions on Cybertron toys.

Optimus Prime: Wow. Removable Matrix, but no batteries included. Lots of parts, good transformation, and it feels solid. It feels like a much stronger design than what was given for Optimus during Energon and Armada, with a good super mode and enough articulation that odds are few fans will be left wanting a newer, better version. If you have $40 around and/or are a sucker for Optimus toys, you'll probably like this one. It's about on par with the Car Robots/Robots in Disguise one.

Landmine: Again, wow. Initially passed on this one, but the toy has a lot of great gimmicks, lots of moving parts, and is nicely sculpted. Even though it looks like one of the Playskool toys. Snag it, it's just a superbly spiffy little toy.

Hot Shot: It's big and has a great design, a wonderful transformation, and a lot of good bits here and there. The downside is that the key feature doesn't work quite right on a lot of them, we're hearing-- ours has a problem having the "wings" snap back into the body, which is a real bummer when you should just be able to push them in and they stay. It looks great though and feels like a better toy for the money than most... if the gimmick works. Even if you hate Hot Shot as a character or as a concept, it's a good toy. Were it not for the wing click issue, this may be one of my favorite transforming car toys of all time.

Scourge: Oooh, pretty. Three electronic sounds: G1 transformation, a really great roar, and a fire blast noise. And the head lights up, too. The toy has a good (not great) dragon mode and a good (again, not great) robot mode. The axe weapon is OK, nothing fancy. As I am a shameless fan of things with the G1 transforming sound, I very much like this toy, even at $30.

On Saturday, the "first" (fourth) episode of Cybertron aired on Cartoon Network and it was, to say the least, interesting. It seems the mouths of all Transformers have two frames of animation tops. Vector Prime is voiced by the same guy that did Rhinox. One cybertronian turns into a street light. The show was filled with awesome concepts and excellent elements, but a) most of them were not set up because three episodes of the show were skipped and b) obviously, as an anime series dubbed for 4-11 year old boys in the USA, I'm going to find many faults with it. While Energon started off very strong and finished very weak, Cybertron may be starting as a weak-ish series much like Armada that develops into something far more entertaining. Again, I know I'm talking about a show aimed for small children here. The toys are for small children too. So sue me, I like them.

Finally, new photos of a "Cybertron" Optimus Prime & Ultra Magnus set are floating around. These are basically just tweaked versions of the Robots in Disguise releases. While these are fine toys, we're a little shocked to not see them repainted. Also making the rounds is a Overhaul repaint which, despite the description, is not a Galaxy Force exclusive. Trust us.

--AP

G.I. Joe: Clearanced

It seems Target is blowing out all their Joes at about 30% off each. In addition to these, numerous Energon and Playmobil toys are seeing a markdown as well-- ditto with some Star Wars. Happy hunting!

--AP

Don't make me
July 5 2005
Transformers the Movie for PSP in UK?

Looks like it. A few sources have listed the original Transformers movie as coming out in the UK this September. Take a look at this listing on Play.com, a UK media site. The unfortunate thing for you is that, most likely, you are not a UK resident, and we were informed that PSP UMD movies are locked out by region. As such, you're somewhat screwed if you live outside England, but it might mean that it's coming out in other markets too-- stay tuned!

--AP

Bionicle Toothbrushes

A few days ago, Mask of Destiny updated with some images of Colgate Vahki toothbrushes from Colgate. It appears they include the little disks included with some of the Bionicle kits-- interesting, no? Do go take a look.

--AP

Game Stuff

Slow news day, but we did find some things of interest that may be news to you. For starters, Nintendo DS is getting a Lunar game-- Lunar Dragon Song. The Magic Box posted a number of screens and some brief information and we must say it does look interesting-- how will it play? We have no idea. But it's pretty.

Gamespot has a story on the PS3, and how it likely won't be bundled with a hard drive. Given speculation of the cost of the unit to manufacture, this makes sense-- but given the price of the console, this may leave some fans unhappy. Unhappy, but undoubtedly still eager to buy.

--AP

Rated PG-13
July 6 2005
Megaloconvoy: September

According to Fan2Fan, it seems Galaxy Force Megaloconvoy, supposedly Cybertron's Metroplex, will be hitting toy shops in Japan come September. The rumor is it will be a "Leader Class" ($40) toy with a Mini-Con partner that's a repainted Armada Leader-1 revised version of Leader-1, but with several new pieces and a new head. But, of course, all things are subject to change, although we do seem to see this as being fairly accurate information.

--AP

Bionicle Clearances

Some, but not all, Target and Toys "R" Us stores are marking down various Bionicle sets. Prices vary but the markdowns typically orbit about 30%. So far, we've noticed the Toa Metru kits from 2004, and the Vahki kits. Clearance selection seems to vary widely from store to store, so be sure to scan things when you're on your toy runs.

--AP

'05 Convention Toy Reviews

The guys (guy) over at General's Joes posted a big giant review of the 2005 3 3/4-inch G.I. Joe Convention items. On the whole, it seems that the figures turned out well and the vehicle quality control was lax-- be sure to check out all the pictures and in-depth analysis. There's a lot going on in this year's set, and it seems like an amazing collection for fans of the Steel Brigade and Iron Grenadiers!

--AP

Playmobil Clearances

With the seasonal reset approaching, Target has marked down some Playmobil sets at some stores. It seems the sets and stores vary once again, but it seems everything from the Playmobil Pals to the larger kits are on markdown-- not everything, of course, and not at every store. Seeing as how you can get sets as low as $1.30, it's probably worth a look if you're in the market for some cheap Playmobil goodness.

--AP

Blonde & Stupid
July 7 2005
Star Wars Q&A Updated at Galactic Hunter

Galactic Hunter has posted a Q&A column by yours truly. We look at questions from as far back as last week-- because things were working properly. Some good ones this week, so read on, true believers!

--AP

More Cybertron In Package, Takara Galaxy Force

Over at TFW2005, you can see packaged shots of Cybertron Undermine, Breakdown, and Armorhide. These are Wave 3 Scout figures.

Numerous outlets are reprinting Diamond's press release-- they'll be showcasing a new Hasbro Transformers toy in their booth at San Diego Comic Con. Before you get all excited, remember this: they made a big fuss over having a big announcement for Revenge of the Sith toys. For the record, it was that they would be selling the first wave in solid-packed cases with no duplicates. To further the record, this is how everybody got their figures-- Hasbro was doing solid packs for everybody for those first 24 figures. So, I wouldn't get my hopes up, but hey, if they show something awesome, kudos to them on an awesome exclusive. No matter what, they're great showmen!

Also, if you haven't seen it before, go check out Takara's Galaxy Force site for a preview of several items being released in Cybertron. Click on the Autobot or Decepticon heads to see the various toys, and try clicking around for a demonstration of action features and, to some extent, sounds. There are several new toys shown here, so be sure to check it out-- it's like a sneak preview of what a better Hasbro Cybertron site would be like.

--AP

Charlie & the Chocolate Factory Toys

In a bit of a total shock, we saw last night a new series of action figures based on Tim Burton's new version of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. We saw some of the kids and a couple of Willy Wonkas, and the likenesses on the whole seemed to be good. No Oompas were present despite appearing on the cardback.

We saw these at one of two Toys "R" Us stores we hit here in Los Angeles, so happy hunting in your neck of the woods! This may be a tougher to find line, but who knows-- we aren't experts on Funrise-produced figure offerings.

--AP

Vanguard Awesome
July 8 2005
More Cybertron at Hasbro.com, no Cybertron Face Lift

Bios, photos, and other goodness were posted for a few more Wave 2 Cybertron toys at Hasbro's own Transformers site today. They are:
Override
Red Alert
Recon Mini-Con Team
Clocker
Hardtop

Also, some images of a prototype of the US version of Chromia (name TBD) appeared at TFormers. Do check it out. Also check out a great review of and touch-up of the US version of Vector Prime at one of the best Transformers sites out there, at Dave's Transformers Page. Some good shots to be seen here.

Finally, fans of Alternators and BinalTech should check this thread out-- it has links to 4 upcoming toys, all with solicitation photos. Black and white ones. That are small. But you get to see Skids, Alert, Sunstreaker, and Broadblaster-- some of which are likely coming out as Alternators, but the bonus figures with some of these cars seem like a sensible exclusive to Japan, but who knows for sure these days?

--AP

Neon Genesis Microman

The license that refuses to die, Neon Genesis Evangelion, has expanded into action figure territory. After numerous collections of collector figures of Rei Ayanami and Asuka Langley-- who have been made to wear cat outfits, Santa outfits, and something called a Lolita Goth outfit-- Takara picked up the license and is translating the two Japanese underage robo pilot babes to their Microman line. That's right-- superposable fun! We expect these to be fairly huge, and are currently looking for photos. And solicitation info so we can sell 'em at work.

--AP

Meet the Beatles Beetles

Ever heard of Mushi King? Neither have we. Apparently it's a license that Sega has in Japan that allows them to make weird plush beetles with some sort of metal skeleton. NCS has images and a preorder page up, and while we don't expect any of our dear readers to bite, they're too weird to not share.

--AP

Evil Evil Twin
July 11 2005
Star Wars Q&A Updated at Galactic Hunter

Galactic Hunter has posted a Q&A column by yours truly. Due to Comic-Con International in San Diego, this is the only Q&A we're posting this week. We'll be back next week with, we presume, two more.

--AP

Alternators Sunstreaker & Universe Basics & Cybertron 2 Scouts & Primus & Other Crap

Over the weekend, Transformers.com was given a tremendous face lift and the end result is actually a pretty good web site with dozens of hidden things you can find if you play around. Not only are great little trivia bits there to be unlocked (Overhaul was originally going to be named Trailbreaker, so he could upgrade to Leobreaker) but there's new pages if you type in the right name. Like Wreckloose.

Surely you saw this one coming. Late last week, an auction surfaced showing what appears to be the first shot of the upcoming and as-of-yet unofficial Sunstreaker from Transformers Alternators. Some of you may remember a Dodge Viper prototype a couple of years back with sculpted Autobot logos that we all assumed to be the basis for Sunstreaker. Well, this is basically a repaint of Dead End, so it seems the mold with the actually sculpted Autobot logo will never be used. Bummer. Some of you may be left asking, "Is it real?" Well, what do you think?

Also, my employer (actually, I went ahead and) added Transformers Universe Basic Figures Wave 1. Remember the weird packaged Arcee the other week? These are those. The case has two of each figure, and the set supposedly has Energon Strongarm, Arcee, Insecticon, Windrazor, Perceptor, and Doomlock-- all from Energon molds. We even got images which we have yet to post, and here's where things get tricky. For example: the image of Strongarm from Hasbro is the first release, the brown one. The packaged image we saw leaked from Hong Kong is blue, the upgrade. This could be a matter of confusion. Also, the image of Insecticon is the same one that appeared on the cardback of the original toy-- in other words, it doesn't match the released figure and is actually the unreleased "Energon Insecticon." We have no way of knowing what these will look like until all the packaged samples show, but there's a glimmer of hope for slightly different paint jobs here. These items are a "dollar store" channel item, but I went ahead and asked and there they are. They're also quite cheap for what they are-- so if such things interest you, do check it out.

A CG rendering of a character some have dubbed Primus surfaced over the weekend and was pretty much immediately yanked everywhere. While nothing official has been said about any hypothetical Primus toys, fans on the message boards have decided that this is the character Diamond will be announcing at their booth in San Diego this week. We have no further information, but it'd sure be a coup to have an announcement like that! Here's hoping.

Finally, we're hearing some Wal-Marts skipped the first wave of Cybertron Scout figures and moved on to wave 2, which includes all six of the toys at 2 per case. In addition to the first three, the box includes Clocker, the Mini-Con Recon team, and Hardtop. In addition to these items (which we have NOT personally seen), we've also sighted Optimus Prime, Starscream, Megatron, and Jetfire at Wal-Marts. As expected, Jetfire is about $26.50, slightly cheaper than Toys "R" Us' $29.99. Starscream is $48 and change while the leaders are mere pennies cheaper than other stores.

--AP

Comic Packs #74, #76 Released

It appears Hasbro has started to ship their Comic Pack figures for their new direct line, and General's Joes has reviews of both new packs, #74 and #76! More are coming soon, of course, but this is indeed happy news for fans of a line that many feared to have been axed.

--AP

SOTA Shocker

SOTA has managed to get a number of diverse licenses, but their latest has us scratching our heads, and happy. American music icon Johnny Cash, often thought to be the only country musician with any sort of rock snob cred, has been announced and pictures are up at Action-Figure. It's nice to see someone other than McFarlane and a company that does collector plates try and make some nifty music collectibles, and we hope someone decides to license other great musicians. We of course speak of Man or Astro-Man?, Devo, Frank Zappa, and of course, Devo. And if there's time... Devo.

--AP

Uncharismatic Bore
July 12 2005
Soundwave Superior, Constructicons Inferior

Over the weekend, TFormers.com posted a CG rendering of the Galaxy Force (and presumably Cybertron) Soundwave! You can see him in both modes and while G1 fanboys may have trouble with the updated stealth bomber altmode, he still has a little partner and the robot is very similar to the original robot design. Soundwave was our first TF growing up so we're quite pleased to see his familiar face again, and you probably will be as well-- regardless of the final toy's appearance, we fully plan on picking this one up next year.

Most of the very well known Generation One characters have been brought back to market in some form or another in the Beast era or beyond, except for a reasonable update of good ol' Soundwave. So we're quite pleased to see him, and at this point, what's left to update? Aside from a decent T-Rex Grimlock, that is?

Also, the web has been lighting up with rumors surrounding a merger between Transformers and Star Wars. Could it be true? Will it have anything to do with the Cybertronian robots other than the brand name, or will it be another Animorphs? Only their stylists know for sure, and from the sound of things, you'll possibly know this week.

One last fun rumor going around today is that Hasbro is going to have something neat to give away at Comic-Con International at San Diego this week. They usually have postcards and posters, and even a mini-comic and a game demo. So what's it gonna be this year? We don't know, but we're crossing our fingers for something plastic for once.

--AP

Bill & Ted's Box Set

MGM's reissue of two old discs with a new disc of bonus content streets today. Bill & Ted's Most Excellent Collection Box Set seems to be streeting for just over $20, and includes the two previously released movie discs and new documentaries (devoid of Keanu), an episode of the cartoon (where they go to China), and lots of other stuff. Were we not insanely busy this week we'd buy this before the festivities begin.

--AP

He-Man DVD Today!

He-Fans are in for a treat-- the very first Masters of the Universe DVD hits stores in the USA today! It features 10 episodes of the show and a ton of extras, many of which are apparently exclusive to this set-- which is a best-of. Season boxes are coming later, we're happy to hear, but it sounds like there might be enough good stuff on this one to warrant the purchase as it's relatively cheap. (A look at DVD Price Search revealed prices as low as $12-- which is a steal.)

--AP

Rumor Mill

This week (and last) we've heard lots of interesting rumors on Transformers and Star Wars (alone and as a group), on Xevoz, on new retro Transformers, and a lot more. With hundreds upon hundreds of concepts being considered every day, obviously, it's a safe bet every tidbit you hear has at least an ounce of truth to it, well, if you knew how many toy concepts get fairly far along before getting axed you'd be quite depressed. (We know very few of them, and some of them very much depress us and we hope they get axed.) With Primus and Soundwave being revealed alongside tidbits and rumors on all sorts of things, it could be a really great week! Or it could be a big heaping mouthfull of jack squat. Stay tuned! We're going to try our best to update you as we go along.

--AP

Home Again
July 19 2005
Star Wars Q&A Updated at Galactic Hunter

Galactic Hunter has posted a Q&A column by yours truly. We look at Droids, clones, etc. etc. Another update this week is still TBD given time, etc.

--AP

Transformers: San Diego Wrap-Up

If you missed San Diego's Hasbro unveiling, you missed the confirmation that pretty much every Japanese Galaxy Force toy is coming to Cybertron, including the Mini-Cons and the four Armada remolds. Not a lot of new stuff was shown, but there were cheap deals abound and an exclusive free Skywarp just for visiting Hasbro's booth, complete with Cyber Planet Key. Nice.

New-- and by new I mean totally new-- were the confirmation of Mini-Con two-packs in the Cybertron line. While starting out as recolors, these will eventually lead to new molds, or so says Hasbro's Q&A panel. They also confirmed a red repaint of Hot Shot, which we more or less knew from eBay.

Repaints a-plenty in Japan. A mail-in offer for a black, green, and purple repaint of Nitro Convoy is coming and will most likely cost you about $50. Toys "R" Us is getting a "Scourge/Nemesis Prime" style redeco of Liger Jack (US name Leobreaker) which is especially cool given the toy can connect to Megatron as well as Optimus Prime. (We're interested in this one.) Also coming as a Lucky Draw, Flame Convoy (Scourge) renamed and recolored as Skylynx. Cute.

Hasbro refused to confirm or deny the report of Star Wars themed Transformers, but they flat out rejected the notion that G.I. Joe/Transformers toys were coming. Take that as you will.

There were clips shown from the movie-- early concepts and animatics. These showed very preliminary concepts, even revealing Soundwave to have been a Helicopter at one point. (Numerous postings by the producer seem to indicate that he is no longer an airborne vehicle.) It looked rough, but as it was nearly a conceptual thing, there's really nothing you can say about it other than "neat." Also shown was a giant "Optimus Prime" truck covered in a tarp with Elita-1 mudflaps and a stolen license plate, as well as some freebie buttons which we sadly missed. Although we did get extra Skywarps for a pal and a stranger.

For the curious, the Diamond "unveilings" included the first US showings of three toys-- Galvatron (Cybertron), Evac (Cybertron), and Sunstreaker (Alternators). While many speculated it would be Primus or Soundwave, those toys are due out many, many months in the future-- if at all. So maybe BotCon for those ones.

--AP

Comic-Con Joe Coverage

If you weren't there, be sure to check out Altered States Magazine and their coverage of G.I. Joe at the show-- lots of images! We asked about upcoming product and it seems the new direct to consumer line will be lasting for 3 or 4 series minimum, and at that point, the line will be reevaluated for wider launch or more of the same. Until then, though, there won't be any more exclusives beyond what's already on the way to Toys "R" Us and conventions! We're totally digging that new H.I.S.S., even if we could do without the bundled Night Creeper-- it's all shaping up to look like a great year for Joe, no matter what you like! As long as it isn't 12-inch.

--AP

Xevoz No-Show

For those wishing Hasbro would show Xevoz at this year's Comic-Con, it turns out they're out of luck. While a number of items were shown and sold from Transformers, G.I. Joe, Mushi King, My Little Pony, B-Daman, Blythe, and a few other odds and ends, Xevoz and Zoids are still nowhere to be seen, unfortunately.

--AP

Soundwave Superior, Terrashave Inferior
July 20 2005
Transformers: Japanese Fun

First look at Soundwave from Galaxy Force in toy form! This is one of many new items featured at Fan2Fan from last weekend's Character Festival, we think. Not so sure of the translations. But hey, it's new photos, and worth seeing-- even final-er versions of Thundercracker and Skywarp from Robot Masters were shown, and they look MUCH better than previous images.

We also got a Japanese Galaxy Force Terrashaver over the weekend for a mere $8. And we think we got taken-- it ain't all that great. Stay away from the transforming pterosaur unless you've got money to burn.

--AP

Masters of the Universe Wave 3 Statues

He-Man.org added some shots of the third wave of He-Man statues, including the Sorceress, Tung Lashor, and Mantenna. We saw some of these in San Diego and they look most excellent-- the worst thing about this line is the reminder that they aren't being made as proper action figures.

--AP

Arrested Development Season 2 DVDs

The Digital Bits posted several new release dates for all sorts of things, but the one that totally surprised us was season two of Arrested Development-- October 11, for those who were curious. We're excited.

--AP

The Eliminations Continue
July 21 2005
Transformers: Blaster Alternators, Dark Fangwolf

Popularity strikes Fan2Fan again-- they got hit with a lot of traffic, but they supposedly have shots up for Dark Fangwolf from Galaxy Force and BinalTech BroadBlast, which could very well end up as Alternators Blaster. Maybe. Check out the link, and maybe you'll be lucky enough to actually see it.

--AP

GTA: San Andreas Slapped with AO

GameSpot posted a story on the recent "Hot Coffee" controversy-- namely, that the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas had some hidden sexual content accessed only through a hack. Previously rated M, this basically means that the new AO rating will result in the game not being carried by most stores. It also probably means the game will see a spike in sales with all the publicity, which, for a slightly older game like this one, is probably a very good thing for the bottom line.

--AP

Battlestar Galactica DVD Warning/Guarantee

TVShowsOnDVD.com posted some surprise news on the popular sci-fi series. As many of you know, Best Buy stores in the USA will be getting an exclusive window to carry it exclusively before it's released widely. What you may not know is that Best Buy's set has four discs, and the wide release will have five. The extra disc features the 2003 mini-series and more-- read the article for the full story.

--AP

LEGO Factory Sets

LEGO introduced a whole new scale, the first sets of which are up for preorder. The new Factory brand includes sets-- mostly "Town" theme ones-- in a scale much smaller than the one compatible with LEGO mini-figures, but they still look pretty great. Currently available: Amusement Park, City Skyline, Airport.

--AP

TMNT: Movie, Movie Figures

The guys at Action-Figure.com posted a press release confirming a new CGI animated movie for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as well as a toy license-- and Playmates Toys scored it once again, proving that there is such a thing as loyalty in show business. ETA? 2007.

--AP

I Felt Disrespected
July 22 2005
Transformers: Swerve Alternator Found, Fangwolf

If you haven't yet heard, a huge rash of sightings of Swerve hit California this week, and even we were lucky in this tidal wave of red redecoes. We spotted ours at a Los Angeles Toys "R" Us, so happy hunting-- he's out there, and we hear Decepticharge should be doing the same thing shortly.

Also, we opened up our Fangwolf (Snarl in the USA) from Galaxy Force (Cybertron). Neat toy, but the robot's facial details are hard to see due to the plastic color. Articulation is a little weak, but it has a nice sculpt and a super-fun key feature that really seems to work well with his snarling face. We're going to be looking in to importing the Toy's Dream Project black version of him... and probably Liger Jack. And probably Nitro Convoy. Because we we went black and apparently, cannot go back. We wish we had more ball joints, but it's a lot like Wolfang (wow, I just realized the name thing) and other toys based on that mold like K-9 in the USA and the Japanese Beast Wars II Max B.

Finally, the nifty repaint of Buzzclaw for the upcoming Botcon has been posted. Click here to see it at the Fan Club site. I dig it-- then again, I was a big fan of the mold in the original Fuzors line. If it's the sign of things to come, it may be a good year. Although it's hard to see the faction logo, if one exists.

--AP

Stikfas at Tower Records

A toy run this week revealed to us that at least one brick-and-mortar chain will be stocking Stikfas-- Tower Records! The prices are comparable to those of Entertainment Earth and Big Bad Toy Store, but the selection, well, not so much. It's nice to have another option, though!

--AP

New Microman, Street Fighter Microman Cheap

The guys at Microforever added a ton of new preview figures from Microman proper and a bunch of licensed properties. There's some octopus thing that may remind fans of another faux Microman release, the Beast Wars II Tako (Octopus) Tank. We plan on getting one.

Also at Tower Records: Street Fighter Microman, $10.99 a whack. You can get super-posable figures of Chun Li or Sakura with a great base which allows for a number of combat positions. It's a great start-- we'd now like to see Blanka and, if the license covers other 2D Capcom fighters, Morrigan.

--AP

Gimme Some Sugar, Baby
July 25 2005
Star Wars Q&A Updated at Galactic Hunter

Galactic Hunter has posted a Q&A column by yours truly. We look at all sorts of crap.

We also started on next week's, and it seems you guys really freaking love Clone Troopers. Oh, and as an added bonus, we're doing Commander Bacara in our review deal later this week, it's already done so you can pretty much bank on seeing it.

--AP

Transformers: Hardtop Found

Last weekend we spotted the entire Cybertron Wave 2 Scout assortment at Wal-Mart. I believe the only other stores to have (or have had) them are currently Entertainment Earth and possibly Big Bad Toy Store. Hardtop is hardcore-- a nice, chunky, posable toy that at first glance may remind you of the first Botcon exclusive, the G2 Brakedown. This toy is apparently excluded from the Japanese Galaxy Force line but will be imported in limited numbers as part of Toy's Dream Project.

The Mini-Con Recon Team is excellent-- we bought the Japanese Galaxy Force set ($4 at Comic-Con) and find these to be some of the best Mini-Cons yet-- bring on the repaints, Hasbro! The articulation and sculpting is excellent and the facial details are quite good. And we love the "helmeted" Jolt helicopter robot. Also released (and we also got the GF version for $4) is Clocker, and we were more enthusiastic about it before purchase. It's a little wonky, but neat enough if you really like how it looks. Of this wave, we consider the Mini-Con team a must buy (as in, if you don't have ANY TFs, buy this, it's cool), Hardtop's a good bet (if you like TFs, especially garish ones, you'll love it), and we put Clocker in the "if you got seven bucks to blow" pile. There's a lot of "not bad, but not great either" toys in this line.

Wave 3 of the Scout Assortment will include Armorhide (Cybertron exclusive mold), Undermine (Galaxy Force Dino Shout), and Brakedown (Galaxy Force Autolander). Which we don't have, have and are OK with, and have and aren't sure about yet.

--AP

Q&A with Bruce Campbell

Our main man and current Phoenix-based reporter Pete Soards recently attended a big Q&A event with Bruce Campbell in which he mocked the audience, referenced Jason vs. Freddy vs. Ash, and promoted the upcoming and heavily merchandised The Man with the Screaming Brain. Naturally, we asked him to write about it-- and he did.

Read on for the full story!

--AP

G.I. Joe Moray Available

Proving they really know how to get the most out of an old mold, Hasbro just released a brand new Moray to Toys "R" Us. For $34.99, you get a giant floating boat, and two figures from a previously released Night Force set. (They're cool.) It's a good set and the third versions of this vehicle in less than two years, which is pretty impressive. The new deco is mostly dark green and black, a stark contrast to the recent convention exclusive Tiger Force version and bright blue Cobra version.

--AP

Someone left the fence on in the rain
July 26 2005
LEGO: Dino Attack

Apparently, we missed the memo. LEGO's newest theme is Dino Attack, and it includes a number of electronic dinosaurs with try-me packaging in an effort to compete with the cheaper and often niftier Mega Blocks lines of construction toys. Each set includes various modern day vehicles and/or peoples alongside some form of mutant lizard or dinosaur. The sets, like most LEGO theme sets, run from $5 on to about $70, and we spotted these at two different LA area Toys "R" Us stores yesterday evening.

Pictures available at the LEGO Shop online.

If the dinosaur theme sounds familiar, that's good-- there was a Dino Tracker line a few years ago that was based around the Adventurer's theme, which itself was based in the early 20th Century. There was also a Dinosaurs line which came in either boxes or pseudo-coal canister packaging which was also quite short-lived. Also, Playmobil has a line of Dinosaur toys going on clearance at Target this week. Could this be the end of dinosaur themed toys for this season? We doubt it.

--AP

24 Figures... in Japan

Fox' hit show 24 is so popular, who isn't watching? Well, we aren't. But in case you watch, you may be interested in knowing that Japanese high-end toymaker Medicom is releasing (and NCS has a preorder for) Jack Bauer with a good likeness, a cloth outfit, and in a 1/6 scale. And since it's Medicom, NCS is asking $178, which is about normal. It's nifty if you're in to such things. No American figures are known to us at this time.

--AP

GameBoy Micro Japan Launch Details

The Magic Box spilled the beans on the GBA SP replacement. It's due in Japan on September 13, along with four new game titles-- one of which, wisely, is a new production run of the original Famicom/NES Super Mario Bros. For the full scoop, read the story. No prices were listed.

--AP

New Mass Market Playmobil

The mass market line of Target Playmobil just went on clearance, which means it's time for some new toys to replace the old. Last night, we spotted two new items for $3.99 each. One was a purple Barbarian on a horse. The other, a pink Princess on a (and this is what the box said) Magical Unicorn. Obviously, these are not meant to appeal to your wallet's sense of irony, but odds are new releases are coming any week now that will. So be patient.

--AP

Marvel Super Hero Showdown Available

The new Toy Biz line that's a hybrid of Hasbro's Attacktix concept and its own Marvel Legends figures is out now. We were initially excited by the idea, but were left cold by the price and quality of the first product we saw, the two figure starter set. For $14.99, almost the price of two full-sized Legends figures, you get a 4-inch scale Spider-Man and The Thing, both with firing weapons, game rules, and exquisite articulation and sculpting. The problem is the first two we looked at were "broken" in the package-- the ball jointed arms popped off of Spidey, and as such, it didn't seem worth the price Toys "R" Us was asking. As such, pass.

--AP

Transformers Cybertron Primus

While apparently people consider linking to certain new toy images a crime done by people who would also club a baby seal, well, we don't share the opinion. The planet Cybertron, and the namesake of the series, is getting its own toy-- but you probably knew that. What you may not have known was that the Fan Club revealed the first shots of the actual toy in the fan club magazine, and Seibertron posted scans. Taboo, maybe. But you wanted to see it, too. It looks like the planet is more of a full sphere, unlike Unicron, and seems to have spike-like skyscrapers and a general "golly gee wow" factor about it despite not looking like some previously seen artistic renditions. It's still cool, though, and will most likely be a $50 toy released in 2006.

--AP

Lard Ass
July 27 2005
Alien vs. Predator Figures... With Pot Bellies

Quite possibly the most fertile candidate for odd toys since Star Wars, Alien vs. Predator has been a popular favorite with fans in the USA and Japan for years. NCS strikes again with preorders (and nice big images) of some large and truly odd looking Good Smile Company Alien & Predator Figures. These seem to have an excellent level of detail, short legs, and some sort of beer guts. They're about 8 2/3-inches tall and $50 a whack, but odds are you'd rather see the pictures than make a purchase.

--AP

Sony PSP Video On Demand

GameSpot has an interesting story on the new video-on-demand service for the PSP in Japan. Currently not planned for the USA, the gimmick here is free, downloadable trailers, TV pilots, and other forms of entertainment-- which will undoubtedly get people used to the format before they start charging. Will it come to the USA? Who knows. But it's an interesting read.

--AP

More Sigma Six Shots

Love it or hate it, Sigma Six is turning into an incredible new line of toys. Sure, they aren't 3 3/4-inch figures, but they keep the characters and are doing some nifty things. How nifty? Well, if you haven't seen it, go to Ring of Collectors for some shots I haven't seen before, including Cobra Commander with and without his battle helmet. (Without, he's got a hood on.) There are other figures on display as well, so be sure to take a look at those.

--AP

Transformers News A-Plenty

Cybertron: Various sites are reporting that Override (Nitro Convoy) and Red Alert (Fast/First Aid) are hitting, sorta. So keep an eye out for those. Also, TFKenkon added a Gallery of Armorhide, one of a few US-only molds in the new line. It looks great and should be hitting the USA in a few weeks, or so we hear.

Comics Post-Mortem: Over at Newsarama is a Great Big Story about the fall of Dreamwave through the eyes of Adam Patyk and James McDonough. There's a lot of interesting factoids and a cautionary tale for those of us who accept "your check is coming later" as being a normal part of the job. The moral of the story: no pay, no work. Read it, it's full of good information.

2007 Movie: After some nasty reporting boo-boos, Don Murphy made a posting on his board that, as producer, he will no longer post about the upcoming Dreamworks Transformers movie project. It's a shame, but it seems that every non-toy Transformers project seems to carry some sort of terrible curse these days.

--AP

I Think I'm A Clone Now
July 28 2005
Review: Revenge of the Sith Commander Bacara

Because it's been a while, we actually did some of what we meant to do today and penned a review! Over at Galactic Hunter, we posted a look at Commander Bacara, the Clone Commander responsible for blasting Ki-Adi-Mundi to tiny little pieces. Is he worth it? And why does he look familiar? Find out in today's review!

--AP

Tim Burton Batman, Charlie DVDs

The Digital Bits' Rumor Mill has a little feature on as of yet unconfirmed news. It seems all four Batman films are to receive two-disc special editions this Fall, and there's some preliminary information on the DVDs for Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, which we saw last night and very much enjoyed.

--AP

Fine Line between Stupid and Clever
July 29 2005
First Buzzclaw, now Fallback

This year's big mondo gift set for BotCon is going to be a big set of seven unique Transformers from several eras of the toy line. While several of them are repaints, we're told there will be new molds in there... somewhere... eventually. For now, though, they're previewing new repaints on a weekly basis and the second went up yesterday. The newest addition is Fallback, who appears to be a repaint of Energon Strongarm (the blue one, he has a different head) but don't quote us on that just yet. He has this amazingly gorgeous bright blue energon axe and energon chip, and just plain ol' looks wonderful. The first repaint kept its original name, and it's Buzzclaw, a fantastic toy from Fuzors that never really got any respect and could be had as low as $0.67 if you timed it right. (We did, for the record.)

--AP

Arrested Development DVD Packaging, The Jerk SE

TVShowsOnDVD.com posted the orange cover art for the second season of Arrested Development, which we still believe to be the finest show on network television.

Released this week, but passing under our radar, is a 26th (yes, 26th) anniversary edition DVD of Steve Martin's The Jerk with a widescreen print, a new transfer, and minimal extras. It can be had for about $15 at Best Buy and similar stores, so if you want it, keep in mind that some of the sales on this new release may end on Saturday night.

--AP

Dead or Alive 4 Images

Surely you know only of these characters for their extreme beach volleyball antics, or possibly their licensed, talking figural alarm clocks. Team Ninja has more games with these characters in the works for Xbox 360, and naturally, that means that someone posted photos, in this case the wonderful folks at The Magic Box. Photorealism does not seem to be the goal of the developers this time, but the unique style and amazing textures come out as looking top-notch in the tiny screens, so one can hope the final game will be something of demo-level quality.

Fans of Lord of the Rings may be interested in the photos and news on the PSP game The Lord of the Rings Tactics, also previewed at the Magic Box. It's an EA game, and it's apparently multiplayer. Interesting.

Also shown were images of the Nintendo DS game Sonic Rush, which we have to admit looks intriguing. At least Sega has the good sense to realize the potential of 2D games in a 3D world these days.

--AP

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