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September 27, 2003

Nofka: Rare, VHTF Converters Maladroid Mercenary

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rumble Crew @ 5:00 pm

Recently, I had the good fortune to view one of the truly great Japanese toys of this, or any, era:Nofka, the well-known Maladroid mercenary.

Nofka’s design is completely original, a singularly innovative idea even in a toy line as highly regarded as the Convertors.In its eponymous Space Ship configuration, Nofka exhibits an elegant balance between the gritty functionality of a battleship and futuristic aerospace aesthetics.

Yet as imposing as the Space Ship is, Nofka’s brilliance is only fully revealed, after a few simple twists and turns, by its Battle Form.Nofka forms a robot so threatening, so terrible, that it is easy to see why so many regard this mercenary as the very embodiment of the chilling Maladroid credo, Enemy of the Earth.

I, myself, am most taken by the cunning use of the Space Ship’s aircraft carriers as the arms of the Battle Form.Have you ever seen the like?

Nofka’s diecast content is consistent with the high standards set by the Convertors line: six screws, two rivets, and two pins.

The card art is a thing of beauty, with full-color renditions of the Space Ship and Battle Form.

If only the Select company was still with us to authorize poster reproductions of these images, I’m sure the legions of Convertors fans would hungrily snap them up.The instructions, of course, are as comprehensible as any of the best toys made in Japan.

This particular Nofka appears to be the very rare custom edition.It has variant white and red paint operations skillfully applied by a master artisan to the Space Ship’s bow and flanks. In return for my services as a seller, Nofka’s owner made it available for these few photographs before lovingly returning it to temperature and humidity controlled storage.

He is willing to part with it for a price commensurate with its scarcity.

Serious inquiries only, please.

Ken-A

September 21, 2003

Takara Alpha and Omega: Unicron and Emperor

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rumble Crew @ 6:29 pm

I’m repelled and fascinated by Transformers.

It’s a brand that started out with some of the best Japanese toy engineering found in the waning days of the chogokin era.

It carries on today in the aisles of Wal-Mart with some of the worst design aesthetics to be inflicted on America since Spike Lee put Rob Liefeld in a Levi’s commercial. But the Transformers’ first cousins, the Micronauts, weren’t nearly so fortunate.

After more than two decades in obscurity, Micronauts returned last year to nearly universal disinterest.

The fact that both famous toy lines erupted fully-formed from Takara’s brow would be easy to miss if you compared the two lines today.

This week brought such thoughts to the fore as I unpacked a kind of toy Alpha and Omega:“Emperor and Megas” from Palisades’ Micronauts reissue line, and Hasbro’s “Unicron” from Transformers: Armada.

Emperor and Megas were slight remolds to the earlier, more famous Micronauts villains, Baron Karza and Andromeda.

But the Emperor received such limited distribution in the United States that he might as well have never been released.

Unicron likewise was never really available as a toy, despite Transfans’ pleas since his first appearance in the crass “Transformers: The Movie” (1986).

These toys have nothing, and everything, in common.

Neither would exist without installed fanbases ready to shovel money at whatever manufacturer finally churned them out in plastic.

Obviously, I must be in both fanbases, which says a lot.

Each has action features that suggest they were made for kids, rather than for the dusty display shelves of the collectors who will actually buy them. And both share a design sense from toy eras long gone. In the Emperor’s case, that’s a good thing; Unicron, I’m not so sure. Otherwise, they have about as much in common as Beetras and Macross. But that didn’t stop Hasbro, so it won’t stop me.



Let’s look at Unicron first, as his fanbase wins by mass alone. This is a fine toy, as large robots go. The proportions are nice, the articulation is excellent, and he has that all-important waist joint. I would’ve liked a neck joint, too, but that’s a quibble. The gimmicks are forgettable. A huge missile launcher pops out of Unicron’s chest, H.R. Giger-style, but you need a cursed Mini-con to activate it, and it rarely fires without jamming. There are Mini-con controlled leg missiles, joy. And three compartments open up to hold Mini-cons I don’t own, leaving Unicron mostly hollow, which has got to be symbolic of something. The best feature is doubtless the transformation: with some effort, Unicron folds into a convincing planet mode, complete with working, moon-munching mandibles. Take that, Galactus!

If you liked Palisades’ Baron Karza, you’ll love Emperor and Megas. The plastic is better quality, the colors are more striking, and missiles now fire very well, thank you. The oversized cloth cape (modeled by the black and white Emperors in my pictures) give the Emperor a sort of undead Batman appeal. And the new mantle (which my clear-green Emperor is sporting) both complements the creepy helmet and allows the Emperor to shoulder-mount Megas’ rocket launchers. I like the chrome on Emperor and Megas, but it’s still pretty cheap, and three of these cyborg My Little Ponies side by side looks like the toy section in a Big Lots. Significant problems remain from the Baron Karza reissue: Emperor’s magnemo joint connections are weak, the centaur mode is only barely possible after modification with a screwdriver, and the clear-green plastic on Megas is so fragile that two of its legs were broken in the package.



Nonetheless, I had to have Emperor, just like I had to have Unicron. It’s a sort of relief to know these two entries end my participation in their respective toy lines. There will be no more Palisades Micronauts, and Hasbro will soon displace Armada with the even worse Energon. Soon I’ll be able to obsess over other retro toys I never had as a child, but somehow cannot live without today.

So here’s the bottom line. Unicron is worth the $50 he cost at Toys R Us, but only if you’re so into the Transformers “mythos” that you think having a planet toy with working mandibles is cool. It’s hard to justify the $100 that Emperor and Megas cost me at the Palisades Collector’s Club, even as a Micronauts collector. The old-school Takara flavor is much tastier and far less expensive in the 80s Transformers reissues — even the Hasbro ones.

And for sheer Takara toyetic value, neither Unicron nor the Emperor can hold a candle to my recent, favorite acquisition: Armada Airazor, $10 at K-Mart.

Ken-A

September 20, 2003

Funky Cold Mekanda

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rumble Crew @ 3:30 pm

SIX POUNDS OF SOLID DIE-CAST…..naw, just kidding. It’s a hollow plastic bootleg from the 80′s, made in Korea. Despite some obvious design/quality issues, I gotta’ say, I love this thing. Right off the bat, the box is simpley awesome, appealing to all my senses that love this hobby. Open it up, and the joy continues…the genuine styro insert, the DX asthetic, parts, pieces, weirdness..it’s all there.


Mekanda himself is an original sculpt (although suspiciously similar to the Bullmark Jumbo) and significantly larger than the official mid-sized die-cast. It’s cool. He’s light, loose, and has goofy-head-color syndrome, but the care and quality is way above the typical boot-bot. Spring-loaded fists, decent articulation (could this be the only Mekanda that bends at the knees?), little shooty things & a sword all add to the coolness.


But, the BIG fatty payoff on this toy is the inclusion of the Mekanda 1, 2 and 3 vehicles. Not only do these missile shooting, Grip sized jets combine (once again, since the 3rd vehicle was never officially released, this is the only represention I know of…), but, they fit on the robot’s back like a jet-pack and it looks great.


All this for 5 bucks.


Naw…just kidding.


Anyway, hope you enjoy the pics and I apologize for the suck PS work!


-Mike

SZ

Song of the SOB

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rumble Crew @ 1:47 am

How long it is I’ve suffered
(And whined and bitched and rent
What’s left of my poor patchy hair)
And typed my fingers bent
Dispatches to the Mother Land
To Jersey and Hong Kong
Wherein I’ve sung my sickly
Never ending greedy song:



“Find for me these balmy bits
These mini malformed mutts
These teensy tiny reproducted
Elusive vinyl runts
Find them for me and dear friends
Upon my thanks you’ll sup
Not to mention your relief
When fin’ly I shut up”



Months later came from old HK
The news I’d longed to hear
A chance to get the latest ones
But oh the price was dear!
I gulped and wondered at the chance
Hesitating now with doubt
But how the world seemed well again
As I drained my bank account



When I see olive packages
My heart leaps from my chest
From far they travel to my home
And inside treasures rest
Today a green bound box arrived
And I’m filled with nerdy joy
Two sets of brand new SOB
Sets four and five -Oh Boy!



I will not write about a set
That’s seen here once before
Especially when the best kaiju
Make most of my audience snore
But series five if I’m not wrong
Has not been seen here yet
So let me introduce to you
this latest wacky set:



Antlar Redking Miculas
(redeco’d don’t you know)
And let’s not forget third Kanegon
With his eerie greenish glow
Ultra Jack and 7 are new
(not that you give a darn)
Lastly goofy Takkong
And salad-like Zazarn



And there you have it Gundam fans
Some verse both dull and trite
With pictures of some crap that proves
Ol’ Corey’s just not right
And if I might address the folks
Who’ve made these hard to find:
Thanks a lot there Bandai
You can kiss my ripe behind



cae 9-19-03

cae

Song of the SOB

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rumble Crew @ 12:54 am

How long it is I’ve suffered
(And whined and bitched and rent
What’s left of my poor patchy hair)
And typed my fingers bent
Dispatches to the Mother Land
To Jersey and Hong Kong
Wherein I’ve sung my sickly
Never ending greedy song:

“Find for me these bits of barf
These mini malformed mutts
These teensy tiny reproducted
Elusive vinyl runts
Find them for me and dear friends
Upon my thanks you’ll sup
Not to mention your relief
When fin’ly I shut up”

Then from old HK came lo
The news I’d longed to hear
A chance to get the latest ones
But oh the price was dear
I gulped and wondered at the chance
Hesitating now with doubt
But how the world seemed well again
When I drained my bank account

When I see olive packages
My heart leaps from my chest
From far they travel to my home
And inside treasures rest
Today a green bound box arrived
And I’m filled with nerdy joy
Two sets of brand new SOB
Sets four and five -Oh Boy!

I will not write about a set
That’s seen here once before
Especially when the best kaiju
Make most my audience snore
But series five if I’m not wrong
Has not been seen here yet
So let me introduce to you
this latest wacky set:

Antlar Redking Miculas
(redeco’d don’t you know)
And let’s not forget third Kanegon
With his nifty glow
Ultra Jack and 7 are new
(not that you give a darn)
Lastly goofy Takkong
And sewage-like Zazarn

And there you have it Gundam fans
Poor verse for your delight
And pictures of some crap that proves
Ol’ Corey’s just not right
And if I might address the folks
Who’ve made these hard to find:
Thanks a lot there Bandai
Kiss my ripe behind

 

How long it is I’ve suffered
(And whined and bitched and rent
What’s left of my poor patchy hair)
And typed my fingers bent
Dispatches to the Mother Land
To Jersey and Hong Kong
Wherein I’ve sung my sickly
Never ending greedy song:

“Find for me these bits of barf
These mini malformed mutts
These teensy tiny reproducted
Elusive vinyl runts
Find them for me and dear friends
Upon my thanks you’ll sup
Not to mention your relief
When fin’ly I shut up”

Then from old HK came lo
The news I’d longed to hear
A chance to get the latest ones
But oh the price was dear
I gulped and wondered at the chance
Hesitating now with doubt
But how the world seemed well again
When I drained my bank account

When I see olive packages
My heart leaps from my chest
From far they travel to my home
And inside treasures rest
Today a green bound box arrived
And I’m filled with nerdy joy
Two sets of brand new SOB
Sets four and five -Oh Boy!

I will not write about a set
That’s seen here once before
Especially when the best kaiju
Make most my audience snore
But series five if I’m not wrong
Has not been seen here yet
So let me introduce to you
this latest wacky set:

Antlar Redking Miculas
(redeco’d don’t you know)
And let’s not forget third Kanegon
With his nifty glow
Ultra Jack and 7 are new
(not that you give a darn)
Lastly goofy Takkong
And sewage-like Zazarn

And there you have it Gundam fans
Poor verse for your delight
And pictures of some crap that proves
Ol’ Corey’s just not right
And if I might address the folks
Who’ve made these hard to find:
Thanks a lot there Bandai
Kiss my ripe behind

              cae 9-19-03

cae

Song of the SOB

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rumble Crew @ 12:09 am

How long it is I’ve suffered


(And whined and bitched and rent


What’s left of my poor patchy hair)


And typed my fingers bent


Dispatches to the Mother Land


To Jersey and Hong Kong


Wherein I’ve sung my sickly


Never ending greedy song:


 


“Find for me these bits of barf


These mini malformed mutts


These teensy tiny reproducted


Elusive vinyl runts!


Find them for me and dear friends


Upon my thanks you’ll sup


Not to mention your relief


When fin’ly I shut up”


 


Then from old HK came lo


The news I’d longed to hear


A chance to get the latest sets


But oh the price was dear!


I gulped and wondered at the chance


Hesitating now with doubt


But how the world seemed well again


When I drained my bank account


 


When I see olive packages


My heart leaps from my chest


From far they travel to my home


And inside treasures rest


Today an green bound box arrived


And I’m filled with nerdy joy


Two sets of brand new SOB


Sets four and five -Oh Boy!


 


I will not bore you with the set


seen here once before


Undoubtedly even the best kaiju


Make most of you all snore


But series five if I’m not wrong


Has not been seen here yet


So let me introduce to you


this latest wacky set:


 


Antlar Redking Miculas


(redeco’d don’t you know)


And we can’t forget third Kanegon


With his nifty glow


Ultra Jack and 7 are new


(not that you’d give a darn)


Lastly goofy Takkong


And sewage-like Zazarn


 


And there you have it Gundam fans


Poor verse for your delight


And pictures of some crap that proves


Ol’ Corey’s just not right


And if I might address the folks


Who’ve made these hard to find:


Thanks a lot there Bandai


Kiss my ripe behind


 

                cae 9-19-03
Corey

September 18, 2003

Bling!Bling!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rumble Crew @ 5:14 pm

(Foreward–There are certain people that I don’t want to hear any snide comments about this rumble or its subject from, you know who you are).


As everyone knows, I was (still am) big skeptic of ‘Superior Defender’(a.k.a. ‘Stuperior Defender’) Gundam. However, as much as I don’t like the idea of the show, I do have a soft spot in my heart for SD toys of all kinds (not just Gundam), so when I was out shopping the other day, I figured I’d look at the SD toys. I never liked the Musha Gundam stuff, so I passed on the toy inspired by that theme. Captain Gundam looked funny to me and while I have some interesting plans for Zero-The Winged Knight, I knew that now was not the time. Then, a glare hit me–one caused by the ‘exclusive’ ‘Burning Gundam’ and Master Gundam Set in Hyper Mode Colors. I figured that at 12.99, these worked out to $6.50 a piece and said why not. Who’dve thunk that I’d be buying something combining 2 of my pet peeves, Superior Defender AND G Gundam?


These turned out not to be half bad toys. The gold coating is well applied. Articulation is decent for fathead SD toys, and yes, there’s a waist joint–limited, but there. My only complaint is about the Master Gundam. All of the SD figures seem to have a kid-baiting ‘action feature’. On these figures it is the chest and wings opening on the Burning Gundam and the Wings extending on the Master. The Master’s wings are so top heay however that it takes a little work to get him to stand up with extended wings.


Burning Gundam comes with 2 translucent orange’Burning Finger’ hands and 2 sable holding hands, as well as…you guessed it, 2 beam sabers. Master comes with 2 open hands and 2 translucent purple ‘Dark Finger’ hands.


Thats about it. Once again, decent little figures for a decent price. These are great if you just HAVE to buy a toy (like I did). These are the only ‘canon’ SD toys out now so if they just have to continue this line, I’d like to see some more ‘real’ Mobile Suits SD-ized rather than stuff like Captain/Musha/Knight. SD Sazabi anyone?


JLP

Bling Bling!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rumble Crew @ 4:49 pm

(Foreward–There are certain people that I don’t want to hear any snide comments about this rumble or its subject from, you know who you are).


As everyone knows, I was (still am) big skeptic of ’Superior Defender’(a.k.a. ‘Stuperior Defender’) Gundam. However, as much as I don’t like the idea of the show, I do have a soft spot in my heart for SD toys of all kinds (not just Gundam), so when I was out shopping the other day, I figured I’d look at the SD toys. I never liked the Musha Gundam stuff, so I passed on the toy inspired by that theme. Captain Gundam looked funny to me and while I have some interesting plans for Zero-The Winged Knight, I knew that now was not the time. Then, a glare hit me–one caused by the ‘exclusive’ ’Burning Gundam’ and Master Gundam Set in Hyper Mode Colors. I figured that at 12.99, these worked out to $6.50 a piece and said why not. Who’dve thunk that I’d be buying something combining 2 of my pet peeves, Superior Defender AND G Gundam?


These turned out not to be half bad toys. The gold coating is well applied. Articulation is decent for fathead SD toys, and yes, there’s a waist joint–limited, but there. My only complaint is about the Master Gundam. All of the SD figures seem to have a kid-baiting ‘action feature’. On these figures it is the chest and wings opening on the Burning Gundam and the Wings extending on the Master. The Master’s wings are so top heay however that it takes a little work to get him to stand up with extended wings.


Burning Gundam comes with 2 translucent orange’Burning Finger’ hands and 2 sable holding hands, as well as…you guessed it, 2 beam sabers. Master comes with 2 open hands and 2 translucent purple ‘Dark Finger’ hands.


Thats about it. Once again, decent little figures for a decent price. These are great if you just HAVE to buy a toy (like I did). These are the only ‘canon’ SD toys out now so if they just have to continue this line, I’d like to see some more ‘real’ Mobile Suits SD-ized rather than stuff like Captain/Musha/Knight. SD Sazabi anyone?


  


 

JLP

September 14, 2003

O Captain, My Captain

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rumble Crew @ 2:42 am

Well, it’s official.  Bandai America hates you, too.


There has been nothing in recent memory to divide Gundam fans as much as Cartoon Network’s recent decision to run Gundam SD: Superior Defender in place of the expected (and highly anticipated) Z Gundam.  Some have seen the show as great fun for the younger set with some nice nods to older fans.  Others have seen this as the last Gundam series that will be seen on western television.  More conspiracy-minded devotees of the franchise believe the show to be Bandai Japan’s revenge for all of those Gundam 0079 toys that Target couldn’t sell. 


Quite frankly, I don’t know what to think.  But I do know three things:


1.  I’ve always had a soft spot for SD Gundams.  BBs, Musha Cloths, I love ‘em all.


2.  Living in Canada, I’ll probably never see the offending show.


3.  I finally got a few expendable bucks in my pocket.  Bucks that demanded to be traded for posey, rubbery robots.


Long story short, There is a “Captain Gundam” figure staring at me from atop my desk as I type this, and I’m almost embarassed to say…


… for what it is, this thing’s pretty damn good.


I couldn’t believe what I felt when this guy fell out of the bubble and into my hand.  Heft.  This little thing had honest to goodness weight.  Moreso, at least, than any domestically-released MSIA in recent memory (barring the Xamel, natch).  To my surprise, most of the figure is made of thick, solid ABS plastic.  That’s right… ABS.  The guy’s held together with little screws like some twisted baby HCM.  Granted, there is still some PVC in this package (joints, hands, skirts, shoulder armor, crest, beam saber, rifle, and any grey detailing on the arms and shield), but the amount of hard plastic this guy’s made with gives him a heft that few MSIAs can match.


Captain Gundam has a nice range of movement, with thirteen points of articulation.  Granted, this isn’t a version two MSIA body, but it’s also a mobile suit with a physique more like Wee Man than Superman, so the lack of contortionist-level poseability can be forgiven.  He does sport an ‘action feature’, whereby a twist of his backpack will cause his right arm to raise, hopefully to brandish one of the enclosed weapons.  This feature does not limit movement in the figure’s arm, though manual posing may cause the figure’s backpack to tilt.


I guess what it boils down to is this:  I may not know Gundam, but I know what I like.  And I like this guy a lot.


Now if I could just get my wife to let me play with him for a minute, I’d be all set. 

Todd

September 9, 2003

Aura Battler? Done Buyin’.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rumble Crew @ 12:01 am

I’ve always liked “Aura Battler Dunbine.” But that being said, I find the actual animated show a real snoozer. Dungeons and Dragons meets Gundam in a half-assed world of swords, sorcery, and angst-ridden teenagers riding enormous robot insects.

Perhaps I should qualify: I’ve always liked the robots from Dunbine.

Whatever the case, fate dealt me this set of Clover Dunbine figures during my near-uninterrupted slide in recent years into the reeking bowels of toydom. And what a glorious set it was: four, count ‘em, four Dunbine robots molded in that supple yet fragrant material known as polyvinyl chloride, sculpted to capture the every detail, nay, the very essence of each character.


Or so they appeared in the thumbnail-sized scan in the auction. Reality proved slightly different.

Behold: Dunbine, Dana o’Shee (the token Irish robot in the series?), Virunee, and Drumlo.

The crown jewel of the lot has to be Drumlo. Although this squat, beetle-like mechanical character appears to be nearly ball-shaped in the show, Clover’s vinyl “engineers” had to make some sacrifices to shoehorn him into the blister package. It looks less like a giant robot and more like one of those mushroom creatures from Super Mario Brothers. And while Drumlo retains the same bulky waistline as ever, the portrayal, somehow, lacks… depth. It’s as if Slim-fast worked front-to-back rather than side-to-side.

Do these capture the glory of the characters as they appeared in the anime? Hell, no (although they DO capture their inherent marshmallow-y goodness). So do I feel ripped off? Hell, no. One collector’s vinyl trash is another’s treasure. And these are a treasure that burn so very, very brightly. Especially if brought anywhere near an open flame.

“Never need another”…? Yeah, right. Less than five minutes after opening the package, I found myself surfing the auctions for more Clover vinyl goodness. God help me….

Matt
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