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September 24, 2004

Diamond Forges Strategic Partnership with Japanese Toy Giant Bandai

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rumble Crew @ 11:18 am

Press release from Diamond Comic Distributors:


Beginning with the October cover-dated issue of Previews (Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc.’s monthly catalog), a wealth of previously unavailable Japanese toys and models will now be available to western collectors, competitively priced, and available through comics specialty shops throughout North America!


It was with great excitement and enthusiasm that representatives of Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. and Japanese toy manufacturing giant, Bandai Co. Ltd., recently formed a strategic partnership to bring many of Bandai’s incredible toys and models to western shores. “This has been something we’ve been working towards for many years now,” stated Bill Schanes, Diamond Vice President of Purchasing. “We’re extremely pleased to finally have Bandai of Japan aboard with us.” As Japanese toy enthusiasts and collectors around the world know, Bandai is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of sci-fi and anime-related toys, models, and collectibles, but many of their most desirable items have remained out of reach to most western collectors.


The October issue of Previews features the first wave of toys and models from Bandai Japan, including fourteen all-new Gundam Seed model kits, and the latest releases in their world-renowned “Soul of Chogokin” (SOC) line. Bandai’s SOC line is one of the most popular die-cast series in the toy company’s long history. Part retro/tribute to the “chogokin” (metal or die-cast) toys of the ’70s, and part modern marvels, the SOC series brings the stars of Japan’s most popular and legendary animated series to life as high-end, ultra-detailed die-cast toys, all featuring an unheard-of level of articulation and craftsmanship.


Future releases from Diamond and Bandai will include:



  • Soul of Chogokin: Super Robots such as Mazinger Z characters Garada K-7, Doublas M-2, and the “Mazinger’s Angels” trio of Minerva-X, Diana-A, and Venus-A. Also scheduled for 2005 are high-end die-cast figures of Neon Genesis Evangelion’s EVAs!

  • Soul of Popynica: “Popynica” are die-cast vehicles and figures made in the classic style of Bandai ancestor, Popy, and are based on classic and recent anime, such as Kaneda’s Motorcyle from Akira.

  • SIC/Super Imaginative Chogokin: Hyper-detailed figures (usually with a motorcycle or vehicle) including the family of Kamen Rider characters.

  • Gundam Fix Figuration: Deluxe, highly-articulated action figures of Gundam Mobile Suits, packed with weapons and accessories.

“These are the toys that collectors have been paying extremely high prices for online,” said Frank Supiot, Import Toys Brand Manager, “but now collectors will have an all-new source for SOCs: their local comic shop. DCD is working with Bandai Japan to bring these toys to the hardcore collectors, as these items will not be made available through mass market chain stores such as Wal Mart, Target, or Toys R Us.”


Fans can find these and other great products at their local comics shop, or by contacting the Comic Shop Locator Service toll free at 1-888-COMICBOOK (1-888-266-4226), or by visiting them online.


Retailers interested in this unique product should contact Michel Buster by phone at 1-410-560-7112, ext. 308, or by e-mail at bmichel@diamondcomics.com.

Roger

September 16, 2004

SCM Again

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rumble Crew @ 8:34 pm

Just what the world needs! MORE GUNDAM TOYS! That’s right! They aren’t all that special or creative, and being fully assembled they aren’t really models, but no fear: Bandai’s SCM (“Special Creative Model”) series is back!

Now, in addition to the mobile suit designs already released (for the scoop on the first three, check out the Rumble on the topic from late late last year), Bandai’s releasing the inevitable third color variation of the RX-78 (“Char’s Gundam”), a Mk. II Gundam in normal and “Titans” colors, and a non-transforming Zeta Gundam. They’re being sold through crane-game machines as prizes or (for those of us with slothful, alcohol-dulled reflexes) in sets of two for 3,000 yen a pop. Release date is slated for March 2005, all the better to serve as merch for the upcoming Zeta Gundam movie.

Given the existence of the HCM-Pro toys, G.F.F. “FIX” figures, and innumerable PVC renditions of the exact same damn Gundam characters, it’s a bit of a mystery as to why I feel even the remotest sense of interest here. Maybe it’s because the previous SCMs were great cheap ‘n sleazy fun?

At any rate, here’s to hoping big B fixed the biggest problem with the first run: the incredible stench of the low-grade plastic they used to make them. No joke; even now, close to a year later, the handful of SCM on my shelf still smell like minature chemical factories. (Waitasec. Could that strangely alluring aroma promote a dangerously pathetic addiction to Gundam merchandise? DAMN YOU, BANDAI! Too… late… to… resist…)

Matt

September 11, 2004

Supreme Being

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rumble Crew @ 12:33 pm

Most of the G1 transformers, as everyone knows, came from either Takara or Takatoku. Shockwave came from ToyCo, and Omega Supreme and Skylynx from Toybox. Toybox never actually produced their version of the Skylynx toy, why I do not know. I would assume that Toybox went out of business… This was the early eighties, after all.


After the abysmal failure of the recent Energon Omega Supreme, I though I should remind everyone what a real transformer is. Enter MECHABOT – 1.


There are no functional differences between the Toybox Mechabot and the Hasbro Omega Supreme. There were no features or accessories removed, only the color was changed. I think the original colors serve the design much better, and make it a little more military. The box even shows a painted (or “detail-up” for the gunpra heads) version on the cover.


The box is the large Godaikin type with a carry handle across the top. Under the lid you find the requisite styrofoam with all the parts visible. Notice the black slip cover that fits over the styro… this houses the carry handle. Nice touch.


Batteries fit inside the tank portion, and it can travel across any flat surface, with the turret rotating as the gun raises and lowers. The real fun of this, however, is to place it on the track and watch it drive around in a circle until you pass out.


The arms and backpack of the robot become some sort of rocket launching platform. This doesn’t really do anything except sit there, and it can be placed in the center of the track oval.


Once all the parts are combined into Mechabot-1, the motorized action changes. Instead of the motor driving the wheels and the turret, the internal gears shift and now Mechabot can walk. Very slow, mind you, but still impressive for its time.


The instructions also suggest changing the track formations when mounted on the back of the robot, but this is pretty lame. It reminds me of the the Kronoform watch package, proclaiming over 10 different modes wich simply consisted of the robot standing on its head, lying down, spread eagle, etc.


Mechabot is pure vintage love. There is no diecast, but the plastic is of the Takatoku-mecha variety. If you like transformers, this is a better version of one of the most unique. If you don’t like transformers, even better… this is not your typical TF.


machinesoldier

September 10, 2004

1982!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rumble Crew @ 11:38 pm



So what’s up with 1982?

 

1982 was a busy year. For example, there was Blade Runner, RunDMC, Lebanon,
Springsteen and Reagan.. No doubt, these were all VERY important things. Not to a 7 year old.

 

My 1982 was all about Japanese toys. Diecast, Jumbos, Vinyls, Model kits and books.. Anything I could get my hands on was “all good”.

 

A quick trip to San Francisco’s Japan Town would always land me a couple of TV mags (with prizes), toy candy (with prizes) and last but not least a MIMB Popy Chogokin. After taking all my loot home, I would blow through the candy, quickly get over the mag/candy prizes, and alas the precious Chogokin specimen would eventually hit the toy shelf..

 

The TV magazines on the other hand would always stay in heavy rotation, and were visited on a daily basis. They were stocked full of toy pictures and ads of all the latest swag. They acted as a Japanese toy/anime “insider” for a stateside bound kid like myself. On a monthly basis, one could view the who’s who of Japanese toys by the current heavy hitters (Popy, Takatoku, Takara and Bandai). Best of all they always gave you a hint of what was yet to come..

 

So, enough of all that sappy nostalgia. Here’s a quick rundown of what Terebi Magagine November 1982 includes:

 

-Goggle V

 

-Microman

 

-8chan

 

-Machine Robo

 

-Gavan

 

-Dougram

 

-Robomaru

 

-Ideon

 

-Xabungle

 

-Kamen Rider ZX

 


I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. Enjoy!
Erik Sjoen

It’s such a breeze…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rumble Crew @ 11:18 pm

Ah, Dorcus. Cast in a shiny purple plastic, his bright coloring is certain to draw attention in a ‘toy society’ of patriotically colored robots. He is very curvy, giving him a definite organic feel in both “Warrior Mode” (Robot) and “Live Mode” (Beetle / Space Ship), and he’s definitely based on the Japanese Kabuto-mushi — a real-life insect that has inspired quite a few transforming robots in its time. My first exposure to this robot, of course, was via the live action TV series Gransazer – which, you understand, I watch for the high drama and plot twists. In the series he’s part of the Kaze (Wind) Tribe, a name evocative of butterflies, birds, and sleek airplanes – certainly not chunky beetles.

And chunky he is. He’s packaged in his “Live Mode”, with his armament sealed in a separate bag. As I carefully removed him from his plastic coffin, keeping him protected from the prying eyes of humans, I felt like I was embarking on an archeological journey. The hieroglyphs on the instructions were less than worthless to my western eyes, so the small bag containing them was tossed aside, and I went for the weapons – four cannons, and a plate to mount the two larger on. The two smaller ones, which I have been told are called “Dol Cannons”, are placed on the outer edge of the approximate area of his shoulders – the two larger cannons (“Insector Magnum”) clip into the plate, which is pegged into a hole in an exposed area of his back. I picked up the toy, fingers caressing the smooth ABS plastic, admiring the details from the retractable claws in the front legs, and the four mounted on hinges on the rear. Light accents of silver break the monotony of an otherwise very bright design, and a few spots of gold on the claws and gunmetal in the internals provides adequate other color to clearly identify the different parts of his anatomy.



His transformation is simple, but at the same time, interesting, unique, and sturdy. The transformation from Live Mode to Warrior Mode couldn’t be more intuitive – extend the legs and fold forward his small, silver insect ones, then open his feet (which are clasped heel to toe in Live Mode), Separate the front legs (Noting the peg that ensures the hand touching the shoulder – yes, he has ‘2.0 joints’, for you MSiA fanatics…) and push the silver tabs by the elbow, which makes the golden claws erupt from the forearms. Finally, lean the head forward, pushing down his ‘crest’ in order to cover his fragile, silver brain (Which can accommodate optional weapons from additional toys of the line), lift up the plate on his back to bring the four cannons into firing position, then form the skirt by opening the two halves of the curved plate that covers his posterior, swinging them around to his front. ‘Warrior Mode’ is an accurate description – he certainly looks like a big, tough bruiser – so, even though some of his fellow Beetles, such as Gourajin, may dwarf him in size and weight, he definitely is superior in terms of presence.

As I placed him on my shelf, a light glow began to appear off of him. I realized I had not had lunch, and quite obviously, I was beginning to feel the ill effects of this poor decision. Suddenly, it felt like the toy was speaking to me – something which had never happened in my years of speaking to my toys. It began to compel me… “I’m different!” it repeated… I pondered the meaning of this. There are a great many beetle robots, that’s a definite, given the Japanese fascination with that type of insect. He comes from a show that could be considered analogous to the widely imitated Toei ‘Super Sentai’ series (incidentally, the Gransazer TV show was produced by Toho, famous for the Godzilla films.) The toy has no die cast metal, it doesn’t combine with other toys – it is meant to be independent, a toy that makes no sacrifices in terms of looks to increase play value – but it’s definitely not a fragile, difficult to handle collector’s item, either. Being caught between both worlds, neither plaything nor delicate prize, makes it difficult to classify.

As similar, yet unique as it is, Dorcus is definitely a treasure – a true example of the planning and engineering that goes into making a toy that’s simply merchandise to be sold in a 22 minute long commercial. While I am for certain not the target audience for this piece — or many others that I own, for that matter — this toy is beautiful for both the eyes and hands.

Kris Petersen (Qubeley)

It’s such a breeze…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rumble Crew @ 11:08 pm

“Ah, Dolcrus.” Cast in a shiny purple plastic, his bright coloring is certain to draw attraction to him in a ‘toy society’ of patriotically colored robots.  He is very curvy, giving him a definite organic feel in both “Warrior Mode” (Robot) and “Live Mode” (Beetle / Space Ship), and he’s definitely based on the Kabuto Beetle – Which, actually, has inspired quite a few transforming robots in its time. My first exposure to this robot, of course, was via the live action TV series – which, you understand, I watch for the high drama and plot twists. He’s part of the ‘Kaze’ (Wind) Tribe, which is pretty evocative of butterflies, birds, and sleek airplanes – certainly not chunky beetles. And, Chunky he is.


 


He’s packaged in his “Live Mode”, with his armament sealed in a separate bag. As I carefully removed him from his plastic coffin, keeping him protected from the prying eyes of humans, I felt like I was embarking on an archeological journey. The hieroglyphs on the instructions were less than worthless to my western eyes, so the small bag containing them was tossed aside, and I went for the weapons – four cannons, and a plate to mount the two larger on. The two smaller ones, which I have been told are called “Dol Cannons”, are placed on the outer edge of the approximate area of his shoulders – the two larger cannons (“Insector Magnum”) clip into the plate, which is pegged into a hole in an exposed area of his back. I picked up the toy, fingers caressing the smooth ABS plastic, admiring the details from the retractable claws in the front legs, and the four mounted on hinges on the rear. Light accents of silver break the monotony of an otherwise very bright design, and a few spots of gold on the claws and gunmetal in the internals provides adequate other color to clearly identify the different parts of his anatomy.


 


                His transformation is simple, but at the same time, interesting, unique, and sturdy. The transformation from Live Mode to Warrior Mode couldn’t be more intuitive – extend the legs and fold forward his small, silver insect ones, then open his feet (which are clasped heel to toe in Live Mode), Separate the front legs (Noting the peg that ensures the hand touching the shoulder – yes, he has ‘2.0 joints’, for you MSiA fanatics…) and push the silver tabs by the elbow, which makes the golden claws erupt from the forearms. Finally, lean the head forward, pushing down his ‘crest’ in order to cover his fragile, silver brain (Which can accommodate optional weapons from additional toys of the line), lift up the plate on his back to bring the four cannons into firing position, then form the skirt by opening the two halves of the curved plate that covers his posterior, swinging them around to his front. ‘Warrior Mode’ is an accurate description – he certainly looks like a big, tough bruiser – so, even though some of his fellow Beetles, such as Gourajin, may dwarf him in size and weight, he definitely is superior in terms of presence.


 


                As I placed him on my shelf, a light glow began to appear off of him. I realized I had not had lunch, and quite obviously, I was beginning to feel the ill effects of this poor decision. Suddenly, it felt like the toy was speaking to me – something which had never happened in my years of speaking to my toys. It began to compel me… “I’m different!” it repeated… I pondered the meaning of this. There are very many beetle robots, that’s definate, given the Japanese fascination with that type of insect. He was from a show that could be considered analogous to the Toei ‘Super Sentai’ series, (The Gransazer Television show was produced by Toho, famous for the Godzilla series.) which has had many imitators over it’s long run. This toy has no die cast metal, it doesn’t combine with other toys – it is simply meant to be independent, a toy that makes no sacrifices in terms of looks to increase play value – but it’s definitely not a fragile, difficult to handle collector’s item, either – caught between both worlds, neither plaything nor delicate prize, giving it definite issues in terms of classification.


 


                As similar, yet unique as it is, this item is definitely a treasure – a true example of the planning and engineering that goes into making a toy that’s simply merchandise to be sold by a 22 minute long commercial. While I am for certain not the target audience for this piece – or many others, for that matter, this toy is beautiful for both the eyes and hands.

Kris Petersen (Qubeley)
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