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June 30, 2006

Getta Fewture Getter!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rumble Crew @ 11:05 pm

Taku “Professor Robo” Sato waxes eloquent about his upcoming Getter One diecast figure, Japanese versus American approaches to technology, and the impending invasion of Earth by the Dinosaur Empire.

Click here to read the exclusive world-first English language interview at AltJapan!

Matt

Getta Fewture Getter!

Filed under: Toy News — matt @ 10:19 am

Sato’s Getter One diecast

Taku “Professor Robo” Sato waxes eloquent about his upcoming Getter One diecast figure, Japanese versus American approaches to technology, and the impending invasion of Earth by the Dinosaur Empire. Click here to read the exclusive world-first English language interview at AltJapan!

June 15, 2006

StudioHalfeye’s Next Mecha Dangaioh!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rumble Crew @ 4:43 pm

StudioHalfeye’s Next Big Project: Dangaioh!


I was surfing the net the other day and I went to theR & D section and found out they are going to make a Dangaioh Figure from the 80′s OVA. So far only a sketch and the Breastplate are shown… I can’t wait for this figure ^ ^

Orion Starr

Robodatchi!

Filed under: Toy News — Rumble Crew @ 11:51 am

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Having once “sworn-on” toy collecting, can one ever really “swear-off”?

It is a question that haunts me, and one whose potential answer may have been given when I saw Takara’s Robodachi Gama Ninja Robo up for auction on eBay and could not control my monkey-mad, bidding fingers.

The average Japanese toy collector’s knowledge of Robodachi toys is limited to the few pieces one sees with regularity on eBay and Yahoo Japan, along with an article written by Warren Schwartz for Super 7 Magazine (V1/no.3). As any toy collector can tell you, however, reading about a toy is a far cry from handling it.

Most of what little I did know about the toys didn’t do much for me – sports related figures and simple metal cylinders rarely do – but as with most things, the further one digs with Robodachi, the more interesting things get.

I may never know why I like what I do when it comes to toys but what I do know is that I’m drawn to diecast, robot-toys shaped like amphibians. Takatoku’s Otasuke-Kaeru was a grand introduction to the idea and only served to heighten my interest in this bizarre concept.
Takara’s Ninja Frog is a far cry from the polished luster of the aforementioned Takatoku piece but its delightful goofiness is imbued with just the right combination of gimmick, design, and chintz to push it into my short list of favorite diecast toys.

The metal content of this palm-sized toy is considerable – all the body except for the jaw is zinc – while everything else, again but the jaw, is rendered in two tones of unabashedly lackluster plastic.

Gimmicks include surprisingly articulated legs; a jaw, activated by a roller on the belly, that works to issue a ratcheting croak; and a door on its back that reveals a secreted, little ninja.
This latter busts me up, evoking a scene ala Pulp Fiction wherein I hear Marsellus Wallace intoning: “If Butch goes to Japan, I want a Ninja hiding in a frog ready to pop a cap in his ass.” (can I say “ass” in a Rumble, or am I restricted to just acting like one on the BBS?)

The paint applications are simple; minimal. The frog’s legs are pegged into the body in a primitive, do-it-yourself fashion and thus fall off with too much play. The ninja accessory is laughably useless; a removable sword included on its back that, due to its extreme limitations in design, it cannot wield.

All this and more gives the toy a classic funk and whimsy (as opposed to wagnall) that falls only one step below that of Bullmark’s diecast efforts.

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Perhaps most intriguing is the catalog included in the box, depicting a character array of such diverse complexity that one shudders to think what one’s bank account would look like had they all made it to production in zinc (or did they?). I see at least 10 toys here I would kill to own, or at least maim to see photos of, which takes me back to my original question:

Can any addiction ever truly be conquered?

cat1.jpg

If there are more drugs like this out there, and we all know there are, then in my case, the answer at the moment remains a firm and unequivocal “No”.–cae

Robodatchi!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rumble Crew @ 6:18 am

Having once sworn-on toy collecting, can one ever really swear-off?


It is a question that haunts me, and one whose potential answer may have been given when I saw Takaras Robodachi Gama Ninja Robo up for auction on eBay and could not control my monkey-mad, bidding fingers.


The average Japanese toy collector’sknowledge of Robodachi toys is limited to the few pieces one sees withregularity on eBay and Yahoo Japan, along with an article written by WarrenSchwartz for Super 7 Magazine (V1/no.3). As any toy collector can tell you,however, reading about a toy is a far cry from handling it.


Most of what little I did know about the toys didnt do much for me sportsrelated figures and simple metal cylinders rarely do but as with most things,the further one digs with Robodachi, the more interesting things get.


I may never know why I like what I do when it comes to toys but what I do knowis that Im drawn to diecast, robot-toys shaped like amphibians. TakatokusOtasuke-Kaeru was a grand introduction to the idea and only served to heightenmy interest in this bizarre concept.
Takaras Ninja Frog is a far cry from thepolished luster of the aforementioned Takatoku piece but its delightful goofinessis imbued with just the right combination of gimmick, design, and chintz topush it into my short list of favorite diecast toys.


The metal content of this palm-sized toy is considerable all the body exceptfor the jaw is zinc while everything else, again but the jaw, is renderedin two tones of unabashedly lackluster plastic.


Gimmicks include surprisingly articulated legs; a jaw, activated by a rolleron the belly, that works to issue a ratcheting croak; and a door on its backthat reveals a secreted, little ninja.
This latter busts me up, evoking a sceneala Pulp Fiction wherein IhearMarsellus Wallace intoning: If Butch goes to Japan, I want a Ninja hidingin a frog ready to pop a cap in his ass. (can I say “ass” in a Rumble, or am I restricted to just acting like one on the BBS?)


The paint applications are simple; minimal. The frogs legs are pegged into the body in a primitive, do-it-yourself fashion and thus fall off with too muchplay. The ninja accessory is laughably useless; a removable sword included onits back that, due to its extreme limitations in design, it cannot wield.


All this and more gives the toy a classic funk and whimsy (as opposed to wagnall)that falls only one step below that of Bullmarks diecast efforts.


Perhaps most intriguing is the catalog included in the box, depicting a character array of such diverse complexity that one shudders to think what ones bank account would look like had they all made it to production in zinc (or did they?). I see at least 10 toys here I would kill to own, or at least maim to see photos of, which takes me back to my original question:


Can any addiction ever truly be conquered?


If there are more drugs like this out there, and we all know there are, then in my case, the answer at the moment remains a firm and unequivocal No.

cae

June 7, 2006

Super7 #13

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rumble Crew @ 1:50 pm

Super7 Magazine lucky #13 is out, just in time for 666 day! This issue features Ken Kelly’s Micronauts artwork, Rodan, Japanese vinyl character pendants, and a piece on Takara’s VOTOMS toys by yours truly. You can order the issue or subscribe at the Super7 Magazine web site.

Roger

June 6, 2006

Super7 #13

Filed under: Toy News — Rumble Crew @ 10:37 am

issue13.gif

Super7 Magazine lucky #13 is out, just in time for 666 day! This issue features Ken Kelly’s Micronauts artwork, Rodan, Japanese vinyl character pendants, and a piece on Takara’s VOTOMS toys by yours truly. You can order the issue or subscribe at the Super7 Magazine web site.

–Roger

June 1, 2006

The Risers (Pt. 1)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rumble Crew @ 2:05 pm

Machine Robo Battlehackers is an interesting series. Bandai took a much more Super Robot-like approach to this series than with the previous Machine Robo releases, only releasing toys of the major characters. Not having seen the TV series, I cannot judge it, but from what Ive read the change there was also quite noticeable. It can be said that Machine Robo Battlehackers was the first Machine Robo series where the toy line stopped being there first.


Toy-design-wise, Machine Robo evolved from simple, similar-sized designs in 1982-1985 towards more complicated ones in 1986-1987. Although many collectors consider the Machine Robo-600 series and related toys as the be-all and end-all of Machine Robo, I personally feel the later, more complicated designs are more fulfilling, together with the earlier, wonderful Big and DX Machine Robo. What attracts me in the latter two (mostly the last one) is the attention brought to small, but essential details, which somehow make the designs somewhat believable. Mechanical detail like hinges, tubing, pistons, they are all there, in locations where they would actually be useful.


This same attention to detail can be found back in some of the late 1986 designs. The Battle Team Wheelman toys are some of the nicest, most detailed Machine Robo toys ever released, easily comparable with, and probably a lot better than, those early DX toys, were it not for the lack of die-cast metal. They also felt a lot more grown-up than previously released Machine Robo toys. They were the first indication of what was to come in the near future. The second consisted of the change in packaging the last two Wheelman toys featured.


Where previous Machine Robo toys had come in multi-color packaging, the last two Wheelman toys came in stylish black boxes, with sparse yellow stripes and pictures of the toy contained inside as sole decorations. This kind of packaging was to become the standard for the Machine Robo Battlehackers toy line.


The first Battlehackers toy was the Power Riser, a powered suit that came with a Kenpoh Robo figure. However, this toy will not be the subject of this Rumble (it will be covered in Part 2). Instead, I will write about its two sibblings, the Jet Riser and the Battle Riser. Both were released later on in the Battlehackers toy like, their numbers are BH-06 and BH-07 respectively.


Both toys come in the previously named packaging, gorgeous black boxes that give these toys an air of exclusivity. Front and back of the box give short explanations about the features of the toys. No words are wasted. Pictures are scarce but excellent. Inside, the various parts of the toys are seated in nice styrofoam trays. The presentation is perfect. All the essential parts are clearly visible, including the basic powered suit frame onto which the other parts will be added. Small parts and ammunition is stored in a specific slot in the tray. Also visible is each suits pilot, Akira Amachi for the Jet Riser and Luke Stewart for the Battle Riser. Each box also contains an instruction sheet, a catalogue, and a card you could send to Bandai. No sticker sheets, the few stickers these toys have are factory-applied.


The base of each toy is a powered suit frame. This frame features excellent internal detail, as well as a detailed control panel. The arms are fully articulated, and the hands can open and close. The legs feature chunks of die-cast to keep the toys upright. Each toy comes with a sensor pod and an antenna that can be attached at this stage (shown on the Battle Riser). The Luke and Akira pilot figures both feature a generic body, and their heads are decent representations of the animated versions. Each features more than enough articulation to be put correctly into the powered suit frame.


To complete the Jet Riser and the Battle Riser, the armor parts and the weapons are attached to the powered suit frames. Each toy features over a dozen of armor and weapon parts, which attach by simply sliding them onto the frame or onto pegs on other parts. Some parts, like the wings on the Jet Riser, snap into place. However, unlike on some other toys, everything can be taken apart again without any problems occurring. Indeed, the pegs and connectors used were all clearly designed with taking apart in mind. This is probably a good thing, as parts that snapped tightly into place would have broken quite fast on these toys. It felt more like I was assembling two plastic model kits than two toys, as the plastic used for the various armor and weapon parts is quite soft, and some parts feature very thin tabs and small pegs. Another reason why these toys feel more grown up than previous Machine Robo toys.


Both Jet and Battle Riser feature spring-loaded missile launchers in their fully completed state. Each toy is equipped with a BB-style pellet launcher on the right shoulder, which can fire the multicolor hard plastic pellets provided in a small bag in each the box. Each launcher features a compartment that can hold about 3-4 pellets at once, and that can be accessed by opening the top of the launcher. Launching a pellet is done by pulling back a lever on the back of each launcher, and subsequently letting go of it. The toys also feature conventional spring-loaded launchers on their left shoulders. Although it looks like these launchers can launch a lot of missiles at once, this is not the case, as part of the missiles are fake. The Jet Riser actually features a twin spring-loaded missile launcher, while the Battle Riser has a single spring-loaded missile launcher.


The toys do not have many other features. As mentioned previously, the Jet Riser features wings. It also features a lot of thrusters and a somewhat jet-like canopy. However, in comparison to the animation art, this canopy is placed too far up, giving the toy a somewhat strange look, which I found a bit disappointing. The Battle Riser is definitively the better and more fun toy, as it also features a grabbing claw and quad barreled cannon. Both toys can be put in pretty decent running poses (although they are hard to balance), too.


Overall, these toys are immensely satisfying, being some of the more interesting Machine Robo toys and just having a different feel than the toys that came before. Of course, not all Machine Robo Battlehackers toys are like this, which I will show in another upcoming Rumble…


The Risers

thomas
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