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April 7, 2003

Happy Birthday Astro Boy!

Filed under: Toy News — Rumble Crew @ 4:42 am

April 7, 2003.  Today is the birthday of Astro Boy according to the manga.  In Japan, at the Tezuka Osamu Manga Museum, Atom finally will have “the moment of his birth.”  In the same month, a new animated TV series Astro Boy / Tetsuwan Atom will start a nationwide broadcast on Fuji Network System.  Let’s hope Bandai will come up with a chogokin version of Astro Boy with the right dimensions and accessories like all the other figures they have done.

Try this link to go to the Osamu Tezuka World site: for more detail.

Pseudo Ape

April 4, 2003

Simply Striking

Filed under: Toy News — Rumble Crew @ 3:39 pm

Tim Brisko

SEED of Construction

Filed under: Toy News — Rumble Crew @ 2:52 pm

A little yellow dog once told me regarding the allure of Gunpla, “It’s not about the end result, it’s about the journey.” With the New Material Model Strike Gundam, I was impressed with both.

You start with a naked metal robot skeleton. From there you bolt on the armor. And once the armor goes on, it stays on. Once it was completed I shook it to high hell and not one piece fell off. There’s really only one word to describe this toy: solid. It kicks ass.

Proportions of the toy are good, detail is good, and enough metal from the skeleton is exposed so you can feel the cool touch of it against your cheek. Panel lines are minimal, which is a good thing in my book, but if you like them you can stare at the soles of the feet for a while.

Accessories aplenty are present, including two beam sabers with removable blades, and two jackknives that stow in little compartments in the hips. A shield, a beam rifle, and the big-ass Air Strike (no, not “Aile Strike”) backpack are all available to add as you please.

And look, BlazeEagle, Strike Gundam has a waist joint! Unfortunately, with the armor on, this is as far as it turns. Poseability kicks ass, though.

For those of you wondering how heavy this sucker is, the GX-07 Mazinger-Z weighs in at 11oz with both fists on. The main body of the Strike Gundam, fully armored, without the shield, rifle, and Air Strike (no, not “Aile Strike”) pack, is 14oz. As far as comparative size goes, this picture should speak a thousand words.

Have I mentioned that this toy kicks ass?

Downsides? Two minor ones, but they’re definitely not deal-breakers. One, I would have liked to see some titanium in it, but that’s really so I can have a toy on my shelf to point out to people and say, “that’s titanium”. Two, I miss styrofoam.

Brisko-san will be posting his purty pichers of the toy soon, and they will blow mine away, but I’m telling you that if you’re looking for a mecha toy with the class of an HCM and the heft of good old-fashioned Chogokin, this is it. We all know Dancougar will win Toy of the Year, but something tells me this has a good chance at second place.

This was 9340 yen shipped from Hobbylink Japan (order yours here) and it was worth every penny. A “powered-down” variant of the Strike Gundam is coming (order yours here), and originally I wasn’t planning on getting one, but I’m starting to falter…

Keep watching the BBS thread connected to this Rumble, I will be doing a follow-up review about a month down the road.


Great Gorgo! Part Deux.

Filed under: Toy News — Rumble Crew @ 2:48 pm

Here’s the Super 7 Magazine exclusive version of Gorgo. Everything from my review of the standard version applies to this one. And in case you were wondering, yes, Mama Gorgo’s paint job is supposed to echo that of the Hawaii version Bullmark Godzilla (Version K, for those of you with Super 7 #1 in your hands open to page 41).

And look, BlazeEagle, Baby Gorgo has a waist joint!


Insane in the Membros

Filed under: Toy News — Rumble Crew @ 2:40 pm

Membros, my main man.

I was 8 or 9 when I first met Membros, and during the post-Star Wars craze of the late 70s, he integrated nicely with my other action figures. He’d hang out in the Cantina with the likes of Hammerhead and Greedo, trying to pass himself off as a mutated sea slug but everyone knew he was really just a sunburned Tusken Raider. Some thought that he tried a little too hard to be stylish, with his bell-bottomed legs and an EVIL GLOWING BRAIN that looked like an afro. But it was cool, they all got along. If they could let the Ovion into their bar, they would accept Membros, too.

Little did I know back then that Membros and his pals were the glowing brain child of Stephen Lee at California R&D, the company that was instrumental in bringing Takara’s Microman toys to the states as Mego’s Micronauts. The aliens were designed to be compatible with the 5mm and 2.5mm pegs that Microman used, so that they could use existing weapons and accessories that kids already had. (If you want to learn more about the Micronaut Aliens’ development, check out the excellent Micropola Magazine.)

Flash forward to 2002, after my Micronauts and Star Wars figures were long gone (including the elusive Blue Snaggletooth). News came that Palisades Toys was going to make reproductions of the original Micronaut toys, and Membros was going to be one of them. Not only was he going to be offered in the original red color scheme, but also black, yellow, and a completely clear version. In addition, a glittery Bioscan version and all-glow Radioactive version appeared as exclusives.

And they were going to have improvements! Each one would have a stand, and finally, Membros would have hands, letting him use more accessories and play nice with other action figures.

The power of nostalgia took over, and I bit, and now there are three slithery skinned aliens sitting on my shelf.

Clear Membros: This was one of the variants offered at regular retail. I really like the concept, and seeing the rubber o-ring inside him makes it look like he has some internal organs. Unfortunately this one suffers from the infamous Series 1 factory’s production problems and one of the legs doesn’t bend at the knee. Also, the brain glows very faintly. Aside from the knee issue, though, the construction is very solid, perhaps even more substantial than Mego’s original toy.

Bioscan Membros: A Micropolis Embassy exclusive, offered to members of the mailing list (and long since sold out). He’s cast in with green plastic with embedded glitter, so he looks like he’s made out of Crest Gel. This, along with the Series 1.5 and Series 2 Micronauts, was made at Palisades’ newer factory and is even sturdier than the clear version, but there are still glitches. You can’t raise one arm without raising the other, and for some reason the head bobs around in the process. And the glow on this one’s brain is even fainter than the Series 1 version.

Radioactive Membros: This is part of the Series 1.5 set that Palisades sells through their web site, also made at the newer factory. This one is cast in all glow plastic, and the glow is brighter than the brain’s, but its still not incredibly intense. It also has the dual arm/head bobbing issue.

And look, BlazeEagle, Membros has a waist joint!

All of these guys get a B. I like ’em, but minor things in each one’s execution make them just short of being excellent. On one hand, I realize I’m being nitpicky about toy crack, but nostalgia is definitely at work here, bringing me back to the time a little alien turned on his brain light, in the middle of a young boy’s dream.

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