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January 17, 2003

Baron Gashapon

Filed under: Toy News — Rumble Crew @ 7:16 pm

I have a problem with “toy crack.”  Talk about shit for taste – if it’s a cheap robot with a gimmick, I must have it.  But even I have to admit there’s no substitute for the funk of 70s design.  That’s why the Bandai chogokin and popynica gashapon have been a personal obsession lately.  They combine the quick fix of toy crack with the old-school love of vintage diecast.

The Palisades Baron Karza reissue fits squarely into this high-grade gashapon mold.  Sure, he’s the same size as his Mego ancestor.  But make no mistake:  this Karza is world-class toy crack.  Like the chogokin gashapon, Karza’s an exact visual replica of the Mego version.  He’s got that grim, Vader-esque expression.  (And don’t tell me again that Karza and Force Commander came before Darth and his Stormtroopers – I refuse to be confused with the facts.)  The monochromatic body that shows off the H.R. Giger structure hidden by Geeg’s clown colors.  And projectiles galore.  Put him on a shelf, he’d be a great substitute for the Karza I never had as a child.

No way.  He’s a magnemo, and a cheap one, at that.  He’s going to be played with, hard.  Toss the box.  Interchange the parts.  You’ll need a screwdriver to make a centaur with the included Andromeda, at least on the clear versions.  Who cares?  The horsie is an accessory, like that weird gun thing that made the ST Grendizer look like a sheriff.  Although it makes a neat tank.


Let’s talk about the variants.  To me, the Micronauts were all about clear and chrome.  The three repro Karza versions have it – chrome on the black Andromeda, clear and red-clear throughout the other sets.  So it’s not the white-glove chrome of the SOC Getters, nor crystal-mode clarity.  We’re talking toy crack here.  I especially dig the clear-red version.  It looks suitably evil, yet easily gaudy enough to be “Leader of the evil Acroyear, enemy of the Micronauts.”

There’s been much talk of the QC problems with Palisades’ Micronauts reissues.  I come here not to bury Karza, but to praise him.  For twenty-five bucks, I challenge you to find a better equipped gashapon of a classic 70s toy.  Sure, you get amazing engineering in the Gundam Archenemies for that price, and all the over-wrought 90s design that goes with it.  Or you could spend thirty on the riotous colors of perfect Geeg reissue (without Panzeroid, of course).  This month, Karza’s my fix.  I’ll take three.

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