Godzilla is Godzilla. I know that’s probably the smartest comment you’ve seen all day, but when you hear the name Godzilla you pretty much know what you’re getting. When you want to see some nutzoid designs, you’ve got to spread your focus to the larger Godzilla universe beyond the gigantic green dude. That’s where you end up with big robots like M.O.G.U.E.R.A., which stands for Mobile Operation Godzilla Universal Expert Robot Aero-Type.
M.O.G.U.E.R.A. is an updated version of a similar creature called, simply, Moguera, from a 1957 movie called The Mysterians. That earlier version showed up later on the TV show Godzilla Island, where presumably the Skipper kept hitting Godzilla in the head with his skipper hat. M.O.G.U.E.R.A. showed up in his updated and acronymed form in Godzilla Vs. Space Godzilla, and that’s the form that this toy represents.
M.O.G.U.E.R.A. is the third MonsterArts figure I’ve bought from the Godzilla universe now, and one constant among them is an extreme level of faithfulness to what’s on screen. These figures are a lot like holding a small 3D screenshot. With some deft photoshopping, I’m pretty positive that a toy could be easily inserted into a screen capture from the movie and nobody would be the wiser. It’s scary accurate. He’s got a ton of panel details and looks every bit as metal as he’s supposed to be. On that note, M.O.G.U.E.R.A. is a heavy toy. There are some die-cast elements to him, so he’s got a nice heft, and the sculpt and paint are so immaculate it’s hard to tell which parts are plastic and which are metal.
Articulation is a bit of a mix, which I knew going in. His design is set up so there are going to have to be some concessions to some of his articulation points. While I’m usually a proponent of as much articulation as possible, I’m willing to let some of that hampered movement slide because he has a bit more than I was expecting.
His head will turn, but only slightly. It’s on a ball joint, so you can get some left and right motion out of it, but if you try and turn it too far, it will pop off. His nosedrill, however, spins.
His shoulders have a wide range of movement, and he can put his arms straight out by his side without problem. His elbows bend, but the design does get in the way slightly, so he can’t quite get a full 90 degrees, but he can get enough to aim his pincers at his opponent. Pincer hands can pop off, so there is a full rotation there.
He has some waist swivel; there’s about as much give there as there is in his head.
His legs are where the majority of the stunting comes in. While his legs themselves are fully articulated, with ball joints at the hips and full knee articulation, the large armored section that covers the front and back of his legs pretty much renders that articulation moot. He can get a little forward and backward motion, but he won’t be doing any lunging or sidekicks.
His tail has two points of articulation.
M.O.G.U.E.R.A. comes with a great range of accessories. He comes with a pair of permanently closed pincers and an alternate opening set that allow you to see the missile inside. Since this second set closes to resemble the actual permanently closed set, I just use the opening set as my default. Both missiles are removable and peg into the end of a long segmented missile contrail to give M.O.G.U.E.R.A. that “just fired” look. There are supports to hold up the contrails if you want him posed with them a long time and want to prevent warping, but they’re sturdy enough to be posed without the supports for a limited time he also comes with a chest maser that can be plugged into a hole in his chest. Press a button on his back to pop out the default chest piece and the maser can be inserted into his chest. He also comes with a blast effect that needs support from one of the included stands in order to stay in mid-burst.
Bandai – S.H. MonsterArts M.O.G.U.E.R.A.
Godzilla is Godzilla. I know that’s probably the smartest comment you’ve seen all day, but when you hear the name Godzilla you pretty much know what you’re getting.
M.O.G.U.E.R.A. also has the ability to be transformed into flight mode. He comes with a second neck to allow you to pose him looking ahead while flying. It’s not a mode I see myself using all too often, but it is a neat alternative.
As part of the 50th anniversary collection, Hasbro released a vehicle boxed set featuring Flint with an updated V.A.M.P. MKII based on its vintage look and a Cobra Eel with Night Landing Raft. This set was originally released as an SDCC exclusive, and, like many exclusives, it had a retail version that hit shortly after. Today we’ll be checking out the retail version of the latest G.I. Joe vehicle set: Danger at the Docks.
The packaging is pretty standard fare. It’s eye catching thanks to the always fun artwork that the Joe brand is known for, and the two figures are packaged in a window so as to be visible. The box is surprisingly small for containing so much, but of course this is due to the fact that assembly is required.
Flint and the V.A.M.P. MKII
Although most of it has been seen before, the sculpting on this entire set is top-notch. The V.A.M.P. is an update that really keeps its vintage flare. All the details that you’d expect are sculpted: rocket launchers, removable water canisters, tow hitches, etc. It’s just a fun vehicle that I would have loved to play with as a kid. The truck has to be assembled, but once completed, has a relatively sturdy feel to it, although I did have some trouble snapping the doors on. One thing to note is that the instructions omit the part about connecting the cables to the rocket launcher, so be sure you do that before you snap it together. And, of course, each vehicle comes with a decal sheet.
Flint is another great update to his classic look, and Hasbro has made good use out of old parts. He now has the ribbed turtleneck that the Joes seem to love, and his sleeves are a good bit longer than the vintage figure, but I think it works. Flint comes with a pistol, shotgun, two knives, and some pretty cool webgear for his shotgun shells. Articulation is standard and Flint has the jointed wrists, but no cool rocker ankles. The construction is top-notch and I didn’t have any issues with gummy plastic like I did with my recently purchased 50th anniversary Destro.
The paint on Flint is decent, although there is a bit of slop here and there, and the vehicle is as basic as most Joe vehicles. The real topic of conversation is the SDCC vs. retail versions of this set. The SDCC version has Flint and the V.A.M.P. painted in the vintage colors with the Cobra Eel and Night Landing craft sporting the more modern look. The retail version has the opposite. Flint and the V.A.M.P. take the modern approach while the Eel and raft are in their classic colors. Fans will surely grumble, but it’s a smart move on Hasbro’s part to get collectors to buy two sets. I personally prefer the vintage paint on the figures and the modern paint on the vehicles, but, sadly, I’ll just have to settle for the retail combination.
Cobra Eel and the Night Raft
Cobra Eel was in my top five favorite G.I. Joes as a kid, so it’s always a pleasure seeing him on the toy shelves.
The Night Raft is the same vehicle that was released way back in 1985. This thing is nearly 30 years old, and other than perhaps having the rope around the boat be a separate piece, I don’t see too many ways to improve the sculpt. It’s simple, a lot of fun, and actually floats. I’m not the biggest fan of the mounted machine gun, so that’ll most likely be left off. I definitely would have preferred the SDCC version of the raft, but you can’t really argue with that classic Cobra blue.
Cobra Eel is another mix of existing parts that work extraordinarily well, but it’s always been the gear that makes him such a fun figure to own. Eel comes with his helmet (w/ air hose), back pack, spear gun, machine gun, and two sets of flippers. One set of flippers is the standard pair that plugs into the foot hole like a big snow shoe, while the other is completely awesome. The flippers fit over the boot as it should and there is even a joint that offers some poseability. My one issue is that the mouthpiece and air tubes that connect to the backpack want to pop off every time you look at it, so I definitely see some superglue in his future.
Another big sell for collectors is the foot locker that is just packed with stuff. I won’t even attempt to inventory what’s in there — just know it’s overflowing with guns, knives, and even a few hatchets. The lockers themselves have holes and pegs so that you can stack them, which is an interesting addition, but unless they start releasing these lockers with single figures, one is probably all I’ll get.
The G.I. Joe 50th anniversary sets are really bringing the value these days, and at $29.99, this is another win for team Hasbro. You get two well-executed figures, two FUN vehicles, a weapons locker, and a metric ton of accessories.
Yo Joe. Yo Joe, indeed.
Thanks for reading!Hasbro – G.I. Joe: Danger at the Docks As part of the 50th anniversary collection, Hasbro released a vehicle boxed set featuring Flint with an updated V.A.M.P.
“You underestimate the power of the Dark Side. If you will not fight, then you will meet your destiny.”
When a new (and popular) action figure line gets around to making a figure of a property’s most iconic and popular character, you know there will be plenty of online chatter, debate, and discussion. Hasbro’s Star Wars Black Series is certainly no exception, and with the upcoming release of the fifth series, we are finally getting that iconic character in Darth Vader. With the exception of possibly Mickey Mouse (Vader’s cousin by marriage), there may not be any fictional character out there that is more recognizable than old Anakin Skywalker, so, as you can imagine, even ahead of his release, discussion and debate are already running high. Well, we might be adding more fuel to the fire by getting Vader a bit early, but here he is, in all of his dark and plastic glory.
Remember the original point of the Black Series line: to get us Star Wars figures in 1:12 scale (for the first time) and have them be the ultimate representations of the characters. Now, that could be for different costumes/incarnations/appearances/whatever, but delivering Star Wars action figures with care and detail like never before was the whole original point. Now, the measure of that success could be a whole debate on its own, but I would personally award the line a low “B-” or a high “C+” for the work done so far. We have gotten a lot of great characters, so I cannot argue with diversity (though, they could come a little faster), but the overall success of execution varies greatly from character to character. On the one hand, you have figures like Darth Maul and the Sand Trooper that are solid “A+” offerings, but then there are figures like Obi-Wan Kenobi and R2-D2 that fare much lower in terms of success. Most of the figures fall somewhere in between, though, and little improvements like paint, articulation choices, and material usage could go a long way.
With most everything we have seen so far, I think collectors have been okay with being okay on several issues. That is to say, people know that improvements can be made, but figures still get a lot of love because there are good parts too, and everyone that collects the 1:12 scale REALLY wants Star Wars. So Han Solo and Jedi Luke are regarded (mostly) as overall successes while still having very minimal and flat paint jobs, especially on their faces. A figure like Obi-Wan needs a lot more work to get him to be successful, but, even with him, you can tell that the work Gentle Giant is doing has been very, very solid. Hopefully that trend will continue and Hasbro will utilize them for most of the work on this line.
Most of the issues seem to be coming from the final production phase, and while that is completely correctable, the outcries have not been so loud as to cause Hasbro to scramble and respond. Yet. See, Darth Vader is going to be the absolute barometer for this line up to this point, so his success as a figure will actually have a likely impact to the line as a whole. If fans cannot get a good Darth Vader, then what is the point, ya know? This might be part of the reason it took over a year to get him into the line, but we are now able to see if he as been worth the wait. Well, has he?
The short answer is, “kinda,” but you just knew you would be getting the longer answer with the article. Fans were already on the prowl over the possible issues with the likeness of his iconic helmet, so that would be a matter of discussion no matter what, but there are several things going on with this figure, a lot of them are good, some of them are not. The fact that the verdict is split is probably enough for some people to riot because Vader should be perfect, and, really, I can see the point, but I would be remiss if I did not say that there are some really great things going on with this figure as well. Let’s dive in, and we will start with the tough stuff and save the good for the end. I like to end on a high note.
Simply put, I have three major areas nitpicks with this figure: the helmet, the soft goods, and the left hand. Now, my level of issue varies wildly between these things, but they are issues for me nonetheless. I realize that I am generally easy to please with toys, so you might find some things that are more of an impact, but these things always vary from collector to collector. Or, I could be too hard on this figure and maybe I am making issues out of nothing, so you can let me know in the comments below if that is the case too.
To start with the easy one, I don’t like the left hand on this figure. It is posed in that super-iconic “reaching” scene pose from the big climax of the Empire Strikes Back, and while that seems like a great choice on the surface, there are a few things wrong with it. First, this figure, by nature of the removable helmet and card back art alone, is Darth Vader from Return of the Jedi, so that makes the pose of the hand inaccurate right away. Now, normally I would not get into such a fuss over something like that, but since we are BOUND to get a Vader from ESB in this line too, and the fact that the hand severely limits the figure’s ability to be posed with both hands wielding the lightsaber, it is off-putting to me. I don’t know, it could be argued that this is a “force choke” hand as well, but it still inhibits that grip. This figure ships along side Jedi Luke Skywalker, so you are SUPPOSED to pose these babies locked in a duel, so the grasping hand throws that off, which is a shame. Am I being too harsh? I don’t think I am, really.
The second major issue I have with the figure is the use of the soft goods. For the sake of full disclosure, if you don’t know, I am (usually) very much against the use of soft goods on action figures. However, with this line I have been more open to them and the custom made cloaks I have gotten for my Jedi figures have actually improved them in my eyes, so I can be good with cloth being a part of this line. That being said, I think the cape itself is great and I have no issues with it at all; it is big and flowing, but the material is soft enough that it can look natural. I am not as big of a fan of the cloth used on the “skirt” piece, and I really don’t like what is used on the torso.
As iconic as it may be, there is no denying that Darth Vader’s outfit is pretty strange. Now, some of it has to be functional to, you know, keep him alive, but much of it is to project a threatening visage of the biggest badass in the galaxy. Then there is a skirt. I have always found it weird and it is especially apparent in figure form, but Hasbro was kind of behind the 8-ball on this. It has to be present or the costume would be inaccurate, but it has to be flexible, otherwise all of that articulation would be useless. I know there could have been some possible soft rubbers used for this, but the fact that the skirt is cloth is not what bugs me about it so much, it is just that there is a LOT of it. I personally think they could have gone with less and it would have looked better, but for posing sake, you kind of have to navigate your way around it so it will look natural.
I do think the cloth on the torso fails, though, especially since it could have been done in plastic and would have looked much better. The plain cloth covers up a lot of great sculpted detail on the shirt, so if it was going to do that anyway, I wish the pieces were sculpted plastic so it would jell better. The articulation could have been preserved the same way we have been seeing in the line so far and it would have kept it from being a giant wall of cloth around some very intricate details. I hope that a change for this is something that Hasbro considers on their next Vader figure.
The third and final issue I take with this figure is also the biggest and most apparent: the helmet. This is Darth-freaking-Vader’s helmet we are talking about here, and it is the ONE thing that you absolutely have to get right for the Black Series line. So, while there are some cool things about it (mostly related to the removable feature that I will get into below), aesthetically, it just misses the mark. Now, before I get into this, obviously what we got was what was requested, so the artistic choices/changes were driven from either Hasbro or Disney/Lucasfilm’s direction. I say this because the details are solid, so the issues with the helmet are not something that you can probably pin on Gentle Giant.
So what is the main issue with the helmet? Well, really, it is just that it looks off. Personally, I think it looks too big (think the Vader send-up Dark Helmet) and that probably comes from the fact that the helmet is removable. Frankly, this could have been an opportunity to include two different heads (like has been done a lot with this line), but at the same time, I can see Hasbro’s desire to be able to recreate the “unmasking” scene from RotJ. That being said, having a good looking helmet is more important to me and aside from the opportunity to take a picture of it for this review, I will likely never pose my figures with Luke holding his unmasked and broken father.
Along with looking too big, the “eyes” on the helmet look, well, a little sad. I think that has a bit to do with the shape of the eyes as well as the elongated mask as it moves to the jaw line, but this figure just does not elicit Vader’s classic visage to me. Now, I know the helmet changed, even from movie to movie, so I need to go over with a fine-toothed comb because this may very well match the RotJ look, but it still feels a bit off to me. The reddish eyes don’t speak to me and I think it makes him look less imposing, but that might be a personal preference. I don’t know, maybe the Episode 4 or 5 helmet is burned into my brain more, but it seems like it should be slightly smaller and more sleek. Plus, that damned dome needs to be SHINY and that is just not the case here. I am going to hit this with some gloss coat or Future wax, but it just doesn’t shine and reflect like it should.
Am I being too harsh on this? Is there something I am missing? That very well could be the case, or maybe my expectations were too high for this, I just wanted Vader’s helmet to be PERFECT. I highly suspect that this is a production process thing, so I would really like to see the original sculpt or even a prototype output before the molds were cut and hidden head was accommodated. At any rate, I am already clamoring for another incarnation of Vader.
Now, all that being said, there are still a lot of things about this figure that I do like. There is a TON of great sculpted detail throughout on this figure, and the majority of the costume hits all of the perfect notes. I love the texturing and detail in the suite pieces on the arms, legs and torso, and the little “control pad” doohickeys are all well represented. He has giant black boots, and those work with the figure’s large stature to tower over most of the others in this line, so the height and silhouette of the figure are both really nice. The shoulder/chest overlay is fine and is made of a soft plastic that does not inhibit much of the articulation, but the shoulder pads are silver, and I *think* they should be black. That is getting really punchy, though.
I actually like the Sebatian Shaw Vader head as well, and the sculpt does the look a lot of justice. It really captures the sullen look of Vader as he speaks to Luke, knowing his fate. The head is actually painted a lot better than most of the human heads in the line, but it is a little shiny for my tastes. The internal part of the helmet is really cool too, and the details from the side of the mask and the “voice” section are all well done. Since the helmet is removable, I’m glad it comes off in two pieces for accuracy’s sake.
Vader has all of the articulation that you can pretty much expect from a SWB figure, and none of it is inhibited to the point of note. This figure’s hips are a little loose, so I am hoping that is not endemic, but even so, they are not that bad. This figure does have different neck/head articulation than the rest as the joint is actually set into the torso, instead of at the top of the head. I am sure this has to do with the removable helmet aspect, but you can throw away your dreams of putting Chewbacca’s head on Vader’s body right now.
Finally, Vader does come with his iconic red-bladed lightsaber and it is executed well. The hilt might be a little short, but it can still be gripped easily with both hands (if the left one wasn’t so splayed). I do kind of wish that it had a loop to hook on his belt like Luke does, but I am not going to complain because there is no way I’m displaying this figure without lightsaber firmly in hand for dueling.
Sorry, I have gone on too long by this point, so I am going to wrap it up. Just to try to boil down my feelings on this figure: for the most part, it satisfies some of my itch for a 1:12 Darth Vader figure and there is a lot to like, but I am already dreaming of an ANH or ESB Vader. I think making a solid helmet will help with a lot of my issues, but making sure the shape comes through production well is also an area of focus. I really wish this would have been the “perfect” Vader right out of the gate, but there is NO WAY that more Darth Vader figures aren’t coming in this line. Angles play a big part of photographing this figure, so he looks better in some shots than others, but there is no denying that he looks cool surrounded by a bunch of Stormtroopers. So grab this Vader to get your fix, but be sure to sound off about what you think the next incarnation needs to put the Ultimo Hombre squarely at the top of the Black Series pile.
Additional LinksHasbro – Star Wars Black Series Darth Vader “You underestimate the power of the Dark Side. If you will not fight, then you will meet your destiny.”
Mazinger Z. I love Mazinger Z. Great little anime from back in the day. I missed out on Threezero’s Mazinger, but it looks like there is another opportunity to get into the Mazinger Z fold with Threezero’s Aphrodite. And she looks amazing! Read on for the full press release:
Morning Rush – Threezero Aphrodite A – full reveal and pre-order info Mazinger Z. I love Mazinger Z. Great little anime from back in the day. I missed out on Threezero’s Mazinger, but it looks like there is another opportunity to get into the Mazinger Z fold with…
We want to introduce you Aphrodite A, which is the second figure from the Mazinger Z collectibles line. Aphrodite A is a fully-articulated (including the fingers) and highly detailed collectible figure that stands 15″ (approximately 38cm) tall and includes light-up LED eyes, cockpit and afterburners on her backpack . In correspondence to the upgrades she receives in Mazinger Z story, Aphrodite A also includes Koushiryoku Missile that actually eject from her chest.
We will open the pre-order for this figure on September 5th 09:00am Hong Kong time at our online store: http://www.threezerostore.com
Aphrodite A price at http://www.threzerostore.com is going to be USD 290 / HKD 2250 and it will be coming with the following exclusive item: severed head of Garada K7. We want to share two concept art images with you (please see the album), while we are working on the final version
Aphrodite A is a giant mech originally built as a symbol for peace by Dr. Yumi from the remains of Aphrodite for geological research. Although this mech originally lacked weapons, it was later upgraded for combat with the Koushiryoku Missile for offensive battle so that his daughter, Sayaka Yumi could pilot Aphrodite A alongside Koji Kabuto in Mazinger Z.
Mazinger Z is a Japanese manga written and illustrated by Go Nagai in 1972 that has since been adapted and continued in various multimedia formats including various manga, anime and video game incarnations. The original manga and anime tell the story of Koji Kabuto and the titular mecha Mazinger Z as they fight the Mechanical Beasts of Dr. Hell with the support of his partner and love interest, Sayaka in Aphrodite A, and his younger brother Shiro Kabuto.
Aphrodite A specs:
* figure stands 15 inches (approximately 38cm) tall.
* highly detail mechanic parts.
* incredibly paint application to highlight all the details with weathering effect.
* articulating fingers.
* Koushiryoku Missile (ejectable missiles)
* lights up eyes, cockpit and both afterburner on her backpack.
© GO NAGAI/DYNAMIC PLANNING
BBTS has a great sale going on right now, so go check ‘em out for some steals and deals!
The Four Horsemen have updated their Gothitropolis: Ravens Kickstarter with shipping dates!
THE NOVEMBER MAN
Director : Roger Donaldson
Cast : Pierce Brosnan, Luke Bracey, Olga Kurylenko, Eliza Taylor, Catherine Scorsone, Bill Smitrovich, Will Patton, Lazar Ristovski, Patrick Kennedy
Genre : Action/Thriller
Opens : 27 August 2014
Running time: 108 mins
For something that, as Dutch pointed out, was an ugly brothertrucker, there have been some gorgeous Predator toys. This one is no exception.
NECA has taken advantage of the fact that a ton of their current cinematic properties received video game treatment on the original Nintendo Entertainment System by releasing a handful of figures colored just like the original sprites. VeeBee reviewed an earlier video game version of Jason from Friday the 13th HERE, and fireball 13z took a look at their funky-colored Robocop HERE. So now we’re bringing you a look at the Predator figure.
The packaging differs from the standard by replicating the look of the old Nintendo boxes, which is a very neat touch that adds to the overall nostalgic gut punch.
There’s not a lot to say about the figure itself, mainly because it doesn’t bring a whole lot of new to the table. It’s the standard Predator body that those of us who have been collecting the line are fully aware of, with a full complement of articulation. The selling point of this figure rests on two things: your nostalgic attachment to the video game, or your love of awesomely colored Predator toys.
I never had the original Nintendo system, so I have no nostalgic attachment, but I do dig pretty Predators, and this is a striking-looking figure that fits well with the Lava Planet Predator. The various tones of blue with sporadic touches of purple give off just enough of an 8-bit effect to him while still retaining the Predator feel. Where some of the other video game-styled offerings are very clearly one-offs that don’t quite fit into the universe they’re a part of, there’s really nothing about this Predator’s coloring that doesn’t allow him to stand with the rest of the Predator army. He’s just a little blue, but that’s just nighttime camouflage, right? I don’t really care. He’s snazzy, and snazzy needs no excuses!NECA – Video Game-styled Predator For something that, as Dutch pointed out, was an ugly brothertrucker, there have been some gorgeous Predator toys.
Raam-Boh! Force of Free-dum!
… haven’t heard that? Well, I’m sorry you were born in a less awesome decade.
My quest for military figures and vehicles has brought me back to the golden age of action figures, and no toy line better epitomizes the 1980s better than Rambo: Forces of Freedom by Coleco.
I suppose we could talk about the political and social ramifications of an “R-rated” movie about…