I’ve never been a car guy. I just don’t care about them. To this day I don’t drive. I guess that’s why some of my favorite childhood Transformers toys were the ones that transformed into bugs, dinosaurs, and animals. The Dinobots and Insecticons were introduced into the comics and cartons very early on and were key players in the war between the Autobots and Decepticons. When it came to the action figures, my brother Doug and I were missing 1 key character from each of those groups. We never had the Pterodactyl, Swoop, nor the Grasshopper, Kickback. Luckily the absence of one character from a sub-team didn’t matter so much back then because those early Transformers predated the combiner craze which were so prevalent soon after.
Combiners were big robots who were generally made up of 5 or 6 relatively small and affordably priced Transformer toys. Doug and I had complete sets of the Constructicons, Combaticons, Stunticons, and Protectabots; plus we had a handful of arms and legs from other combiners. One combiner that I always wanted to complete was Predaking, who was made up of the Predacons. The Predacons were robots who transformed into animals so they were right up my alley. Unique alt modes aside, the Predacons stood out to me out for a couple of other reasons. They had a very eye catching color scheme. Devestator was the first combiner and all of the 6 robots that merged to create him were green and purple which gave him a nice uniform look. All of the later combiners were made up of robots who didn’t share a color scheme so you’d end up with a big robot with one black arm, one red arm, a yellow leg, and a blue torso. Combiners like Bruticus and Menasor looked more like patchwork Frankensteins as opposed to a cohesive unit. The Predacons all shared a black, red, yellow, and orange color scheme so they looked like a real team and Predaking didn’t look like a slapped together afterthought.
The other thing that set Predaking apart from the other combiners is that he wasn’t made up of 4 small Transformers who served as limbs with a larger one as the torso; he was made up of 5 equally sized transformers; and they were all big (and by big I mean medium). They were on par with the Dinobots and Seekers and other medium/deluxe class Transformer toys. I liked that they were bigger but this also meant they were more expensive which is probably why I never got the whole set. Of the 5 Predacons I only owned 2; the leader Razor Claw who transformed into a lion and formed Predaking’s head and body, and Rampage who transformed into a Tiger and formed one of Predaking’s arms. Even just the one armed torso looked pretty cool though I longed to have the other 3, Divebomb (an eagle), Headstrong (a rhino), and Tantrum (a bull), so that a completely formed Predaking could wreak havoc on my Autobot forces. Sadly, it never came to pass and I only ever had a one armed hovering torso. Eventually I sold off Razor Claw and Rampage along with the rest of my Transformers collection.
My interest in Transformers was rekindled in the mid-2000s when Hasbro started making new figures inspired by the classic characters I grew up with and Dreamwave began publishing excellent new Transformers comics.
If I had a ton of money and space I would love to go back and repurchase all of the vintage Transformers I once had but I don’t have much money or space so that’s unlikely to ever happen. The modern figures are generally superior anyway so I’m content to collect them. The problem with that, however, is that Hasbro’s really slow about producing new versions of the characters that I really want. In the 10 or so years since they started releasing classic-inspired figures they’ve failed to produce any Predacons or Dinobots; with the exception of Grimlock. It’s a travesty.
This is why so many third party companies have sprung up to fill the voids in our collections. Many of the best Transformer figures I own, such as Gears and Bombshell, were produced by unlicensed third party companies. The problem with third party products is they tend to be very expensive. Multiple third party companies have begun releasing their version of the Predacons but the price per figure is jaw dropping, ranging from about $110 to $200. To assemble a complete third party Predaking would cost me between $600 to $1,000. Not gonna happen.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from high quality third party figures are crap-quality boot-legs.
When it came to acquiring a Predaking for my Transformers shelf that’s the route I went. I wouldn’t exactly recommend bootlegs as they’re of poor quality and easily breakable. Usually the plastic is brittle and the paintjobs are sloppy. However, this entire figure, which came on a large blister card, only cost me $27. Free shipping to boot.
I ordered it from China a couple of years ago from an ebay seller who was offering similarly priced replicas of many other Combiners. I was tempted to buy more than one but figured I’d start with Predaking to sample the quality. I never did order any of the others but I am relatively impressed with the quality of this figure.
The color scheme looks good with his various parts molded in the appropriate color plastics in most cases. Other than the fact that it’s been shrunk down in size from the original it looks pretty darn similar. From a distance he’s quite impressive and could easily be mistaken for the real deal. However, when disassembled the individual pieces are not very impressive. Only when snapped together does it looks passable on my shelf as a real Transformer. He’s relatively sturdy and he stays together quite well. I’ve never had any issues with him tipping over or falling apart. I was tempted to take him apart so I could take pictures of the individual pieces for this review but decided not to push my luck. I wouldn’t recommend buying this if you want to display each Predacon separately but if you’re looking for an assembled Predaking for your shelf then I’d say go for it. Despite the fact that this toy was likely made using lead paint, and several other materials that are probably slowing killing me, I’m happy with this purchase. The Chinese know how to bootleg. Mexicans…not so much. 7 out of 10.
After taking a brief hiatus from toy reviews while I moved across town I’m now ready to get back to work. On the day before I turned in the keys to my old apartment, my second-to-last package from the G.I. Joe Club’s Figure Subscription Service (FSS) showed up in my mailbox. This most recent shipment included Keel Haul and Bombardier. Keel Haul is a great addition to my team. I never owned the original as a kid because he was only available with the massive U.S.S. FLAGG air craft carrier. I’ll sing his praises eventually but for now I want to talk about Bombardier.
I’m old so there was no such thing as the internet when I first starting collecting Joes. There was practically no way I could’ve known about the existence of G.I. Joe figures that were available exclusively in foreign countries. It wasn’t until the brand’s rebirth in the early 2000s that I learned about foreign rarities such as Cobra De Aco, Cobra Mortal, and Quarrel. All of those figures were made up of existing parts from American released figures but they were painted differently and given new personas.
Now, while the World Wide Web was a well-oiled machine by the 2000s, my introduction to most of these figures didn’t actually come from the internet; at least not directly. My searches for figure reviews lead me to Justin Bell’s website, Generals Joes. That site pointed me in the direction of a published archive of foreign G.I. Joe figures published by Ron Connor and Derek Anderson. I ordered the book and it opened my eyes to the vast world of foreign figures. Ron & Derek later published 2 more volumes which covered the expanse of the new-sculpt era in detail. Even though websites like Generals Joes and YoJoe are fantastic resources I would still highly recommend you order yourself a set of these books. I love flipping through them every couple of months.
In the back of Volume 1 there was a wanted-poster-style ad offering an award to anyone who could identify the mysterious Joe figure pictured in the ad. The figure was a repainted version of Flash, the Joe’s laser trooper from the original wave of 13 Joe figures released in 1982. The ad was very intriguing. How could there be a Joe figure floating around out there that nobody in the fandom could identify, even in the technology age?
Well the figure was eventually identified. It was discovered that the figure originated from the UK. It was a prototype from a wave of Action Force (The British version of G.I. Joe) figures which never made it to retail. Once the figure’s history was known he became a hot commodity to collectors. Unfortunately there weren’t any Bombardier figures to be had.
This is one area where the Collector’s Club has excelled, providing collectors with figures of characters that they likely never would’ve owned otherwise. The figures I tagged above are all great examples of the Club producing modern versions of highly sought after foreign figures. It was a no-brainer that they would eventually produce a modern era Bombardier.
I was very excited when it was announced that Bombardier would be included in the FSS 2.0. While I understand why the Club repainted a 25th anniversary Flash to create this figure (an homage to the original Bombardier being a repaint of the original Flash) I wish they had opted to swap out a few parts. I love the original 1982 Flash figure and I was never happy with the modern version released in the 25th anniversary series. I found his legs were too long, his ankles poorly designed so he didn’t stand up straight, his helmet did sit on his head properly, and his face sculpt was ugly. Because Bombardier is a straight repaint of that figure he suffers from all of the same problems. Oddly enough though, none of that stuff bother me as much with this figure. His base has two pegs, where Flash’s only had 1, which takes care of the ankle issue for the most part. The fact that Bombardier has more paint application than Flash tends to make the figure look less lanky, and the cool blue visor hides his ugly mug.
The saving grace of this figure really is the paint job. I think the yellow pads with red trim on the off-white uniform looks great. It’s what made the original, unidentified version so intriguing. It’s a unique color scheme and I think he’ll look great on my Joe shelf once I get it all set up.
Bombardier has a pair of large guns and a cool little tank drone.
One aspect that I really like about this figure is his file card as it’s the first chance the character has ever had to be fleshed out. His file name is Connor Tree which I’m quite sure is a nod to the Joe fans that uncovered the mystery of the original figure, Ron Connor and Dave Tree. The card says that Bombardier was captured by the Red Shadows (The Action Force equivalent to Cobra) where he was tortured and forced to watch his entire family be executed with the exception of one family member who was a sleeper agent of the Red Shadows. I’m sure the Club is going to follow up on this story line later. Another solid figure from the Club who’s rating suffers a bit because a mediocre figure was used as his base. 7 out of 10.
It’s been a few weeks now since I’ve posted anything on this site. I want to thank those of you who have stuck around. I hope to get back into the swing of things very soon and return to posting reviews regularly. I just went through a break-up and a move so my regular routine has been a little out of whack as of late. However I am now settled into my new apartment and have begun rebuilding the mighty man-cave.
My new man-cave is slightly bigger than the last one so I was hoping to have even more of my collection displayed this time around. However, as I’ve been unpacking my toys my mind has been boggled by how they seemingly multiplied while in transit. Where my 3 foot shelves once housed my Masters of the Universe Classics collection, my MOTU 200X collection, and my DC collection, they now seem only big enough to hold my Classics figures. My DC figures have had to graduate to their own bookshelf while sadly my 200X figures will probably need to be boxed up.
I went out and bought a new cube style shelf for my Joe figures the other day but quickly discovered that it was only big enough to hold my Cobra army. I guess I’ll need to go get a matching one to display my Joes.
It’s been a whole month since I’ve reviewed a G.I. Joe figure. I think that must be a record for this site. All of my Joes are packed away for the coming move along so they’re not as easily accessible for photos as they once were. But the other day another package from the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club arrived in the mail. This one containing my 7th and 8th figures from the sophomore figure subscription service (FSS). It would be easier to just keep these guys in their packages until after the move but I opened them up for you, my faithful readers, so that I could post this review.
This latest shipment of figures consisted of Night Force Lt. Falcon and Cesspool. Falcon was not a figure that I was excited about but Cesspool was one of the figures I was most looking forward to from FSS 2.0.
The first Cesspool was released in 1991. This was a few years after I had stopped collecting Joe figures as a kid. By ’91 the line was becoming gimmick heavy with multiple sub-teams. 1991 brought us the Air Commandos, the Sonic Fighters and the brand tackled environmental issues with the inclusion of the Eco-Warriors. The Eco Joes were brightly colored and featured water spraying weapons and color change plastic. The environmentally conscious Joes were led by Flint, the Joe team’s Warrant Officer who was already a well-established character.
Their opposition on the Cobra side, Toxo-Vipers and Sludge Vipers, were led by a brand new character, Cesspool, a crooked businessman with a penchant for pollution. Even though I was not collecting Joes at the time I thought Cesspool made for an interesting addition to the Cobra ranks. The Cobra army consisted mostly of nameless troopers so it was nice anytime a new “name” Cobra character was introduced. The white hair and grotesque scar on his face gave him a look quite different from any Joe figure we’d seen before.
Cesspool and the other Eco-Warriors seemed to make little to no lasting impression on most Joe fans. They had a few brief appearances in the comic book and the DIC cartoon but were then forgotten. None of the new characters introduced in the sub-set were ever revisited in the new-sculpt era or in the modern line; until now.
Since I have no nostalgic attachment to the character, Cesspool was not a figure I was clamouring for, and yet he’s exactly the kind of character who I like to see included in the FSS. I love how the club doesn’t shy away from any era of Joe with their character choices. Cesspool has such a unique look and an interesting backstory that I’m sure he’s got a few fans out there. He’s a character that I’m happy to add to my collection.
Cesspool’s body is made up of a mish-mash of parts from previously released figures such as Sci-Fi and the Techno-Viper. The parts work well together but they don’t do a great job of replicating the look of the original figure. There are a few key elements missing such as the massive cobra emblem on his chest and his metallic golden arm. However the paint job is very well done and ties all of the mixed parts together nicely. I actually prefer the new biohazard logo on his chest plate to the old Cobra logo.
Since Cesspool has such a distinctive face the Club had no choice but to sculpt an entirely new head. They really knocked it out of the park on this head sculpt. Cesspool looks fantastic. The evil sneer and that nasty scar, which looks worse than ever, give this figure a ton of personality. The way he’s depicted on the backer card art is also amazing. He looks full-on insane and that seemingly open wound makes me want to look away and cringe. However, if you aren’t a fan of his ugly mug you have the option to display him with his helmet on . The helmet is gold with an orange visor and it’s very Cobra Commander-esque. I’m quite torn as to how I should display him.
For accessories he comes with a repainted version of Barbecue’s backpack, a sludge gun and hose, a smaller sludge pistol, and a suitcase full of money. This figure is the new highlight of FSS 2.0. My crap photos don’t do it justice. 9 out of 10.
Back in November one of my all-time favorite movies, Tank Girl, was released on Blu-ray. Unfortunately none of the retailers in my area bothered to stock the bluray on its release date so I had to turn to ebay. I found a guy who had the movie for a decent price but I always feel gouged on the shipping charges. In order to justify the shipping costs I bought 2 other blurays from him, Godzilla vs Biollante and a Bush concert. And then I waited. Weeks turned into months and no movies arrived. I contacted the seller in early January and without hesitation he refunded my money ( though the movies finally showed up in the mail last week and now I feel guilty).
Anyway, the refund sat in my paypal account rather than being returned to my bank account. Paypal sent me reminders every other day to spend the credit. At that point it felt like free money so I went back to ebay to find something to spend it on. I suppose I could’ve just sought out another retailer selling those DVDs but I was in the mood for some new figures. I wasn’t hunting for anything specific at that particular moment so I turned to my old “to buy” lists that I keep for multiple toy lines. My DC toy list hadn’t been touched in a while so I figured it was time to whittle it down by a figure or two.
I always try to find a seller with at least 2 items I want so that the shipping doesn’t seem so bad when split between them. After a lot of searching I found a guy that had 2 of the figures on my DC want list: Braniac 13 and Superwoman.
The Brainiac is awesome but I’ll talk about him another time, today I’ll be reviewing Superwoman. Now you might be wondering, “Who the hell is Superwoman?” Sadly, even though this figure was on my “want list”, I can’t really tell you. I know very little about her, but truthfully I don’t think there’s much to be known. This figure is from the Vengeance toy line produced by DC Direct. It’s based on a 20o5 storyline from the Batman/Superman comic that was written by Jeff Loeb and illustrated by Ed McGuinness.
When it comes to Jeff Loeb, I can take him or leave him, but when it comes to Ed McGuinness I would buy just about anything with his name on it. I love his art and have told you so in past reviews of toys based on his artwork such as Red Hulk and Superman. Both of those figures did an excellent job of representing Ed’s unique style in 3D. This Superwoman figure doesn’t do as good a job but it’s still pretty decent.
The Vengeance storyline featured multiple variations of Batman and Superman from alternate realities. This Superwoman and her corresponding Batwoman herald from Earth 11 where they are literally Batman and Superman as women. There was no elaborate backstory provided for these characters but Superwoman’s real name is Laurel Kent. Even though they were just a flash in the pan ( I think they appeared once more) and far from original, the Superwoman and Batwoman from Vengeance struck a chord with me. I generally prefer brunettes to blondes so I found this Superwoman, with her cropped black hair and tights, a nice change from the short skirted blondes who usually don the red and blue.
I thought this character looked great when McGuiness drew her but his “just right” amount of cartoonyness didn’t translate quite right into this action figure. It’s a little too cartoony looking for my tastes. The big anime eyes are in such stark contrast to the squinty, barely there eyes of the male characters in the McGuinness series.
The proportions might seem a little off but it’s indicative of the artwork that inspired it so I don’t mind the oversized thighs and skinny waist. The paint job is nice but I wish her outfit was painted in the same metallic blue that was used on the Superman figure as it would tie them together nicely. Articulation is lacking but that’s too be expected on a DC Direct figure. Like all the figures in this line she came packaged with a Superman/Batman hybrid logo display stand which is pretty cool. 7 out of 10.
In my last review I talked about the Iron Spider-Man doll gifted to me by my good buddy Andrew. Today I’ll be reviewing the birthday gift I received from my brother Doug. My big bro got me a vinyl Pop! figurine of Batman and his Batmobile.
I was reluctant to embrace these Pop! figures at first but once they proved themselves to be more than just another short-lived cutesy flash-in-the-pan, a la Mighty Muggs or Blammoids, I accepted them whole heartedly. My collection is now 11 strong and growing.
The diversity of the properties keeps this line fresh month after month. Just this week Strange Adventures (my local comic shop) stocked Pop! figures based on the classic Planet of the Apes films and the Goonies. I’m sure I’ll be adding some of them to my collection soon.
The first Pop! figure I ever acquired was Batman. I’m not even a BIG Batman fan, at least not when compared to other heroes like Spider-Man or Silver Surfer ( Neither of which do I have in Pop! form) but for whatever reason that cute little Batman just really appealed to me. He’s been protecting my work desk from crime for a couple of years now, along with fellow Justice Leaguers Flash and Green Arrow.
I have a sizable list of Pop! figures that I’d like to own. Vanessa whittled my list down by two by getting me Spikor and the Governor for my birthday. Had Doug asked me which Pop! figure I’d like next I probably would’ve told him to get me one of the ninja turtles or Robo-Cop. Another Batman wasn’t exactly high on my list.
But I’m very glad that Doug didn’t ask me. I can, and will, eventually buy myself those other figures. But I never would’ve bought this Batman and Batmobile for myself. Not only because I already have a Batman figure but also because of the nearly $40 price tag. But this figure is rad and I would’ve been missing out.
The Batman I got years ago was black and gray, based on his comic book look. The black and gray version is probably my favorite Batman costume and it seems the best default look for the character in my opinion. This new one is based on the live action TV series from the 60s starring Adam West. Now while I wouldn’t want Batman to wear this costume in the comics necessarily it’s still an iconic costume and it looks fantastic in Pop! form.
At first I assumed this was the exact same mold as my other Batman, only painted differently, but once I got them side by side I realized that this was a completely new sculpt. The utility belts are different, the capes are different lengths, and the 60s one has shorter ears.
The paint job on this Batman is what really elevates it above and beyond my other figure. The classic blue and gray compliment each other nicely. The black face circle is present, and just like on my recently reviewed bendy Batman, it allows for some epic painted mask eyebrows. The lighter blue used for the brows and around the nose really make his features, for lack of a better word, pop. His utility belt is bright yellow with a gold buckle. Funko didn’t have to go that extra mile to have a gold buckle but they did and it’s appreciated.
Then there’s the Batmobile. This thing looks awesome and is my first ever Batmobile toy. And when it comes to Batmobiles there’s no beating the 1960s TV version. This thing looks great on my work desk and everyone stops to admire it. It’s sculpted in a glossy black so it’s shimmery and reflective as though Robin just waxed it. There’s a surprising amount of sculpted detail on this thing. There’s the bat symbol hubcaps, the clear double windshields, the tail fins, the exhaust pipes, and even a steering wheel. I love it. My only gripe would be that the wheels don’t turn. However, it’s not like I was gonna go driving it around on the floor anyway. Since it just sits on the shelf above my desk at work as a display piece the static wheels are probably good thing as this way I don’t have to worry about it rolling off and smashing into a dozen pieces.
Another great present from Doug. 10 out of 10. And, sidenote, it’s Dougie’s birthday today. I’m on my way to meet him for lunch and give him his birthday present. Hopefully he likes his as much as I like mine.
I recently had a birthday as you probably already know if you read this blog regularly. On my actual birthday I went out to my parent’s house for dinner. My folks bought me a Star Wars themed poker set with a light up case which was pretty cool, my sisters Katie and Angie got me some booze and a bunch of candy, and my brother Doug bought me a Pop! Batman figure complete with Batmobile which I plan to review soon.
The next night I hosted a birthday party with all my friends. I had a pretty good turn out and while I told people not to bring gifts I still scored big courtesy of my good pals who don’t follow instructions very well. I got plenty of booze and lots of birthday cards poking fun of my age but as far as “blogable” things go Andrew Vaughan is the only one who “brought it” that night. Andrew got me not one, but two, Spider-Man dolls. It was a nice surprise as they’re really cool figures and I’d never seen them before.
In the late 90s Toy Biz put out a line of 8” Marvel dolls under the banner “Famous Covers”. They were designed as an homage to the Mego toys of the 70s with real cloth clothing. The Famous Covers figures had very nice re-sealable packaging and were geared towards collectors. I own 4 of them; Spider-Girl, Green Goblin, Magneto, and Daredevil. The Daredevil was one of the very first toys I reviewed for this blog way back in December 2011 and I may have been a little harsh on him. he deserved higher than the 4 I gave him.
However, I wouldn’t exactly say that the Famous Covers dolls look cool. The supposed-to-be-tight-but-often-saggy real clothing paired with oversized rubber boots and mittens was not a flattering look. The expressions sculpted on their faces were sometimes a little over the top as well. They lacked the detail one would expect to find on a premium line of super hero dolls geared towards collectors. They almost looked silly. But that’s exactly why I think they’re awesome. Not everything needs to be photorealistic and gritty. Famous Cover dolls were unapologetically bright and goofy and, most importantly, fun. I would’ve loved to have a ton of them as a kid.
Sadly the Famous Covers line has been dead for many years now. I believe Toy Biz produced nearly 40 figures in total. It might actually be a fun line to go back and try to complete one day. However, when I opened my gift from Andrew I discovered that the Famous Covers line wasn’t as dead as I thought it was. Apparently it had gone through a bit of a makeover a few years back. This Iron Spider-Man figure was produced by Hasbro under the banner “Spider-Man Origins”. The copyright on the box reads 2006 which is quite a few years after the last Famous Covers figures were produced by Toy Biz. I’m not sure how many figures Hasbro produced in this scale but the back of the package shows that at least 8 Origins figures were released.
If you’re wondering “what the hell is an Iron Spider-Man?” allow me to quickly explain. During the Civil War story line of 2006-2007 the Marvel heroes were divided on their stance regarding the government mandated registration of super heroes. Captain America lead those who were opposed and Iron Man led those who were pro registration. To help rally heroes to his cause Iron Man convinced Peter Parker to unmask himself in front of the world. After that, Tony Stark gifted this highly advanced Iron Spider-Man suit to Peter. The red and gold costume showed the solidarity between Spidey and Tony. Peter eventually flip flopped and ditched the costume but fans seemed to like it and so it’s been made into action figure form several times. I previously reviewed the 4″ Marvel Universe version.
I like the Iron Spider-Man look but I’m glad it was short lived. This doll presents the look nicely. The costume fits quite well and the figure itself has an appropriately Spider-Man like physique.
The articulation is pretty standard for the Mego style construction which is to say that it’s good but not great; the cloth costumes hinders the movement some. This figure has articulated fingers which is nice but they missed the boat by not giving him hands that can be posed for web shooting. The head is simple but really well done with a metallic sheen to it. Then of course there’s the 3 (yes 3) spider legs that attach to his back. They snap into place and can be swiveled around but it would have been nice if there was at least one extra joint per leg.
I know I’ve mentioned it a few times before but I now I truly believe that the Beast Saga toy line is dead. Starting in the Fall of 2012, the figures were solicited in droves; one wave after the next. That initial explosion of product lasted into the spring. But for the past year there’s been basically no news on the future of the line at all. The final figure that I pre-ordered, the Kangaroo, kept having it’s release date pushed back until the pre-order was eventually cancelled by the e-tailer. So that’s that. I’m left with a decent collection of nearly 50 figures but I guess that’s where it ends. Therefore I’ll have to review them a little more sparingly so I don’t run out of them too soon.
Every figure in the line was available as a standard figure, like this, but also as a clear variant, like this. The clear figures were available only in blind packs so you never knew what figure you were gonna get. These toys aren’t overly expensive but considering that they’re only available online you need to factor in the shipping which makes each figure’s cost around 10 to 12 bucks; and that’s a lot for figures as small as this. For that reason I didn’t go nuts ordering a bunch of blind packs. I didn’t want to pay hefty online prices only to end up with a bunch of doubles. Doubles that nobody in my area would even want to take off my hands. So with each new wave I only ordered 2 blind packs and hoped to get 2 different figures. It worked out well and I didn’t end up saddled with any clear figures doubles.
However my craving for new Beast Saga figures went unanswered for months so I began ordering a couple additional blind packs every time I made an order with BigBadToyStore. I did eventually start getting duplicates. I now have clear doubles of the bird and the turtle, but at least those are two of my favorite figures from the line.
I was surprised a couple of months ago when I stumbled upon a Beast Saga listing on BBTS’s site that I hadn’t seen before. It was a 3-pack of clear figures that weren’t blind packed. The set featured 3 aquatic characters, the shark, the crocodile, and the killer whale. What was even more interesting was that these clear versions were different than the clear variants of those characters that had been available previously in the blind packs. While the clear variants don’t really do a whole lot for me discovering this pack felt like I had uncovered a lost trio of figures from this unappreciated and forgotten toy line. I was very happy to place my order, especially since I didn’t already own any of these characters’ blind packed variants.
My 3-pack arrived just before Christmas. The shark is probably the best one from the pack. He’s sculpted in a dark black translucent plastic which makes him look quite a bit different from the standard release shark figure who had white and gray skin. I can totally see the black shark as a unique character. The killer whale is sculpted in a weird light purple plastic. I don’t love it but, again, it makes him look quite a bit different than the standard killer whale. This clear croc variant is probably my least favorite from the pack because it looks fairly similar to the standard figure since his skin is still green. However the armor is now black now instead of blue and there are some gold highlights which keep the figure from being too plain looking.
The sculpt is nice with a great crocodile head and fairly simple armor. The chest plate is riveted and looks kind of like a tank and the shoulders have a toothy crocodile mouth design. It’s a pretty cool toy but there’s not too much to get excited about here if you already have the standard figure. Though the see-through effect is pretty neat when he’s placed in front of a light source. As a big fan of this line I imagine I will eventually track down all of the clear variants. 7 out of 10.
While this site is devoted solely to my action figure collection I have many other collections as well, such as music and movies. I also have a sizable comic book collection which I hauled out in preparation of my coming move. Most of these boxes are full of old Marvel stuff. I haven’t missed an issue of Spider-Man since I was 8. I have full runs of Web of Spider-Man, Spectacular Spider-Man, Sensational Spider-Man, Peter Parker: Spider-Man, and many more. Not to mention approximately 500 issues of Amazing Spider-Man. Then there’s also full runs of Silver Surfer, Guardians of the Galaxy, and many other smaller titles.
Dragging all of these boxes out of the closets they were hiding in was exhausting and I feel I may have to do a serious purge either before the move or after. I’m not sure I’ll have enough room for all of these in my new apartment. The thought of letting anything go, even Super Pro, makes me sad.
One of the main reasons why I started this blog 2 years ago was because I wanted to write more. To that end I would say that it’s been a success. I’ve written over 500 reviews now and even I’m surprised by how much I’m still able to ramble on about action figures. A side effect of writing about all these toys is that it’s made me into an even more passionate toy collector than I was previously. I’m always buying random odds and ends and expensive exclusives and I do it all with the justification that they’re “for the blog”.
As an adult toy collector I’ve only ever really collected new product. I still have a bunch of old toys from my youth but my adult collector phase, which started in the late 90s with the new Star Wars figures, has consisted primarily of me buying the latest and greatest figures. From Star Wars my collecting carried on into the 2000s with the rebirth of G.I. Joe and Masters of the Universe, lines that I continue to collect today. There’s no shortage of new figures coming out each and every month to keep me collecting and writing for ages. However, writing this blog has also rekindled my interest in older toys. I find myself scooping up vintage Joes and He-Men with greater frequency lately.
One of the toy lines I loved as a kid was Takara’s Battle Beasts. It was the only toy line of my youth that I collected alone; everything else I split down the middle with my big brother Doug. Even after Doug and I stopped collecting together around 1990 I turned to my little brother Brian to help me bear the weight of Toy Biz’s vast Marvel output.
Battle Beasts were tiny figures with minimal articulation and a wood/fire/water (rock/paper/scissor) play pattern that didn’t interest me. The appeal of them came from the fact that they were anthropomorphic animals with swords and battle armour; how could you not love them? I think that if they had gotten a cartoon they would’ve been huge in the 80s and hipsters today would be strutting around in Battle Beast t-shirts. Sadly they did not receive any major media tie-ins and so they’re a mostly forgotten footnote in the world of 1980s action figures.
There were 3 waves of standard figures released in North America totaling 76 figures. After that a series of Laser Beasts was released overseas but only 12 of those figures ever made it to our shores. The Laser Beasts that never saw release in America now sell for big bucks online; I’m talking hundreds of dollars each. Of the 88 figures released in America I had acquired about 90% of them as a kid. I would’ve loved to have them all but back in those days if you couldn’t find what you were looking for at your local K-Mart then you were outta luck.
By the time the internet became a thing and online auctions made finding old toys much easier, completing my Battle Beast collection had fallen pretty low on my list of priorities. I could’ve bought the few remaining figures I needed years ago but it wasn’t until I started writing this blog that it suddenly seemed an essential thing to do. Within the first year of blogging I tracked down all of the remaining figures. I even found a few of them right here in Halifax by way of a classified ad.
My complete Battle Beast collection is now proudly displayed on my wall. And yet, even after my acquisition of Pugnacious Penguin, the last figure I needed, I felt as though something was missing. That’s when I got it in my head that to truly boast having a complete American Battle Beast collection I must hunt down the vehicles and playsets. There were 3 chariots and 3 headquarter playsets released back in the day and I had one of each. I have the Big Horn Chariot which was perfect since Battle Ram was the leader of my evil army. It seemed appropriate that he was the only beast with a ride. That left me needing the Deer and Tiger chariots.
Of the playsets I have the Shark which was intended as the base for the water powered beasts. That leaves me needing the fire-themed Phoenix and the wood-themed Wood Beetle. The playsets can be a little on the expensive side but I hope to track them down eventually.
I recently stumbled across this modestly priced Tiger chariot in an online toy store I frequent. I was pretty stoked to have it arrive in the mail the other day. Vehicles don’t usually do it for me but this is a vehicle with a lot of personality. The design is quite simple and blocky. The back slides out so you can place a figure in the cockpit and then it slides back in to hold him in place. There are two bars on either side which can be flipped out and used to house other figures who must hold on for dear life with the strength of their armpits. The chariot can be revved backwards and released to have it tear across your kitchen floor with its jaws chomping.
This toy is simple but it’s fun and it looks cool. This one is actually in great condition too. It makes me wonder about Battle Tiger’s role in my Battle Beast universe. I always viewed him as just another soldier but does the fact that he is now my only good guy with his own car mean he just moved up into a position of power? Will he challenge Battle Rhino for the right to lead? Does he stand a chance at winning? Would the others follow him? So many questions. If only I was 8 then I could dump the figures out on my bedroom floor and play it out but since I’m 36 I think I’ll go watch TV instead. 7 out of 10.