So enough with the overpriced vinyl stuff (and on a lighter note from my post below...). Here's some of the mecha schwag that's on my list for the first part of 2008:
Genesis Climber Mospeada!
For whatever reason, both Megahouse and CM's Corporation have picked up the Mospeada bug and will be releasing their own versions of the Ride Armors, in addition to a Legioss / TLEAD set from CM's. If you are not familiar with the Mospeada terminology, these are the Cyclone and Alpha / Beta Veritechs, respectively, from Robotech's New Generation story arc.
CM's Ride Armor will be first in line to reach the ravenous masses, with an expected late January release under the Brave Gokin line. Initially, we will see a simultaneous drop of both Stick and Rei's armors (Scott Bernard and Rand, respectively), to be followed by an apparent release of Yellow's variant Blowsperior armor (Lancer) based on a photo from the recent Superfestival 45 hobby show in Japan. I think I really prefer the style of CM's Ride Armors to that of the Megahouse versions- the glossy minty-toothpaste plastic brings back memories of the original Mospeada toys from Gakken with the mannequin-faced Stick/Scott figure (in fact, this might be the case for CM's armors as well, if you look real close at the helmet). Frankly, I could care less about the faces- I liked the Ride Armors better than the characters anyway!
(Pictures are taken from Amiami's website; the Yellow prototype is from Tokyo Hunter's blog.)
CM's will also debut its second Mospeada offering under its Brave Gokin EX line at the February 2008 Wonderfestival in Japan- a Legioss / TLEAD set in the mass-production "Iota" green colors from the anime. Retailing for a respectable JPY 28000 (apx. $265 USD!) at the show, it will be later released at a JPY 29800 price point from CM's online webstore in early March 2008. The famed "Eta" blue version (reserved for ace pilots in the anime) will be a mass release and the sexy "Zeta" red version (only piloted by females) will be a Toys R Us exclusive in Japan, per Tokyo Hunter's toy blog. For most Mospeada fans, these are a welcome alternative to the dismal Toynami/Aoshima releases of the Legioss and the non-release of the TLEAD. As Tokyo Hunter's photos from Superfestival 45 show, each Legioss and TLEAD set will also include a set of miniature Ride Armors. I intend to pick up the "Iota" version, due to my love of mass production mecha, however, I really wish the toys had been cast in the more olive-green of the original Gakken toys. The bright green is far too happy for a flying death machine.
(Pictures are taken from CM's website.)
In February, Megahouse will release its own set of Stick and Rei type Ride Armors under its Variable Action line. Features not included in the CM's version are apparently a scope part, and in the case of Rei's armor, the motorcycle 'saddlebags.' They also feature 'anime-accurate' heads, which have sort of a Microman feel to them (not sure if I like these yet). According to Megahouse's website, each toy will come with 2 coupons for one of 3 plamodel 'addition' kit weapons- SAL-9 handgun, submachinegun or a laser hound. Unfortunately, this will probably be only redeemable in Japan...
(Pictures are taken from Hobbylink Japan and Amiami's website.)
Toynami will also be releasing its own set of the Cyclones at some indeterminate point in the future. Insert derisive laughter here.
Mobile Police Patlabor!
I know approximately zero about this show, but I do know that CM's Corporation is producing soft vinyl versions of the 'grunt' labors intended to be in-scale with the Brave Gokin Ingrams and Griffons from the same company. So far we've seen two color variants (typically, TV and OVA) of the Tyrant and Pickle-kun, and three color variants of the Taisho. Next month will see the release of the HL-98 Hercules 98 labor in a 'danger' orange TV version and a sandy brown Movie version, each limited to 500 pieces and retailing at JPY 5000. I will probably pick up the Movie version Hercules- SofuBig-O needs some mecha support on my shelves.
The sofubi mecha from Patlabor also coincide with the Revoltech release of the mass-production military labors, ARL-99 Helldiver and Type-7 Brocken. If the design of these labors looks a bit familiar to Gundam fans, it is because the mechanical designer also worked on Gundam 0080 (GM Sniper II and Hygog family resemblance?).
(Pictures taken from CM's Corporation's website and Amiami's website.)
Martian Successor Nadesico!
In their relatively new Tamashii-Spec line, Bandai will be releasing the rather impressive Black Sarena from the 90s anime-movie Martian Successor Nadesico, The Prince of Darkness. If you are familiar with the anime, you will recall that the movie was set well after the conclusion of the series and was premised on the apparent death of Akito and Yurika in a shuttle explosion after their marriage. I suppose my use of the qualifier "apparent" will make the identity of Black Sarena's pilot no surprise, especially when you take a gander at the custom Aestivalis underneath.
To fans of the anime, this toy was a long time coming, as the only prior release of Black Sarena was in a pricey B-Club resin kit; the Aestivalis itself was only sold in plamodel form. Black Sarena features fully-removable external armor that can be taken off to reveal the customized Aestivalis at the heart of the monster (which is pretty cool, because of the scene from the end of the movie where the mech jettisons its armor to reveal the Aestivalis underneath). I don't seem to recall the dragon-ish extra parts that Tamashii Web's product page says can be used to recreate the high-maneuverability unit for Black Sarena. Then again, I think I watched a low-res version of the movie in RealVideo format... One can only hope that the release of a Tamashii-Spec Black Sarena heralds future releases of the remainder of the Nadesico mecha in toy form.
Tamashii-Spec Black Sarena has an expected release date of late March 2008, at a retail price of JPY 10800.
(Pictures taken from Bandai's Tamashii.jp website and Amiami's website.)
Machine Robo Mugenbine!
Courtesy of robot-japan's mod, xiombarg, I've been made aware of Bandai's latest installment to its Machine Robo Mugenbine candy toy series. Mugen Pharaoh will be released in late January 2008 at JPY 315 a piece for each of its 5 parts: Mugen Anubis, a Sphinx, a Falcon, an Alligator (??) and a Scorpion. I don't really collect Mugenbine stuff as it's a bit too plasticky for me, but the style and proportions of this one appeal to me for some reason. Despite their being "candy toys," the Mugenbine combiners are very well-made and take me back to the days of Transformers combiners.
I've been pretty slow on the Gundam purchases recently, mostly because there has not been much of interest to me. Gundam 00 has begun its weekly airings with expectedly high ratings- while I enjoy the annual slew of new Gundam designs, the formula of "Hero Gundam" + "Transforming Flying Gundam" + "Heavily-armed Gundam" + "Mysterious Gundam," all of the aforementioned being piloted by overly attractive young men, has become somewhat tiresome. I mean, I didn't keep watching Gundam after Wing Gundam just so that I could see the same story told (Gundam X) and re-told (Gundam 00) with a few changed names and updated animation. While I guess this is not a very compelling argument given that all anime draw from a pool of approximately 5 plotlines, I do hope for some surprises in this series. At the very least, the mechanical designer has completely overhauled the 'grunt' MS without having to resort to strapping armor and weaponry of improbable proportions on to the tired, tired Zaku design. Magic 8-Ball say that the Gundams will eventually be upgraded when the 'bad guy' group develops their own team of Gundams to challenge the heroes. Saint Freedom Double God Gundam deruzooo!
So for the next few months, we will have to bear with multiple releases of the Gundam 00 'hero' MS in all of Bandai's glorious product lines until they finally get around to releasing the remainder of SEED and Z's MS cast.
Anyhow. Bandai's HCM-Pro line has brought some nice, if not altogether unexpected, releases as it plods through the 08th MS Team lineup. Next up are the RGM-79 Ground Type GM and GM Sniper (which will be undoubtedly followed by a Gouf Custom in the near future...). No complaints here, really, as I love love love the 08th MS Team. I am not crazy over the teeny-tiny parts of the HCM-Pro toys, however.
Bandai continues to retool its Gundam FIX toys, leading to the inevitable re-release of the Perfect Gundam and Full Armor Gundam. They are at least releasing a limited number of the blue variant Full Armor Gundam, for which I am considering a purchase. Strangely enough, I don't think I actually own any toys of the RX-78 Gundam- at least none that I acquired voluntarily.
The limited blue version of the Full Armor Gundam retails for JPY 4500, and will be released in February 2008.
(Pictures are taken from Amiami's website.)
Transformers! More than meets the eye!
Ok, so last but definitely not least, TakaraTomyHasbro brings us many exciting things in the near future.
TakaraTomy continues its reissue series of G1 Transformers in the reborn Encore line. February 2008 (if this date is not pushed back again) brings us a reissue of the self-absorbed dino-bird, Sky Lynx- you know, the space shuttle with that nifty English accent in the cartoon. Sky Lynx is one of those toys that I've wanted since I was about 7, and so far, I've only been able to find the Lynx half of the toy in any form of intactness. So, now, for a mere JPY 8000, I can complete my childhood dreams and place a snow-white, shiny-chromed Sky Lynx on my shelf. According to this article from tformers.com, the reissue is also slight retool, with adjusted head-sculpts on both the bird and puma portions of the toy.
But wait, that's not all! Late May will see a re-release of 5 of the 6 Minibots originally reissued in Takara's Transformers Collections line: Bumblebee, Cosmos, Huffer, Warpath and Powerglide. (No Gears, wtf?) Unhappily, it appears that Bumblebee will feature his 'anime-style' face instead of the OG Stormtrooper-esque Microman head, along with an out-of-place keychain hole on his shoulder. Anticipated price is JPY 3150 for the set.
Then in June, TakaraTomy digs deep and pulls out another non-Takara Transformer: Omega Supreme. Omg, right? Who did they pay off / raid / kill to get these old ToyBox molds? The big brown comes to town at the end of June 2008, retailing at JPY 10500.
I'm not kidding about the molds- although this may be a little-known fact in the U.S., Sky Lynx and Omega Supreme were originally the products of a now-defunct company, ToyBox. Omega was, in fact, first sold in a dark blue and red color scheme as Mechabot 1 under the ToyBox label (from which the Omega Sentinels were later retconned into Dreamwave's Transformers comic series). So where did the molds come from? Old warehouse? Someone's estate sale? Pried from the cold, dead hands of their sculptor? Who cares- we're all getting reissue Omega Supremes and Sky Lynxes! Hooray!
(Pictures taken from fantofan.jp)
Over the next few months, TakaraTomy will also be releasing the Japanese versions of Hasbro's Transformers Classics. For most, the release will be very similar to the American version, with the addition of a few paint applications and some chrome parts. Megatron, however, will feature a (thank God) silver, black and red paint scheme, which more or less resembles his trademark G1 color schemes. Whether this will pass U.S. customs' standards remains to be seen, but I sure as hell have one on preorder. While less extensive, Grimlock will also feature the addition of chrome parts and a little more red on his crotch (usually a bad thing, but not so here) to better replicate his G1 toy appearance. I love me some shiny chrome on my robotic dinosaurs- frankly, it looks a heck of a lot better than the weird black wash that was used on the Hasbro version. Retailing for JPY 3000 for the two leaders and JPY 2000 for the regular dudes, the "Henkei Transformer!" versions are quite a bit more expensive than their U.S. counterparts, but hopefully TakaraTomy's superior quality will make it worthwhile.
(Pictures taken from fantofan.jp and Amazon.co.jp.)
Finally, Hasbro has gotten around to the inevitable repaints and retools of the movie toys. While I hate hate hated the movie and the Terminator-esque robot designs, Evac (a nod to the Galaxy Force toy) seems to show some promise. If not obvious, Evac is a repaint and substantial retool of the Blackout toy (Blackout, of course, was one of the made-up characters for the movie). He retains the imposing bulk and ginormous shoulders of Blackout, adds a pleasing orange-white-blue color scheme, and drops the lame monster face, for a toy that looks pretty damn cool. I'll bite for about $20 USD.
(Evac picture taken from Shortpacked! blog-thing, because it was the prettiest one.)
So that's the end of this very, very long post. Keep your eyes out for these toys if they pique your interest, and your eyes on this blog for eventual reviews.
(The images mirrored on this post are not my own, and if you are the original owner of the photographs and would like to have them removed, please do not hesitate to contact me at akum6n[at]gmail[dot]com.)
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