Thursday, January 26, 2006

New Gundam HCM Pro Figures Preview

For those of you not familiar with Bandai's HCM Pro Series toys, don't worry, i'm not holding it against you. I had no idea what the heck HCM Pro were until just a few months ago. They are not models and I wouldn't say they are really action figures. Let's just call the "Action Models". You like that? They are 1/200 scale so they are sort of mini figures. They stand around 4 inches tall and are made out of the same plastic that Bandai models are made from. However, unlike a model, these little bad boys are already put together and they have some limited articulation. They are highly detailed, come molded in color and have accessories and extra hands. They are very, very cool. The Dom that I am holding right now has a tiny helmet with a clear plastic face plate. You can actually remove it to see the big red eye underneath. Very detailed. The plastic inside his shoulders is molded in red which makes for a very nice touch.

Bandai is coming out with two new sets due out in February. The first is a Blaze AND a Gunner Zaku set which features two figures. One is the Zaku Blaze which is not terribly unlike my MSiA version posted not too long ago with the cool duel, spikey shoulder shields. The other figure is a Zaku with a huge laser blaster or cannon or some huge firearm complete with a back-pack energy battery or something. Man, they look cool. I might just have to order a set for myself! Pre-order it yourself for $40 from Joel over at BigBadToystore

The second HCM Pro figure coming out is a Zeta Gundam that transforms! Very, very cool! Remember these little buggers are only 4-5 inches tall! Again, highly detailed and looks to have the fine engineering for a seamless tranformation that you would normally see in a much larger figure. I like it. I might just have to order this one as well! Pre-order it for $25 from BigBadToystore

S.I.C. Masked Rider Hibiki Vol. 32 Figure Coming!!!

Check out this new S.I.C. Masked Rider Hibiki coming out. He looks kinda glow-in-the-dark or something. I dig his pimped-out gold accessories and the duel drum-sticks holstered on his upper back. Pre-order it for $40 from ActionHQ

Star Wars Series 6 Kubricks Coming!!!

The latest and greatest from Medicom Kubricks! Pre-order the set for $80 from ActionHQ

I like the X-Wing Pilot. Very cool helmet detail! The Tie Fighter Pilot is also very cool. This series is going to be popular so order them now!

Help Solve the Captain Maxx Mystery!!!

You guys ever seen this figure before??? Nope, neither have I.

Check out and help solve the mystery! From the website:

"I'm the Phantom Collector and I've collected Japanese toys for awhile. And in my travels I stumbled upon a very rare catalog. What intrigued me most was the character shown, Captain Maxx ?!! Despite asking more advanced collectors about him, no one knows who he is or what company made or licensed him. Strange... but now I'm curious ! Since discovering him I have been searching for anything and everything I can. If anyone has any further info please mail me! As I find more info I'll post what I find to this site. Who is Captain Maxx? Have you ever come across Captain Maxx collectables? Help me unlock the mystery behind this lost hero!"

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

COSMIC REGION #7003 Strike Freedom Gundam REVIEW and GALLERY

I just received my Strike Freedom Gundam the other day and I have to say i'm pretty impressed! It comes in a package that resembles the Fix Figuration or Zeonography series, but it's not. The figure itself is small...only 4-5 inches tall. Like Fix Figuration, the sculpting and paint job are so highly detailed, you would think it was put together by one of those crazy-talented "Guntaku" modeler guys. I bought it because I like the way the high-tech wings spread out like some sort of robot angel. I also like that it came with a little stand so you put the figure into these "in-flight" poses. Also included is the standard sets of extra hands, energy shield and plasma swords, but you also get "John Woo"-style double fisted laser pistols! It's also fairly reasonable price-wise given the amount of detail, and articulation. I got mine from BigBadToyStore for $34, but they are now $40 and sold out. If you really, really want it, you can get it from for a very reasonable $31 BUT you have to pay $24 in overseas shipping. I feel sorry for all you guys that don't have one, cause it's really cool! Highly recommended!




Max Factory 1/35 Votoms Action Figures Coming in April!!

Max Factory is going to be releasing two awesome Votoms Action Figures in April. They will stand 13cm tall (around 5 inches), include weapons, fantastic articulation and come fully painted in high detail. Scopedog and Standing Tortoise will be the first two receiving the Max Factory treatment! I can hardly wait as they look amazing! You can pre-order them now to take advantage of Hobby Link Japan's early bird special! I want them both!

Virtual On Trading Figures Series 2 Coming End of January

Description from Hobby Link Japan:

"Gorgeous Virtual-On trading figures in Kotobukiya's "One Coin" lineup, with character designs by Katoki Hajime. The figures each stand about 10 cm tall; there are four different machines (Belgdor, Bal-bas-bow, Fei-Yen, and Viper II), each in two colour schemes, for a total of 8 to trade and collect. Please note that these are trading figures and are individually sealed and randomly packed in boxes of XX before shipment to HobbyLink Japan. As a result we are unable to honour requests for individual or specific figures, nor can we promise you which one(s) you will receive in a box. Please order only if you are willing to accept any of the possible types."

Note: This item has not yet been released by the manufacturer but we expect it on or about January 31. We have already taken all the orders we expect to be able to fill. No further orders will be accepted until supplies are confirmed when the product is released.

Check back with Hobby Link Japan at the end of January to see if they are taking anymore orders! $52 for a case of 12 figures not including overseas shipping.

Monday, January 23, 2006

SOC Evangelion O1 and Garada K7

I was down in San Jose, CA. and I stopped by Far Out Toys to say hello to the owner Izzy. Far Out Toys is my kind of toy store because it's almost exclusively toys! Izzy and I share the same tastes for Mecha so there is always something cool there to trade for greenbacks. If you live in the Bay Area, it's definitely worth a trip down there. His website does not do the store justice in terms of the variety and volume of toys he has in stock. Since it's in San Jose's Japan town, also check out Nikaku Animart a few blocks away. Not only do they have a huge selection of anime, but lots of Japanese Hobby Magazines at very reasonable rates. This is the place where I found Hajime Katoki's Fix Figuration Book for $25, dusty old Kubrick's for $14 (you can't find them anywhere hardly), and the PSP Movie "Blood" (I don't recommend it).

After browsing Izzy's store for around an hour examining every single toy and figure trying to narrow down what I was going to purchase (after a stern warning from my wife not to buy anymore toys!), I glanced at the SOC Grendizer, but at over $200, this was not a purchase for today. I almost picked up the Mazin Kaiser die-cast perfection, but at $140, this too would have to wait. I finally decided to get a little bang for the buck and picked up two SOC figures I've had my eyes on for some time: SOC Evangelion 01 and the Garada K7.

There is a reason why Bandai's Soul of Chogokin series is so damn popular and consistently on the TOTY list. They reek of quality. Hefty die-cast toys the way all robot toys should be made. The joints click with assurance when you pose them. Every detail is thoughtfully and painstakingly reproduced from the hand knife in Eva 01's shoulder blade to Garada K7's eye rockets. I'm addicted to SOC all over again.






Sunday, January 22, 2006

Kikaider and Hakaider Mini Figures Revisited


Yes, you've seen these figures before. These are the Kikaider and Hakaider mini figures that I discussed in great length on two previous posts: When Yuki from Kimono My House hooked me up and we avoided the blind assortment crisis and from my lessons on how NOT to make moolah with mini figures. I really like these little mini figures because of the level of detail in the sculpting and paint jobs. Amazing! They go for less than $10 as well! More importantly, they make for great shots!

Run DMC Figures Revisited

I've always been a fan of Run DMC. Old Skool Rap that started it all. I might be dating myself a bit, but these guys are the originators. When Jam Master Jay died and Mezco produced these figures in his honor, I decided to pick up a set. I think I got all three for like $25 at the time. Well, they've gone up and now the current series are going for $80 a set, but have different outfits. I like the rare camo fatigues, but nothing screams Run DMC like the Adidas Red outfits and the black puffy jackets with the faux fur collars! I busted the original set with the black jeans and black jackets out the other day to shoot them with the new camera. How fitting it would be if you bought them from the venerable ToyTokyo located in the heart of Manhattan!





Eureka Seven Transforming Figure On Sale!!!

When I first saw these Eureka Seven figures some months ago, I thought they were pretty cool. Based on an anime of the same name, these futuristic cars transform into cool robots on Surfboards! Each figure comes with a stand so you can pose them in that BANZAI! Shooting the Curl! type of pose. They were like $40-$45 when they first came out and I was almost going to get one, but there were too many other toys with a higher acquisition priority. So I'm really glad I didn't, because being the cheap lad that I am, I would be pissed right now. I guess you guys aren't buying Eureka Seven, because although they are backordered on Japanese sites like Hobby Link Japan, there are two U.S. sites that have them on sale. I just picked up the light blue Terminus 808 on sale for $19.99 at BigBadToyStore! Now that's a deal worth waiting for! They come in three or four different colors but somewhat similar styles. Go get 'em while they last. You can also find them for $5.00 more at tisinc99 if BBTS runs out.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

ToyboxDX's Toy Of The Year 2005 Buyers Guide

Most of you toy collectors out there probably read the "CNN of the toy world": ToyboxDX. It's 24x7 Japanese toy news submitted by their faithful readers. I'm a big fan and recently got to meet some of the ToyboxDX guys including founder Alen Yen and Matt Alt at the Super #1 Robot Book Signing at Super7. These guys are super cool, have been around forever, and are truly Super Collectors in every sense of the phrase. I probably wouldn't be collecting toys if not for them.

Each year, they let the readers vote on what we think should be "Toy Of The Year". I'm proud to say that we have featured many of the finalists already right here on toybot studios! I guess all saavy toy collectors think alike! The results are in and for your viewing pleasure, I have included pictures of the finalists.

Introduction from ToyboxDX: "2005 will perhaps be best remembered as the Year of Business as Usual. While there were some amazingly solid efforts from Bandai, Takara, Yamato, Aoshima, Max Factory and a half dozen other second and third-tier manufacturers, there was very little in the way of truly break-out products. Sure, Bandai wound up the GD line on a high note by giving us Aquarion, perhaps one of the most ambitious toys in recent history, but that was the notable exception. As it was, we got more SOCs, Masterpieces, AG's, HCMP's, Transformers, Max Gokins and other collectibles than our wallets could possibly absorb.

It is then perhaps understandable that we have become slightly jaded over the years and have forgotten just how unlikely something like Aquarion, or an HCM Asshimar actually is. In 2005 we have felt the weight of the market shift away from the traditional consumers (ie; Japanese children) and come to rest firmly upon the otaku and their gaijin imitators. Gone are the days when the Yamato YF-19 -- tab B and all -- was the oasis at the end of the Great Toy Desert. Today, we are firmly in the crosshairs of collectible manufacturers, expertly marketed to from every direction. If one makes merely a passing attempt to stay abreast of Japanese toy news, it's not unusual to become bored with the new SOC a full three months before it's even shipped.

It is through this haze that every new release must wander and hopefully find a way to separate the robo-geek from his yen. And so it is not altogether unsurprising that the winner of this year's contest was not the biggest, nor the fanciest, nor the most heralded, but rather the one with the most character. And though his face may be hid "amid a crowd of stars", the numbers show that he clearly shone the brightest.

In 2005 the toys stayed the same. If we find less to please us here than at this time last year, it is because we have changed."

For the original article with quotes from collectors and readers alike, check out the 2005 ToyboxDX Toy Of The Year Article

8th Place (tie)- Studio Halfeye Godanner
$450 from Hobbly Link Japan

8th Place (tie) - S.I.C. Kamen Rider Faiz
$65 from Anime Quest
Picture courtesy Kelvin Tan

8th Place (tie) - Marusan Giant Size Godzilla from Super7

8th Place (tie) - Transformers Galaxy Force GD-07 Flame Convoy
$42 from

8th Place (tie) - Extended MSiA Zeta Gundam
$26 from

8th Place (tie) - Majin Gattai DX Magi King
$89 from Kicks Hobby

7th Place (tie) - Yamato Koenig Monster VB-6
$150 from ToyWiz

7th place (tie) - Max Factory Mazinkaiser
$111 from Hobby Link Japan

7th place (tie) - Masterpiece King Exkaiser
$100 from Kicks Hobby

7th place (tie) - Kaiyodo Gazelle the Peace Maker
$22!! from BigBadToystore

7th place (tie) - Transformers THS-01 Galaxy Convoy
$38 from

7th place (tie) - Daigokin Great Mazinger
$520 on eBay - Hurry!!!

7th place (tie) - Force Impulse Gundam Metal Material Gundam Quality
$48 from Hobby Link Japan

7th place (tie) - Aoshima New Getter Robo (metallic version)
$120 from Japanese Toylink

6th place (tie) - M-1 Go Hipporito Seijin

6th place (tie) - HCM Pro Asshimar
$18 from

6th place (tie) - GigaByte Garada K7
$349 from GK World

6th place (tie) - Transformers GC-01 Galaxy Convoy
$69 from ToyWiz

6th place (tie) - AG-01 Scopedog
$14 from Hobby Link Japan

5th place - Max Factory Guyver 01
$56 from

4th place (tie) - GX-29 SOC Black Ox
$60 from Maybang's Collectibles

4th place (tie) - Chogokin Doraemon
$70 from

3rd place - SOC Xabungle
$89 from

2nd place - GD-99 DX Aquarion
$171 from Hobby Link Japan


1st place - Gaiking SOC GX-27
$125 from MatrixCollectibles

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